A political earthquake is shaking California as a massive recall effort against liberal Governor Gavin Newsom has surged past the needed 1.5 million signatures to qualify for a fall ballot. The networks have mostly stayed silent on the unpopular Democrat’s fall (or relegated it to Sunday talk shows). But on Wednesday, as the deadline for signatures arrived with over two million turned in, CBS offered a full report. Reporter Carter Evans fretted that Republicans are “hijacking” the effort in order to install a GOP governor. 

Evans worried, “The recall campaigns claims 38 percent of signatures are from Democrats and independents. But Democratic leaders are skeptical and point to donations like $250,000 from the Republican National Committee.” Delving into conspiracy thinking, Evans asked one of the recall leaders: “Is there a concern that this recall is being hijacked solely to get a Republican in office in a fairly Democratic state?

 

 

In a bizarre moment, Evans turned to Gray Davis, the last governor to be recalled, for advice… on how not to be recalled. 

CARTER EVANS: In 2003, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced recalled Governor Gray Davis. He was one of more than 130 candidates on the ballot. 

GRAY DAVIS: Part of the fabric in California politics. If you don’t like that, you should find some other state to run for office in. 

EVANS: Do you have advice for the governor? 

DAVIS: Keep doing what he’s doing.

That advice didn’t exactly work out so well for Davis. Evans offered this misleading claim: “Over the past six decades, every California governor has faced a recall attempt. So far only one was successful.” Many California governors face recalls, but only the Davis recall and (likely) the Newsom effort have actually earned enough signatures and gone to a vote. 

But still, kudos to CBS for at least covering the story. NBC’s Today allowed a scant 25 seconds. Craig Melvin briefly explained: 

California Governor Gavin Newsom admitted on Tuesday that he is worried about a statewide recall effort there. Newsom said organizers appear to have enough signatures to put the recall on the ballot. The Governor has faced scrutiny over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. California leads all states in cases and COVID deaths. Newsom says he plans to challenge the recall effort and fight for California values. 

ABC’s Good Morning America was silent on the recall deadline. 

The slanted CBS segment was sponsored by Kia. Click on the link to let them know what you think. 

A transcript of the CBS segment is below. Click “expand” to read more. 

CBS This Morning
3/17/2021
7:21 AM tease

ANTHONY MASON: Plus, why the latest attempt to oust California governor Gavin Newsom from office could be his toughest fight yet. 

7:30:23  to 7:34:25 
4 minutes and 1 second 

TONY DOKOUPIL: California Governor Gavin Newsom is in a tough fight to keep his job. Today is the deadline for a petition campaign to remove the Democrat from office. And organizers say they have collected far more signatures than they need to hold a new election. This is the sixth attempt to recall Newsom since he took office back in 2019.  But Carter Evans shows why this could be a different time for the governor. 

GAVIN NEWSOM: Am I worried about it? Of course I’m worried. 

CARTER EVANS: Governor Gavin Newsom is on the offensive this week, pushing back against the effort to kick him out of office 

NEWSOM: I think we saved thousands and thousands of lives. 

WOMAN: We have got to stop having apathy.  

EVANS: Anger over his handling of the pandemic is fueling the movement which is supported by many small business owners like Angela Marsden. 

ANGELA MARSDEN: I’m losing everything. 

EVANS: She recorded this video, and it went viral. 

MARSDEN (Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill owner): They set up a movie company right next to my outdoor patio. 

EVANS: Strict state and county health rules had shut down outdoor dining at her L.A. restaurant again. 

MARSDEN: We have politicians picking and choosing who’s essential, who is important enough to be able to work and feed their family, and who isn’t. 

NEWSOM: If we don’t act now, we’ll continue to see a death rate climb. 

EVANS: Initially praised for his aggressive response to the pandemic, Newsom came under fire for whiplash on and off business restrictions. But the anger exploded and recall signatures surged when he was caught ignoring his own advice at an expensive dinner with lobbyists with no masks and no distance. 

NEWSOM: We’re all human. We all fall short sometimes. 

RANDY ECONOMY (Recall Gavin 2020 Spokesperson): That’s really not good enough. 

EVANS: Randy Economy is spokesman for one of the groups behind the campaign to recall the governor which began just before the pandemic. 

ECONOMY: When the pandemic came along, it was quick to see that he just was not equipped. 

EVANS: Gubernatorial recall attempts are not common in California. One of 20 states that allows them. Over the past six decades, every California governor has faced a recall attempt. So far only one was successful.  

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: We are here, ladies and gentlemen, to clean house. 

EVANS: In 2003, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced recalled Governor Gray Davis. He was one of more than 130 candidates on the ballot. 

GRAY DAVIS: Part of the fabric in California politics. If you don’t like that, you should find some other state to run for office in. 

EVANS: Do you have advice for the governor? 

DAVIS: Keep doing what he’s doing. There’s nothing more important to people than getting through this pandemic. Schools are opening, and businesses are reopening. As they see for themselves, they’re going to feel better about their future. 

EVANS: The recall campaigns claims 38 percent of signatures are from Democrats and independents. But Democratic leaders are skeptical and point to donations like $250,000 from the Republican National Committee. Is there a concern that this recall is being hijacked solely to get a Republican in office in a fairly Democratic state? 

ECONOMY: We’re very concerned about that. But again, you know, in the bottom line is there’s a lot of people that want to get him out of office, whether it be the Republican Party, the Libertarian party, we don’t have any control over them. 

EVANS: The California Democratic Party is now stepping up its own fight with a $250,000 donation, helping to pay for TV ads like this one — 

AD: Who’s behind the partisan recall of governor Gavin Newsom? Anti-vaccine Qanon extremists.  

EVANS: A signal the campaign has begun in the fight has begun in California. So if enough signatures are verified, there will be an election later this year in California, and voters will be asked two questions. One, do they want to recall Newsom, and two, with whom they want to replace him? A recent Berkeley poll found 45% want to keep him in office while 36% would vote to recall the governor, and about 19%, Anthony, are still undecided. 

TONY DOKOUPIL: That’s a very close race, Carter. Thank you. 



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