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August 17, 2021

Elder Campaign Revokes Sacramento Bee’s Access


Yesterday, Elder for Governor 2021 revoked the access of The Sacramento Bee to our campaign. Below are the events that led to the decision.

  • The Sacramento Bee published a voter guide last week on the candidates running for governor in the recall election against Gavin Newsom.
  • The Elder campaign had submitted answers to questions for the voter guide on August 4, and, this being a recall election, pointed out why Newsom must be removed from office.
  • The Sacramento Bee informed us on August 9 that it would not allow negative references to other candidates. Our campaign had not been made aware of such a policy previously. The Bee asked if the Elder campaign would like to make revisions to its responses.
  • A few days later, the Bee published the voter guide with its own revisions of our responses — without receiving permission or feedback from the Elder campaign.
  • The voter guide, as published on the newspaper’s website, contains a doctored version of the answers that the Elder campaign submitted, stripped of all negative references to Governor Gavin Newsom.
  • On August 14, the Elder campaign contacted the Bee to take down the doctored answers or to restore Elder’s original responses. On August 15, we spoke to the capitol bureau chief of the Bee, who apologized and agreed to take down the unauthorized responses on the Bee’s website.
  • We also spoke to the Bee’s political editor on August 15, and she reiterated that the responses would be deleted. The deletion occurred the same day.
  • On August 16, the Bee’s political editor informed us that they had republished the doctored version of our responses on their website, at the instruction of the paper’s executive editor.
  • In response, the Elder campaign revoked the Bee’s access. Such access will remain revoked until the Bee removes the unapproved answers or posts the original answers from the campaign.

The Elder campaign had assiduously provided access to the Bee in this election. In just a little over a month since Elder declared his candidacy, the campaign has participated in an hour-long meeting with the Bee’s editorial board, facilitated an in-person interview between the candidate and a Bee reporter, and repeatedly responded to inquiries from the Bee’s journalists, including preparing answers to the voter guide. These efforts have required significant time and attention. In exchange, we expected professionalism and good faith. The Bee has failed on both counts.

The Elder campaign hopes that The Sacramento Bee will do the right thing, and we look forward to working with its journalists again when the Bee deletes the unsanctioned content that it has attributed to Larry Elder or publishes content that our campaign did approve.

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