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We Expected Better of the Network That Gave Us Edward R. Murrow
by Dan Bacher
Tuesday Dec 29th, 2009 8:54 AM
This is an excellent commentary on the 60 Minutes "report" on California water issues by Jane Wagner-Tyack of Restore the Delta.
For December 28, 2009

"The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands."
--Oscar Wilde


We Expected Better of the Network That Gave Us Edward R. Murrow

by Jane Wagner-Tyack

"60 Minutes" had a chance to take on California agribusiness and water mismanagement the way they took on Big Tobacco. They blew that chance. Instead, this past Sunday we got a CBS-ified version of Fox's Sean Hannity, complete with dry Westlands acreage, smelt-in-the-hand, and out of work Latinos. So hackneyed was Leslie Stahl's fish- vs.-farmer formulation that even the Governor dodged it.

The Governor took Stahl on a flyover of the Delta and didn't say a single word about all the people who live and farm there. We got to see him standing in front of the Latino Water Coalition, and Stahl never raised the issue of whom that coalition really represents. Sloppy. Was anyone at CBS doing any research?

With Latinos in food lines as a background, Stahl repeated the misinformation about loss of water for agriculture being the cause of Central Valley unemployment. Sloppy again.

Unemployed salmon fishermen got just a nod. All the sympathy was reserved for the west side farmer who had to pull out the almond trees he should never have planted. And he got the last word, threatening Americans with having to get their food from somewhere else. They certainly won't be getting their food from the Central Valley if agribusiness there can make more money selling their water for development in the desert.

Restore the Delta gives Professor Jeffrey Mount an unqualified "A" for saying that farmers need to stop relying on water transfers. But he gets a resounding "F" as in "fragile," the word he once again applied to Delta levees. The implication, as always: they're too fragile to be worth maintaining. But Mount knows we have to maintain them, not just for water transfers and farming but to protect infrastructure and manage flooding in the whole region.

Mount's model of saltwater intrusion was indeed alarming, but the Governor's conveyance dream will not address the problems of saltwater intrusion into the Estuary and the Delta, especially if it diverts resources from levee management.

The Governor came out of this segment looking like his old action-hero self, ready to take on a huge challenge. Why spoil that by asking if his approach is wrong-headed?

CBS came out of the segment looking like an amateur news organization. Somebody at the network should be embarrassed.

League of Women Voters: Delta Water Forum Update

The Diablo Valley League of Women Voters and the San Joaquin County League are happy to announce that Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary N. Piepho will be a panelist for their January 23 program. Supervisor Piepho will bring an invaluable perspective on recent legislative events to this discussion of water issues in the Delta, and we are pleased that she is able to participate.

Registration for this program will begin at 9:30 rather than 10 a.m. as previously announced.
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Well Murrow was the head of propaganda eventuallykellyWednesday Dec 30th, 2009 2:14 AM

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