The (sensationalist) Buzz


Friends have criticized me in the past for my daily subscription to the Orange County Register. “Why do you read that faux-libertarian, right-wing propaganda paper?” my amigo with a penchant for dramatics asked once.

And the truth is that there is no better place in Orange County to read local, daily, political stories.

That’s why I’ve been disappointed with Orange County Register Columnist Martin Wisckol’s sensationalist take on the “timing issue” between SD1 Candidate Tom Umberg’s filing of his candidate statement and the O.C. Deputy Sheriff’s Association Endorsement release.

This non-story has received two posts on the Wisckol’s OC Register blog and then it was in today’s Orange County Register as well. Here’s the gist of the story, in Wisckol’s words, from the Total Buzz Blog:

Supervisorial candidate Tom Umberg filed his candidate’s statement on Dec. 26, the last day to do so. Included is this line: “He has the support of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs…”

Two days later, the deputy sheriff’s union issued a press release saying that they’d interviewed nine of the 10 candidates on Dec. 27 and decided to endorse Umberg.

I’m looking forward to the explanation of how Umberg knew he had the endorsement before the deputies even interviewed the candidates.

And in today’s paper Wisckol implies that the O.C. Deputy Sheriff’s Association was wasting the other candidates’ time by interviewing them. “Were the interviews a charade?”

According to Wisckol, 1+1=3. Just because Umberg claims “support” on December 26, that means he was aware of “official endorsement” on December 27. Wisckol even overdramatically headlines one of his stories “Tom Umberg’s Crystal Ball.”

I don’t like the “I’m looking forward to the explanation…” and the “some have wondered if it wasn’t set up before…” nonsense. Wiskcol has known Umberg’s response since January 4:

“In the past, I’ve had the support of the Orange County Deputy Sheriff’s Association (the deputies’ union), but I wasn’t referring to the union (in the candidate’s statement). I have the support of many deputies and I could easily round up 50 who would sign endorsement cards.”
–From an interview with Wiskcol

Semantics? Sure. But Wisckol’s exaggerated conclusion to these words is equally unfair.

[Total Buzz Blog @ The OC Register] [Wisckol’s column in today’s Register]

  5 comments for “The (sensationalist) Buzz

  1. January 8, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Mike — I don’t think I overdramatized anything, but everybody deserves their opinion. Similarly, everybody can have their own opinion on whether Umberg was assured of an endorsement ahead of the interviews — I didn’t arrive at this “exagerrated conclusion,” but rather pointed out why I thought it was a possibility. … In any event, let me make one thing clear: I wrote “I’m looking forward to an explanation” on a Jan. 3 blog item. I got that explanation and put it on the blog Jan. 4. The implication that I was withholding knowledge of Umberg’s response is incorrect. (You wrote: I don’t like the “I’m looking forward to the explanation…” and the “some have wondered if it wasn’t set up before…” nonsense. Wiskcol has known Umberg’s response since January 4)

  2. January 8, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    OK, I’ll buy Martin’s response. He is not usually one to sensationalize things and he did point out a legitimate question that I am sure was on the minds of many people.

    Umberg gave his explanation and to me it makes sense. It is also well known that many of the Unions were hoping for a “Big Fish” to jump in that they could unify behind. It would be silly to assume that Umberg did not know that.

    It is however incorrect to assume that any of the Unions had secretly determined their endorsement before all the candidates had filed. Certainly some of the labor leadership had their preferences, but unlike the GOP, they actually do follow a legitimate process.

    I just hope that Martin and other media reporters focus more on the issues in this election rather than insignificant things such as when Tom knew, or thought he knew, that he would get an endorsement.

    I hope the Register as the leading news publication in Orange County will ask all of the candidates some non-leading, issue related, questions and publish their responses, or lack there of, for the residents of the 1st District to read, compare, and then decide who to vote for.

    I for one would gladly post those questions and responses here for all to read, and I’d bet some of the other blogs would be willing to do the same.

  3. John C Holmes
    January 8, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    I not happy that Tom Umberg abstained from voting on the Gay marraige admendment. That’s wrong and we need to turn our backs on Mr. Umberg.

  4. January 9, 2007 at 9:55 am

    Martin-

    I think that titling a post “Umberg’s crystal ball” is pretty sensationalist. And I’m known for being a little overly dramatic too, so I won’t hold it against you for too long.

    And I didn’t mean to imply that you were withholding knowledge…but I can see how it may be read that way.

    The point I was trying to make was that even after the explanation by Umberg, you continue to speculate in the newspaper that perhaps Umberg & the Union had a back-room deal.

    And to John C. Holmes-

    Get off it. Too many Dems around here have their pet issues that they obsess over. A homosexual in Orange County will be happier with Tom Umberg in office than he would be with a conservative that is eying higher office.

    The abstained vote that you are talking about is disappointing, but a vote for Larry Phan is a vote for Janet Nguyen.

  5. January 9, 2007 at 10:39 am

    In response to Chris Prevatt’s hope that the Register talk about the substantial issues at stake, let me say that we are certainly making an effort! I’ve got questionnaires back from all the candidates — a short version is scheduled for tomorrow’s paper and the full version will appear online. In the interim, I’m posting some roundups on the Total Buzz blog. I’ve started with a summary of where the candidates stand on using deputy sheriffs for immigration. http://blogs.ocregister.com/buzz/2007/01/supe_candidates_on_immigration.html enforcement.

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