Most "Censored" Story in S.F. History: If It's Been Censored, Why do We All Know About it?

Categories: Media

Brugmann_fix.jpgBy Will Harper

The cover of this week’s issue of the Bay Guardian is devoted to, yet again, Sonoma State’s Project Censored and its list of the most important stories ignored by the mainstream media. Sometimes Project Censored does unearth stories deserving of more attention, but all too often the “censored” stories simply didn’t get the kind of treatment the lefties who put together the list would have liked. In fact, many of the “censored” stories actually appeared in the mainstream press. This year, for instance, editorials and opinion pieces ran about some of these censored subjects in such underground publications as the New York Times and the Moonie-owned Washington Times.

But at least our rivals had the good sense not to include Guardian strongman Bruce B. Brugmann’s latest rant about PG&E, public power and the Raker Act in the paper. Instead, Brugmann was left to blog about “The Most Censored Story in SF History,” which his paper has been writing about for the last 40 years. In it, Brugmann offers his tendentious view of how “the local media, led by the Hearst-owned San Francisco Chronicle, has censored and marginalized the scandal in every way possible.”

The gist of Brugmann’s tirade: Old-man Hearst cut a deal with PG&E in the late ‘20s to reverse his support for the Raker Act and public power. “To it's (sic) everlasting shame,” Brugmann wrote last week, “Hearst corporate has marched in lock steps everlatter with PG&E and against the city and county of San Francisco and its residents and businesses.”

If Brugmann had written this in 2001--when his Raker Act Scandal timeline conveniently ends--maybe he’d have a case. But in 2002, the Hearst-owned Chronicle ran a series of stories about San Francisco’s sordid history with PG&E and its efforts to circumvent the Raker Act (although the paper’s editorial board recommended a “no” vote on Proposition D, that year’s public power measure on the ballot, which failed). The headline of the main piece: “City spurned mandate for public power: S.F. stuck with high energy rates, risk of blackouts.” The Chron package included a sidebar about how the Guardian had led the fight for public power since 1969. Afterward, the Guardian exclaimed “The Hearst Blackout Ends.”

Yet, somehow, six years after the Chron’s public-power series ran, Brugmann accuses Hearst of “censoring” this widely publicized fight over energy in the city.

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