*Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs believes he lost reelection due to disinformation at the local level amid former President Donald Trump’s claim that the November election was “stolen” from him.
“I’m worried that this malicious, this evil, this weird obsession [with] disinformation and misinformation will spread like wildfire, particularly in communities like Stockton,” Tubbs said, per journal-isms.com.
“I made the false assumption that reality was reality and facts were facts and that people would see the truth in the matter and we’d be fine,” Tubbs told Akintunde Ahmad for Columbia Journalism Review.
“We just thought that by using traditional media, by being on TV all the time, . . . by writing a response to our newspaper whenever they wanted one, myself, going online and doing Instagram Lives, and Facebook Lives, where people could ask questions. We thought that would be enough, frankly. . . .”
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In December, David Siders wrote a piece for Politico Magazine in which he said, “The culprit most commonly cited — by Tubbs, his supporters, his critics and neutral observers — was 209 Times.
Here’s more from the journal-isms.com report:
“Launched in 2017 by a local activist, Motecuzoma Patrick Sanchez (pictured) who ran against Tubbs in the primary, the blog named for the local area code had spent four years mauling the mayor. And by the time of the election, it had developed a massive-for-Stockton following — nearly 120,000 people on Instagram, nearly 100,000 on Facebook.
“Its posts, shared throughout the city on those platforms, included a racist meme of Tubbs as a crack addict, with the text, ‘Got any more of that taxpayer money?’ and one of him with a martini, labeled, ‘When you’re too busy living your best life to notice your city’s on fire.’ The site claimed, deceptively, that Tubbs’ scholarship program was ‘missing millions of dollars.’ When officials discussed the possibility of sheltering homeless people at a county fairgrounds, it depicted the mayor as overseeing a ‘Homeless Tubbsville.’
Siders added, “In another city — or at another time in Stockton — the presence of 209 Times might not have mattered. But the guardrails of civic discourse have eroded in recent years. The local newspaper, The Record, has been butchered by budget cuts, with the newsroom listing just five reporters on its website, for a city roughly the size of Pittsburgh. The newspaper’s building is for sale, and San Joaquin County supervisors last month were considering buying it to turn into a homeless shelter. TV stations based in nearby Sacramento do little to fill the void.”
Anita Chabria, writing in November in the Los Angeles Times, reported, “Sanchez, the 209 Times founder, said the goal of his publication isn’t to be fair or balanced.
“ ‘We are not journalists. I looked at it like we were a guerrilla group up against the mainstream army,’ Sanchez said. ‘We are not asking their side of it. We are telling you what we know. We never tried to hide our bias.’ ”