Politics

Union-Tribune “Fake News” Designed to Help Democrats in Local Elections

(San Diego, CA) – The once-respected San Diego Union-Tribune, flailing in an era where newspapers and the mainstream media struggle for relevance, have firmly established themselves as an organ of the Democratic Party.

For the last few years, the U-T has systematically targeted Republican candidates in tough election campaigns with negative articles designed to arm Democratic candidates with fake news attacks. Democratic campaigns then utilize misleading negative headlines as ammunition in their attacks against Republicans.

The latest victim of the U-T is Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, a passionate advocate for ending human and sex trafficking, which is now the largest criminal enterprise in the region, generating $1 billion in illegal profits.

Photo by Kevin Baird via Flickr

Gaspar, who has made human trafficking one of her top priorities, once served as a volunteer on a local organization’s advisory board, something she touted to her colleagues and frequently mentioned at Board meetings and her various community speaking events. It was even listed on her website. However, she didn’t explicitly announce it during a discussion about the County investing in the organization’s efforts, though the Board voted unanimously in support of the funding.

There is no policy requiring supervisors to disclose their various community volunteer activities. Each of Gaspar’s colleagues routinely volunteers for local non-profits.

While Gaspar served only as a volunteer, the U-T determined there was a phantom conflict of interest, even though Gaspar received no benefit, financial or otherwise.

So far, the U-T has written two newspaper articles and one editorial critical of Gaspar for her volunteerism without citing any policy or conflict of interest to justify the criticism.

One of Gaspar’s opponents, Olga Diaz, seized on the articles to rip Gaspar and raise money for her struggling campaign.

These tactics are not unfamiliar to local observers as the U-T has done this several notable times, accelerating when they moved their “Watchdog” reporters, Jeff McDonald and Greg Moran, to cover campaigns. Their main focus has been Republicans, of course.

In 2015, the U-T pre-empted Republican congressional candidate Denise Gitsham’s announcement for Congress, posting a story titled, “GOP consultant with ties to Karl Rove enters congressional race,” hours before her announcement exaggerating her ties to former George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove, who was deeply unpopular in the district. Democrat Scott Peters promptly turned the U-T article into a fundraising email that day.

Typically, candidates are afforded positive coverage when they announce, allowing for more critical analysis during the course of the campaign. The U-T handed the Peters campaign exactly what they were looking for to define Gitsham before she could introduce herself.

In 2016, the U-T effectively decided a key election when they editorialized “Ellis Gets It Wrong,” falsely accusing Republican city council candidate Ray Ellis of lying in an editorial board meeting. The resulting editorial was widely distributed by Democrat Barbara Bry, who cruised to victory and is now a leading candidate for mayor.

After veteran prosecutor Summer Stephan declared her intention to run for District Attorney in 2017, the Union-Tribune’s Moran wrote a morbid headline, “Stephanie Crowe’s parents say DA candidate Stephan ‘using my dead daughter to promote her political ambitions,’” for an attack on Stephan falsely suggesting prosecutorial misconduct in the tragic case of the murder of Stephanie Crowe. That became a standard attack for public defender Genevieve Jones-Wright, and George Soros, Jones-Wright’s million-dollar backer.

The U-T doubled-down with a twofer on their fake news about Stephan and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis with the headline, “Dumanis and preferred successor Stephan met 10 times last year with county supervisors, who will now pick interim DA,” that routine briefings and official meetings were evidence of a secret backroom deal. The story suggests the secret deal was the reason for Stephan’s appointment rather than her 30 years of experience, the broad support from the community and law enforcement, and elected leaders of both political parties.

The U-T editorial board backed that up with an editorial, “Supervisors should pick caretaker county DA,” recommending the county’s top law enforcement official be a less qualified placeholder. Jones-Wright and her allies used these attacks throughout the campaign.

When former Dumanis announced her candidacy for Board of Supervisors, the U-T’s focus became the former DA’s pension. Jeff McDonald wrote another misleading story, “Dumanis sought to protect her pension before announcing run for county Board of Supervisors,” tryingto turn a routine paperwork matter into another phony conspiracy. Dumanis, who publicly stated she would not take a salary as an elected supervisor, hired an attorney to help clarify the rules of her pension with the County. She earned her pension after nearly 40 years as a prosecutor, judge, and District Attorney, however, Nathan Fletcher and his union allies used this attack effectively through the campaign.

And now it appears that they are targeting former Senator Joel Anderson, who has been a primary focus of the newspaper since his time in the State Assembly, trumping up a bogus campaign scandal with a story out this week, “Donations to Anderson’s 2020 county supervisor campaign draw questions,” struggling to create false controversy at the expense of yet another Republican candidate.

A few weeks ago, the U-T editorial board wrote that San Diego needs, “two strong, viable political parties,” while they aide the Democratic/organized labor effort to solidify the Democratic hegemony in this state that has brought us higher taxes, exploding homelessness, crumbling schools, dire mental health and substance abuse, and increased crime.

If you take a few minutes to scroll through the list of the U-T’s editorials, it’s hard to find much focus on the damage organized labor is wreaking on San Diego, or properly assigning blame for the chronic regional problems exacerbated by elected Democrats at all levels of government. It’s even harder to believe the U-T’s actions are not intentional.