GOP backfire

Republicans kick reporter out of event, face criticism from within the party

Chico’s political landscape, at least when it comes to the Republicans, is a microcosm of what’s happening at the national level. To be blunt, things are a mess. That’s clearer than ever following a chaotic opening of the so-called North State Republican Victory HQ last Saturday.

In an amateur move during the event, GOP representatives kicked out the media, including Evan Tuchinsky, a longtime CN&R contributor and former editor, who was there to cover the publicly advertised grand opening ceremony. It was a bizarre decision during a bizarre election year in which the Trump campaign has repeatedly booted or barred members of the media from his events. But look where that’s gotten The Donald. Our advice: Locals shouldn’t mirror the real estate magnate’s fascist campaign tactics. It will backfire.

Case in point: Two highly respected members of the local Republican Party—Paula McLay and Stephanie Taber—stood up for Tuchinsky during the commotion. In fact, one departed in protest of his being booted. Another, Butte County Supervisor Larry Wahl, who attended the festivities but had nothing to do with the incident, called Tuchinsky later to apologize on behalf of his party.

We appreciate their gestures.

The CN&R, by far Butte County’s largest-circulated newspaper, has a long history of covering the happenings of both major parties’ headquarters—primarily on election night—so being kicked out of the grand opening was unprecedented.

It was also a politically unsavvy move for a number of reasons.

First off, it makes it appear that local Republicans have something to hide. Second, it’s a missed opportunity for the candidates to get their messages out to the public. Third, a newspaper reporter who gets tossed from a political event is going to write about the experience. You’d think all of this would be obvious.

Then, there’s simple common courtesy. Tuchinsky was there to cover, not disrupt, the proceedings. Way to make a guy’s job more difficult. To his credit, in the face of the inhospitality, Tuchinsky still did a bang-up job of covering the event, including the protests outside (see his report on page 10).