We don't feel "tepid" about either Nevius or Davis

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Julian Davis is a our top endorsement for supervisor in District 5.
Beth Laberge

When we make our endorsements here at the Guardian, we try to be honest with our readers about each candidates' strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to understand our thinking and to feel free to choose a different candidate if you disagree with our conclusions. After doing dozens of hours of endorsement interviews and research each election, we share as much as we can about what we know, warts and all.

Most San Franciscans understand this, knowing that we have a reputation for often giving even the candidates we endorse a black eye in the process (after all, we're journalists, not partisans or campaign boosters), but apparently this decades-long practice is news to Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius. He just wrote a blog post noting our “tepid” top endorsement of Julian Davis for District 5 supervisor.

As usual, this sports-turned-city columnist doesn't know what he's talking about – adding this to a whole heap of things that Nevius doesn't understand but writes about anyway. Perhaps that's to be expected from a political columnist who describes himself this way on his blog: “Movies, media, sports - and as little politics as possible. Light reading for those who follow the entertaining parts of life, but don't take them too seriously.”

Well, we at the Guardian do take our politics rather seriously. And as we wrote in our editorial, we care a great deal about who represents the city's most progressive district: “We hold this truth to be self-evident: District 5 is the heart of progressive San Francisco, the most left-leaning district in the city. The supervisor who represents the Haight, Western Addition, and Inner Sunset has to be a reliable part of the progressive community, someone who can be counted on to vote the right way pretty much 100 percent of the time. That's what we've had since the return of district elections in 2000. ”

Nevius finds fault with our values, quipping, “so much for independent thinking.” Again, he doesn't seem to understand the nature of representative democracy, particularly in our system of district elections. Voters cast their ballots for the people they think share their values and worldview, and who have the integrity to represent that perspective in the face of economic and political pressure. The “independent thinking” that Nevius values is necessarily unpredictable, unaccountable, and prone to pressure from powerful interests, something we've seen too much of in the last two years.

It was important to us that District 5 be represented by someone shares its values, which also happen to be the Guardian's values, and not the reactionary approach of people like Nevius. We never doubted that Davis shares our values and has the willingness and ability to fight for them.

That isn't a sign of being tepid, we were simply being honest, just as we were when we wrote that Davis has the “strongest progressive credentials” of any candidate in the race, and our belief that he has “tremendous political potential.” The Guardian and our endorsements can be called many things, but I really don't think “tepid” is on that list.

Comments

Why does it never set the agenda but constantly spend its time fighting rearguard actions, akin to shoveling sand on the beach during a hurricane?

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 04, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

Because the Guardian is joined at the hip with the liberal resistance complex that claims to speak for progressive communities and leverages that for claims on public resources.

These groups are only allowed to be at the table if they accept the neoliberal framing and operate within. Once framed in one's opponents terms, they cannot win and are relegated to playing a back game at best, reacting against corporate initiatives is their normal modus operandi.

The oversocialized professional advocates have long since abandoned productive activism or grassroots organizing and are thus weakened to the point where they see taking the initiative as hopelessly male, confrontative and disrespectful of power.

The Guardian, for their role, is incapable of endorsing a candidate or measure without doing as much harm as good. Electoral campaign politics is war by other means. In electoral contests as in war, there is no middle ground.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 6:21 am

For one, with instant run-off voting (and yes, I know you think it is the greatest danger to progressivism since Adolph Hitler), we have "war" with different factions fighting amongst themselves, switching alliances depending on... well the analogy breaks down.

And since the idea of representative democracy seems to be ill-served by thinking only in terms of the "lesser of two evils," what else is there? What there is, is the ability to endorse a candidate with caveats; to try to hold their feet to the fire a bit and have them at least make statements in support of policy committments which they would have to acknowledge later when in office.

When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When individual politicians sense that the there is no alternative for the people, then they stop serving them.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 7:04 am

Exactly. An endorsement that includes honest and constructive criticism, the kind the Guardian almost always gives, is the most responsible kind of endorsement. Such an endorsement lets the candidate know s/he is being watched and will be held accountable for serving the public good. SFBG's approach recognizes all electeds have weaknesses. It helps to avoid cult of personality and alllows for voters to be realistic about who they are electing but still make good choices.

You can disagree with SFBG all you want. No other publication in this city takes the responsibility of endorsements as seriously as they do.

The maladjusted misanthropes who spend every waking hour of their sad, unfortunate lives commenting on this site should be thankful for a diversity of opinions in the local media.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 9:38 am

You must really hate instant-runoff voting, then, marcos, which is all about the middle ground.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 08, 2012 @ 7:50 am

quote..."I do not belong to any organized political party - I'm a Democrat."

Posted by Guest on Oct. 08, 2012 @ 10:46 am

"(after all, we're journalists, not partisans or campaign boosters)"

OMFG.

Posted by Troll on Oct. 04, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

You are not independent thinkers, IMHO.

When you look at the heading of a SFBG editorial, you can immediately tell what the content/slant will be.

Compare yourselves with Matt Smith, who used to write for the Weekly. He supported Matt Gonzalez for mayor and also supported Jeff Adachi's campaign against the City Family-Pension Balloon.

You are incapable of such unorthodox thinking. You toe the Herr Bruck Line and always have. You are not independent. You are not creative thinkers.

Posted by Troll the XIV on Oct. 04, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

Which is it, are you journalists or partisans? You relentlessly back Ross, you make it very clear that your politics are progressive and you are proud of it. Fine. Heck even most of your "investigative articles" have an obvious political slant. At this point, the SFBG is nothing more than Pravda for the SF progressive movement, Don't try to pretend you are some sort of impartial journalists. Nevius nailed it, there is no independent thinking going on here.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 04, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

It's not our job to fit into your stereotypes and narrow preconceptions about journalism. Much of the best journalism that has been done in this country is written with a point-of-view backed by a set of values. So-called objective journalism is a relatively new invention, and one that has many problems (starting with the fact it isn't honest...does anyone really believe the Chronicle is objective?). Through most of the world, and through most of American history, newspapers had a worldview and set of values that they espoused. That doesn't make us partisan, because our allegiance is to the truth as we see it, and to promoting the values we think San Francisco embodies or should embody, not to any particular candidate, party, platform, or faction. We've writing critically about progressive candidates and both of the left-of-center parties on many occasions, even if it's certainly true that we're far more concerned about the impacts that wealthy and powerful individuals and corporations have on San Francisco. And we've won scores of awards for our work from the country's top journalism organizations, professionals who obviously don't share your dismissive approach to the work we do. 

 

Posted by steven on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 9:50 am

yourself there. arguably your dumbest ever comment, and there's some pretty strict competition.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 10:19 am

Here's what he wrote:

*** start of excerpt ****

So-called objective journalism is a relatively new invention, and one that has many problems (starting with the fact it isn't honest...does anyone really believe the Chronicle is objective?).

*** end ***

He's saying those owners of "objective" media are, in reality, just as much partisan as media recognized as partisan are. And for them to claim otherwise is dishonest on their part.

Anybody who's seen how the Chron has approached the Mirk story and was fair would have to do logical acrobatics to disagree with Steve.

Where "objective" media really show their partisan character is not in obvious distortions in their reporting - the overwhelming majority of the stories they publish are fair (but no media having anything to do with Rupert Murcdoch or similar outfits). Where they show it is in the stories THEY JUST DON'T COVER. That's when they are making judgements and expressing opinions WITHOUT EXPLICITLY SAYING SO.

When they don't cover a peace march, when they don't bring up questions for politicians to address (or give them passes on issues they should address), when they repeatedly ignore obvious problems in society, etc etc, they are expressing an opinion just as much as the SFBG is when the SFBG says upfront, "this is where wer'e coming from."

You apparently would prefer "objective" media to continue fooling you into thinking they don't have opinions, influences, preferences, financial considerations (such as from big advertisers or potential ones) and that those don't manifest themselves in what gets printed on the front page of next day's paper.

Thx Steven for the great post and the OP you wrote.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 08, 2012 @ 1:11 am

shows you that Steven is in fact trying to deflect the obvious criticism of his "journalism" (using the word loosely) i.e. it being hopelessly biased.

Nobody seeking to present any non-prejudicial reporting would ever approach topics with so rabid a partisan view. Nobody reads SFBG to get the "news". They read it because they want to be comforted that their extreme political bias isn't so whacked after all because - look - there's an actual "newspaper" publishing this stuff.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 08, 2012 @ 2:51 am

@Guest - No, he wrote that SO-CALLED objective journalism is a problem. I loathe having to resort to all caps, but you seem to have some reading comprehension issues here. Maybe spend some remedial time with Dr. Seuss before tackling complicated stuff with hyphens in it?

Posted by Jym Dyer on Oct. 09, 2012 @ 7:48 am

He actually believes that the job of a journalist is to be biased in favour of whatever that journalist happens to believe.

A good journalist seeks to inform, not brainwash.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 09, 2012 @ 8:09 am

You and the rest of the SFBG have no allegiance to a particular platform or faction. Take a real hard honest look at yourselves and how the SFBG has handled the Ross issue in particular.

Answer me this honestly. If Chris Cunnie had won the Sheriff election and was then wrapped up in the exact mess that Ross has gotten himself into, would you and the SFBG be backing his staying in office as much or even at all, compared to you support for Ross? Personally I doubt it. I think that the SFBG is willing to overlook the issues that Ross brought on himself in exchange for the fact that he is a reliable member of the progressive faction.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 11:16 am

Funny, that once upon a time I actually admired him a bit. I'd read that sports writers are some of the most creative and talented writers in the news business and he seemed to fit the bill.

I especially remember being really appreciative of his seemingly candorful critique of Willie Brown's 1997 give away to Eddie Debartolo, the Propositions D & F, when -- I think it was on Belva Davis' KQED show -- he seemingly caused jaws to drop by impatiently asked why anyone would vote for the measures.

I may be wrong, but it seemed to be the end of his sportswriting career, and since then he's been developing into the worst kind of reactionary/twit; a fact I really began to take note of when he penned a column whining about how airline passengers seated in front of him would jam his laptop screen when they reclined too far.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 04, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

A nevus is a freckle or a mole. If it gets too big and ugly, it might be cancer. The best treatment at that point is to have it surgically removed.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 04, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

The MF'er completely ignored the GG Park Master Plan when it came to putting 10 acres of artificial turf and 300 tons of tiny rubber particles at the Beach Chalet soccer fields in GG Park - a project that is blatantly and obviously against the text and spirit of the GG Park Master Plan. His whole argument boiled down to, "come on, it's just a stupid soccer field - what's the big deal??? just put the artificial turf there!"

So then he writes a column complaining about the Haight Ashbury Recycling Center. And what's his main argument that it should be removed??? Yep - the GG Park Master Plan, the same one he chose to ignore when it meant it would stop 10 acres of dead plastic turf and 300 tons of tire particles from replacing 10 acres of natural grass and soil in GG Park.

He's Willie Brown's (and / or WB's political friends) little bitch.

The Chron's opinion columnists are surprising weak and one-sided for where the paper is located. I do a comparison of it with the NY Times in terms of opinions expressed by the opinion columnists and the Chron's editorials and the Chron comes off like it belongs in Merced, CA or something.

Probably the only decent opinion columnist they have is Andrew Ross - their business columnist who shows more insight and knowledge than Debra Saunders or CW Nevius show.

They should put Nevius back to writing summaries of what happened in last night's baseball game - that's about all he's qualified for.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 08, 2012 @ 1:30 am

Why does the SFBG feel the need to respond to anything Nevius writes?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 7:42 am

Nevius is holding up a mirror that the SFBG doesn't want to look into.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 11:17 am

This article is internally inconsistent.

On the one hand, it states:
"after all, we're journalists, not partisans or campaign boosters."

On the other hand, it states: "Well, we at the Guardian do take our politics rather seriously. And as we wrote in our editorial, we care a great deal about who represents the city's most progressive district."

And: "It was important to us that District 5 be represented by someone shares its values, which also happen to be the Guardian's values..."

The last two excerpts sound partisan and campaign boosting to me.

Posted by The Commish on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 7:42 am

If you read the SFBG stuff you get the idea that we could save some money by replacing the D5 rep and his/her staff with an iPhone app. Just have it listen for the votes of Avalos and Campos and vote the same way.

Estimated savings...maybe $300K a year???

Posted by Troll on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 8:50 am

(are online articles "published" - that the right term?)

Anyway, this is weird. It's not like the contradictions you mentioned in this article are subtle, they're blaring. Super blaring. Nobody glanced over this and thought, "hmmm... we're kinda saying two completely opposite things here"?

ooookkkkkk.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 9:21 am

This statement is so sophomoric in a number of ways:

"The supervisor who represents the Haight, Western Addition, and Inner Sunset has to be a reliable part of the progressive community, someone who can be counted on to vote the right way pretty much 100 percent of the time. "

Well, that's why we have elections, isn't it? Populations are allowed to evolve over time. If the people of D5 choose to vote for a Rick Santorum clone because Willie Brown endorses him then THAT is the right person to represent D5. Nice thing, these Democratic elections, isn't it?

Yeah, I know...sometimes elections don't go the SFBG way but that is only because of money supporting the opposition. Take money out of the equation and the voters would back the SFBG endorsement every time. Yes, we know.

And the term 'right way' is so telling about the the simplistic, dogmatic, idealogue view of the SFBG.

Luckily, D5 is perhaps the only district in the city where the SFBG endorsement helps more than hurts. Hopefully that will change soon also.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 9:35 am

significant enough to even warrant writing about. As a fringe, extremist, lightweight paper that has to be given away for free because nobody would ever buy it for content, I suspect you're secretly thrilled at the attention.

I'd guess the number of SF voters who actually change their vote because of an SFBG endorsement is probably about seven. I do find the SFBG endorsements handy though - for confirming how I should NOT vote.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 9:39 am

And yet here you are, reading the Guardian and sending us comments, like all the other haters who claim to despise everything we do and stand for, yet read and comment on our work everyday. How curious. Could it be that you're worried that we're actually more influential than you claim to believe?

Posted by steven on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 9:58 am

and that anyone takes these ideas seriously. It's kinda like pinching myself only more painful.

I knew Debra Walker was going to lose last year when you endorsed her. An SFBG endorsement is the kiss of death.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 10:23 am

Your comment fills that bill quite well, but I just want to respond to a particularly incompetent -- meaning false -- implication: that a free newspaper is different from a newspaper which costs money, or that when someone buys a newspaper they are paying for the content.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 10:01 am

now that they can all advertize on the web for free, SFBG loses money. That's why they laid off some writers and refuse unions. That's why they engage is speculative real estate deals and try and shake down other papers with lawsuits.

Bruce and Tim are total hypocrits and I doubt SFBG will be around much longer. All the old hippies who read it are dying off.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 10:35 am

Your comment fills that bill quite well, but I just want to respond to a particularly incompetent -- meaning false -- implication: that a free newspaper is different from a newspaper which costs money, or that when someone buys a newspaper they are paying for the content.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 10:01 am

of publishing it; the majority of that cost is paid for by advertising. You are not buying a newspaper any more than the newspaper is selling your eyeballs to the advertisers.

This might be innocuous, or it might be less than innocuous, but being ignorant definitely doesn't do anybody any good.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 10:03 am

Time, NewsWeek and, heck, even the Chron.

NOBODY would buy the SFBG ever.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 10:21 am

The Economist has actually been increasing in circulation while its competitors have been losing readership. Everyone said the NYTimes couldn't pull of it's subscription-only site and it's been a smashing success.

There's a market for good quality, hard-hitting journalism. The SFBG just doesn't provide that and they don't really apologize for it. Unfortunately for them their target audience - unreconstructed 60s radicals, neighborhood-based NIMBYS and PC-obsessed zealots, is dying off far faster than they are being replenished. That's one reason the Guardian has shrunk so quickly and laid off so many talented staff.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 10:36 am

Im wondering how serious this publication can get. Or, if it has the BALLZ to want to submit my story idea with my photos. you guys can write it yourself....Its time someone stood up for whats right...Do you like air? if you do... and if you would like to be on the FOREFRONT of revealing information that is verifiable....information that could change this whole PLANET...PLEASE..PLEASE CONTACT ME dawnatilla at gmail

Posted by the Hun on Oct. 06, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

"...(after all, we're journalists, not partisans or campaign boosters)..."

Regardless of which way s/he lean, any journalist who makes such assertions of objectivity is not just engaging is sophistry, but also suffering from delusional thinking.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 08, 2012 @ 10:42 am

"As usual, this sports-turned-city columnist doesn't know what he's talking about..."

To suggest that another journalist is ignorant of public affairs simply because he used to cover sports is pretentious and laughable - not least because of the very nature & style of your own publication and the wider "alternative journalism" field.

STFU.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 08, 2012 @ 10:51 am

I have to admit I quite enjoy reading the SFBG and all the politicians that they decide to endorse.
I just bring the paper to the voting booth and I have a list on who NOT to vote for.
Thanks Guardian for letting me know who you despise also, they are the first ones I vote for.
Going for London Breed though, since Olague( who you guys hated last week) decided to keep Sheriff Wife Beater on the payroll.
Keep up the good work and try not to forget to take your meds.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 1:55 am

Both the faux spousal abuse/groping charges should be ignored.

Posted by LongTimer on Oct. 21, 2012 @ 10:50 am

Hi, thanks for sharing.

Posted by used handphone on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 6:31 pm