Here’s the main difference between being in the Press Corps and working in
the Capitol: When you’re a member of the Fourth Estate and you deride a
gubernatorial proposal, you’re a savvy observer with a lead on a weekend
story. When you’re on a politician’s payroll and you mock the governor’s
plan, you’re just proving that you “drank the Kool-Aid.”
At least that’s the impression I get from some of my friends over at 925 L
St. (where the bulk of the Working Press do their jobs).
It’s about “credibility” or the perception of credibility. That’s why most
reporters check “decline to state” on their voter registration forms. And
reporters deserve whatever credibility Fox News hasn’t robbed from them.
Because one of the great dignities of journalism is that reporters feel free
to pillory anyone who deserves it, regardless of party affiliation. Truth is
truth, and that’s always good for democracy.
Personally, I always leaned left in the voting booth, but found that narrow
middle when doing my job. When I covered state politics for the Stockton
Record or the Long Beach Press-Telegram, liberals were as likely to smell
conspiracy in my copy as conservatives, a pretty good sign the reporting
It’s not like anyone wakes up one day and thinks, “You know, to heck with
all that honesty and integrity. I’m going to go peddle malarkey for a