Dynamist Blog

Where Are David Brooks & HuffPo's William Bradley Getting Their Story Ideas?

It certainly must be at the same idea-supply store. Here's Brooks in the NYT. Here's Bradley on HuffPo. Both Thursday columns tell the exact same story: Ex-Marine Nathan Fletcher would be running for mayor of San Diego but the stupid right wingers won't endorse him. "The San Diego Republican Party has moved sharply right recently" and "spurned Fletcher in the mayor's race, endorsing the more orthodox conservative, Councilman Carl DeMaio" (Brooks). "His party has moved further to the right, with its endorsed candidate, San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, helping lead the way" and "the San Diego Republican Party endorsed a much more conservative city councilman over Fletcher." (Bradley) I don't think I mixed up the quotes, but who can tell?

I knew Carl DeMaio slightly when he was barely out of college and working for the Reason Public Policy Institute. RPPI was a very wonky place and he didn't seem like a scary guy, but maybe he's taken on some unsavory positions. I don't know, and you won't know either if you rely on Brooks or Bradley to tell you. They aren't interested in the actual candidate's policies, only in using DeMaio as a symbol of evil right-wing crazies. Or maybe they don't know anything about his policies, since maybe whoever's feeding them this story didn't bother with that part of it.

Update: My friend Cosmo Wenman, who lives in the San Diego metro area (and also pointed me to the Reason.tv video below), points out that Carl DeMaio is San Diego's first openly gay city councilman, a fact that probably didn't turn up in the 10 minutes David Brooks spent researching his column* but that Bill Bradley, a veteran California political writer, surely knows. So why does he mislead readers by emphasizing Fletcher's pro-gay credentials, leaving us to infer that DeMaio is a social con? "Fletcher has also backed gay rights, giving an emotional speech in the Capitol as a decorated Marine veteran opposing the "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" policy and voting for legislation requiring curriculum materials to reflect the role of gays and lesbians in history. " Before he turned hero of the moderates, Fletcher was trying to out-conservative DeMaio by, among other things, gay-baiting. Also a HuffPo commenter supplies the missing policy content, which is exactly what you'd expect from a former RPPI guy. He is "all about privatizing City services." A fiscal wonk. Scary!

Professor Postrel caught Patt Morrison gushing over Fletcher on KPCC yesterday. I haven't listened to the show, but if you're interested, here's the link. You can tell me whether Fletcher's gay-baiting came up.

Monday Update: Cosmo spots LAT columnist George Skelton recycling the same story, spun the exact same way.

*About how long I spent on this blog post. If it were a column, I might have started with DeMaio's RPPI studies.

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