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Nunes 'Fake News' Attacks on Bee Focus of Vice News Story

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Vice News Tonight aired a report about Congressman Devin Nunes’ attacks on The Fresno Bee on its HBO show Tuesday.
(Click on the image above to view the segment.)
Correspondent Alexandra Jaffe spoke with Bee reporter Mackenzie Mays and editor Joseph Kieta. The story focused on Nunes’ accusations that The Bee engages in “fake news.” The congressman’s allegations followed a story by Mays that Nunes disagreed with.
Vice’s six-minute piece included footage from an Aug. 14 protest outside of Nunes’ office in Clovis, a weekly event that usually doesn’t attract much local media attention. Mays was there that day.

Nunes Attacks After Winery Story

The Vice story focused on Mays’ May 23 story about a lawsuit settlement between Alpha Omega Winery and an employee regarding events on a charity yacht cruise. The employee alleged she was subjected to sexual harassment while working as a server on the ship. Guests won the right to use the winery-owned yacht that night through a charity auction.
Nunes, as Mays’ story explained, is an investor in the winery but had no involvement in the activities on the yacht or the settlement.
The Republican congressman struck back, airing a two-minute ad, defending himself and attacking The Bee. It aired online and on local radio stations.
Nunes continues to make The Bee’s coverage an election issue. He recently mailed out a flyer attacking the newspaper.

Bee Defends Its Credibility

“The perception out there that this is some very left-wing product is just not accurate.” Bee Editor Joe Kieta
The Vice story also focused on President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media using the “fake news” label and how it also is being applied at the local level.
“The perception out there that this is some very left-wing product is just not accurate,” Kieta told Jaffe. He added that The Bee endorsed Nunes in all of the congressman’s prior elections.
When Jaffe asked if The Bee was giving up on those who support Nunes, Kieta replied, “I wouldn’t say I’m giving up on them, but I do think that there are some people that you are just never going to convince them.”
Local conservative talk radio host Guillermo Moreno often makes The Bee’s credibility a theme on his nightly program on AM 1680. Moreno derides the publication as the “Fresno Flea.” Moreno and Bee reporter Rory Appleton recently appeared on KSEE-24’s “Sunday Morning Matters” to debate the issue.

Bee Struggles

Jaffe talked to Mays about the blowback she received. The Bee reporter played a voicemail message: “Nice little hit job, you little radical socialists. You need to apologize to the American people.”
Vice also discussed the newspaper’s struggles, including a loss of about 100,000 subscribers since 2004, and cutbacks in the size of the reporting staff.
Jaffe opined that Nunes “is not considered at risk of losing this fall in his deep red district.”
In fact, Nunes’ election opponent, Democrat Andrew Janz, wasn’t mentioned in the story — other than showing his campaign signs.
GV Wire reached out to Mays, Nunes’ office, and reelection campaign staff, and Jaffe via Vice’s publicist. No one responded before publication of this story.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email