'This Week in Northern California' Whitewashes McCloskey

May 30th, 2006 8:13 AM

Liberal bias is nothing new to the weekly PBS program, This Week in California.  When reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle typically represent the right side of the political spectrum on the show's panel, viewers pretty much know what they're in for.

But the May 19 show took bias to a new level by shamelessly promoting Republican congressional candidate Pete McCloskey over his opponent.  Former U.S. Rep. Pete McCloskey is going up against incumbent Rep. Richard Pombo of Tracy in the upcoming GOP primary for California's 11th Congressional District.

Because of Pombo's position as Chairman of the House Committee on Resources and his vocal opposition to various environmental restrictions, he has become enemy number one to California's environmentalist movement.  Pombo is also being investigated for allegedly receiving funds from indicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the Indian tribes he represented.

McCloskey on the other hand is seen as having a clean slate, having recently emerged from retirement.  As a former antiwar candidate during the Vietnam War, co-chairman of the first Earth Day in 1970, one of the authors of the Endangered Species Act and an endorser of John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, McCloskey is the new darling of California liberals.

But as reported by Newsbusters in January, there's more to McCloskey's background than antiwar and environmental activism.  McCloskey, it turns out, has troublesome ties to Holocaust deniers, anti-Israel organizations, pro-Palestinian activism, and even the bizarre cult-like world of conspiracist Lyndon LaRouche.  And as I wrote at the time, all of this information is readily available via the Internet.

Yet somehow the presumably experienced reporters of This Week in Northern California managed to do an entire segment on the McCloskey/Pombo race without once mentioning McCloskey's less than savory past.  San Francisco Chronicle reporter Rachel Gordon delivered a glowing assessment of McCloskey's "moderate Republican" credentials, all the while conveniently overlooking a background that would make most self-described liberals blush.

Meanwhile, the segment description at the show's website carefully omits McCloskey's extremist credentials, all the while clearly presenting him as the preferred candidate:

Fourteen-year incumbent Representative Richard Pombo of Tracy is in a tough primary fight on June 6th that will determine who will be the GOP candidate to represent the 11th Congressional District. Pombo is being challenged by Pete McCloskey, a 78 year-old attorney and former Peninsula lawmaker who was first elected to Congress in 1967, and who came out of retirement in January to run against Pombo. Pete McCloskey served for 15 years in Congress where he co-authored the 1973 Endangered Species Act, opposed the Vietnam War and called for President Nixon's impeachment. Pombo, a 45 year-old rancher, is chairman of the House Resources Committee, and has advocated rewriting the Endangered Species Act and opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling. The conservative and moderate Republican candidates faced off in a heated debate on Monday night.

And now it seems that the San Francisco Chronicle and the L.A. Times have both given McCloskey their endorsement, even as questions are starting to arise about his earlier statements on the "so-called Holocaust."  Both the Contra Costa Times and the San Jose Mercury News touched on it briefly, but blogs such as The Volokh Conspiracy, Little Green Footballs, and James Taranto's Best of the Web and have been leading the charge.    

The mainstream media's whitewashing of McCloskey is just further evidence that it will do anything to prevent conservative Republicans from coming to power.  Even if the so-called moderate at hand happens to be someone like Pete McCloskey.

** In the interest of full disclosure, Cinnamon Stillwell is a columnist for SFGate.com, the online arm of the San Francisco Chronicle.