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New York Times Avoids Tough Questions for Gov. Newsom


Good thing we have The Epoch Times covering California, because the New York Times just isn’t doing the job. It just conducted a puffball interview with Gov. Gavin Newsom that didn’t include a single tough question: “A Conversation With Gavin Newsom About the ‘California Effect’: Conor Dougherty of The New York Times spoke with the governor about leveraging California’s market power to influence policies in other states.”

That was an addendum to Dougherty’s NY Times Magazine article, “Can the ‘California Effect’ Survive in a Hyperpartisan America? For decades the state has been setting policy for the whole nation. Now red states are pushing back.”

What a wasted opportunity. Especially because Newsom obviously is looking longingly 2,726 miles east at that big White House.

Here are some obvious questions any Epoch Times writer would have asked. Let’s start with foreign policy, because it’s the most important thing a president does, with particular attention to the governor’s record.

1. Gov. Newsom, on April 18, 2022, you held a “virtual meeting” with Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu of the People’s Republic of China to sign a Memo of Understanding. You said it “deepens California’s strong climate and clean energy ties with China, bolstering our efforts to expand clean transportation, achieve carbon neutrality, and accelerate nature-based climate solutions. We’ll continue to foster meaningful collaboration with partners around the globe as we work to build a healthier, fossil fuel free future.”

Shortly after that, you personally met with Huang on July 15 in Washington, D.C. Why didn’t you bring up China’s exploitation of child labor in Congo to produce batteries used in your electric car mandates, as reported by Amnesty International in 2016?

2. Why did you make the following comments Fox News reported in 2021?

“California Gov. Gavin Newsom praised the “journalistic integrity” of a news outlet that reportedly has ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and was recently designated a foreign agent by the Justice Department.

“He made those comments during the annual gala for Sing Tao Daily, which is considered to have a pro-Beijing slant and has received money from both major political parties in the U.S.

“During his speech, Newsom appeared to thank editor in chief Joseph Leung for his staff’s ‘balanced’ coverage.

“‘Joseph, your work has been a labor of service—not only to the Chinese American community throughout the Bay Area but all throughout Northern California community as well. I want to commend you and your incredible staff, your leadership team at Sing Tao Daily for your dedication to journalistic integrity and for providing balanced news stories to Chinese Americans and beyond.’

“He later added: ‘You represent the best of California and you remind us, as always, that diversity is our strength.’ …

“According to Radio Free Asia, at least two of the company’s directors serve on the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which serves as an advisory committee for the Chinese Communist Party’s legislature.”

(Note: In the Epoch Times, I have reported on another PRC effort propagandizing Californians, the China Watch fake news insert in the Los Angeles Times.)

3. When COVID 19 hit three years ago, why did you blow $1 billion in a shady mask deal with, as the California Globe reported in 2022, “Chinese company BYD, an electric bus maker which started manufacturing N95 masks as the COVID pandemic hit.”

California Policy

4. Governor, as you are touting the “California Effect,” why has the main result been the state’s population in your four years in office declining by 500,000?

5. You’re attacking Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis of Texas and Greg Abbott of Texas. Why are those are the main destinations of those fleeing your policies?

6. You attacked those governors in the NY Times interview for “banning books, banning speech, intimidating not just teachers but librarians.” But how can books readily available on Amazon be “banned”? And how is speech banned if it is available easily on the internet?

7. Do you think the people, the voters, especially parents, have a right to control how their tax money is spent on materials in schools and libraries?

8. Before he was canceled, Tucker Carlson reported, “California school broadcasts sexually explicit books, some covering ‘pedophiles,’ kink and pornographic images.” Is that what in the interview you called “California’s moral authority”?

9. As to school academics, California suffered what even the NY Times last October called “dismally low math and reading test scores.” Its achievement rate dropped during your excessive Covid lockdowns. Despite your boast of spending more than $23,000 per student on average. Why are you spending so much for so little?

10. The homeless and crime crises in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other cities has become a global scandal. City Journal reported May 21, “Billions in spending have failed to solve California’s massive—and worsening—homelessness crisis.” Why has it gotten worse on your watch?

11. Although declining a little lately, housing prices in California remain staggeringly high. The median home price remains nearly $800,000, up 29 percent from just three years ago. Why can’t you make housing more affordable?


Back when Republican Gov. Pete Wilson was exploring a presidential bid for 1996, he came to the Orange County Register. Our Editorial Board grilled him hard—on his tax increases, on his failed education plan (soon improved), and on abortion (he was pro-choice; most Republicans then as now were pro-life). He complained to our publisher, who stood by us.

My guess is Newsom isn’t going to be inviting me soon to a Q & A session. I can’t even get his press office to return my emails and phone calls on routine questions. Even though I blasted their policies in print almost every week, the offices of Govs. Wilson, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Brown all responded quickly to my requests.

That’s what professional press secretaries do. I was one myself for three years, 2017-2020, for state Sen. John Moorlach, who always insisted on quick responses to press inquiries, even hostile ones. It’s called keeping the public informed.

As Newsom dances toward the Oval Office, somebody better start asking him some tough questions.

John Seiler’s email:

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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