The Weekly has hounded lazy mainstream reporters, bad musicians and crooked politicians, bureaucrats, judges, businessmen, school administrators, priests, and cops; provided exclusive reports about looming disasters; spoofed local idiots; defended abused minorities; and helped shape public opinion on issues like the Haidl gang rape controversy. Justice has found more than a few villains thanks to our work. So you'd think we would have earned respect as an independent news source during the past decade.
But in the alternative journalism world, two moves are sure to trigger a chorus of screams: writing a complimentary article about a Republican or exposing the lies of a liberal. I've done both during the past decade, and it's earned me a big "fuck you" from progressive activists. The only time to stop pounding the living bejesus out of Republicans is to pen a hagiography about a Dem, they say.
"When the OC Weekly first came out, I had such high hopes," one Irvine liberal wrote to me last November. "Here, I thought, was a major OC publication that would help our political causes and artistic endeavors that had previously been completely ignored by the mainstream media in the county. Instead, I've found the Weekly to be at times rather hostile to the progressives in our community. Sometimes it seems you bend over backwards to find praise for right-wingers."
My sin? Well, I did endorse conservative Republican Tom McClintock for governor in 2003 because I believed—still do—that he was the only person in the race who wasn't a habitual liar, even if I don't share all of his policy positions. Most of my liberal friends dismissed that move as temporary insanity.
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But what really pisses them off is that among those people I've investigated in the past 10 years are Irvine politicians Larry Agran and Beth Krom, ex-Laguna Beach Mayor Paul Freeman, state Assemblyman Tom Umberg and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez—all Democrats. I explain that good reporters are obligated to pursue the truth wherever it leads. If a liberal elected official, candidate or activist is a sleaze, then I'm not going to pretend otherwise.
"I'm just saying that right-wing journalists would never badmouth their own," the critic replied. "[Progressive reporters], however, do. Could that mindset help set a tone for our electoral losses? I think it contributes."
Many of my views are progressive, and I consider George W. Bush the biggest moron to sit in the Oval Office since Dick Nixon and pal Bebe Rebozo got drunk and contemplated nuking Vietnam. Christopher Cox, the Newport Beach Republican currently heading the Securities and Exchange Commission, is a snake. GOP wedge campaigns, while occasionally clever, induce bile. But I regret that some Orange County liberals believe it's the Weekly's job to elect Democrats, ignore their warts and even lie for them.
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