A veteran columnist tries out as a cub reporter? This could get interesting …

Debra J. Saunders, leaving San Francisco. Interesting lanyard. Maybe she has a sense of humor, too. (San Francisco Chronicle photo)

Debra J. Saunders, leaving San Francisco. Interesting lanyard. Maybe she has a sense of humor, too. (San Francisco Chronicle photo)

Now this could get interesting.

When the Las Vegas newspaper reported this morning (Don’t bother trying to find it online, I couldn’t.) that it has hired a conservative-leaning columnist Debra J. Saunders from the San Francisco Chronicle to cover the White House, I thought: Yeah, right, conservative-leaning at the uberliberal Chronicle is a matter of context.

But wait, it gets better.

Saunders is quoted by the paper as saying, “While I’ve written columns and editorials for 30 years, I have never worked as a straight news reporter. I expect to be the oldest cub reporter in the White House press corps.”

But wait it gets better.

While her columns do appear to be rather conservative for San Francisco — such as writing that sanctuary cities are places for career criminals to hide, an op-ed that appeared in the Las Vegas paper, too, as many of her columns have over the years — she will be “objectively” covering the Donald Trump White House after writing just before the election on why she was voting for Gary Johnson.

Good luck with getting called on at the next Trump presser.

In explaining why she couldn’t vote for Trump, Saunders wrote: “The GOP nominee lacks conviction, character and self-control. Trump didn’t keep his promise to release his tax returns. He trash-talks women and minorities. In all my years of covering politics, I’ve never seen a campaign where supporters actively blame the candidate’s lack of self-control — not his advisers or pollsters — for the harebrained things he says. Even his most enthusiastic fans say Trump is his own worst enemy.”

And we doubt she will be invited to sit next to The New York Times correspondent after writing this: “Yes, it has come to this. The New York Times reported on its front page Thursday that Donald Trump fondled a woman on an airplane more than 30 years ago and kissed another woman on the mouth against her wishes in 2005. I don’t think I’ve ever been this ashamed of my profession.”

She also dissed both Trump and WaPo’s reporting in the same piece: “I don’t like Trump. I’m not voting for Trump. But there are so many better reasons not to vote for Trump than because of this pile-on. It started when The Washington Post broke a story about comments Trump had made on a hot microphone — off air, but operative — to Billy Bush, then of ‘Access Hollywood,’ about how he likes to kiss women and grab their privates.”

Saunders also made a dig at NBC, wondering if perhaps after the election the voters will learn how NBC, which owned that “Access Hollywood” video, didn’t break the story sooner.

Not sure why Saunders left the Chron, but she wrote this in her departing column:

“It is impossible to replicate the bond a newspaper columnist establishes with readers. You’ve always let me know what you think, esteemed reader, and you are always in my head.

“There is a certain swagger that goes with the job. Of course, there is. The Chronicle has paid me for my opinion for 24 years. How many people can say that they’re paid for their opinions? Better yet, how many people can say they’re paid for their unpopular opinions?

“I’ve always thought I had the greatest job in the world. I’ve enjoyed having a big footprint. So it is time for me to move on and find a new way to make trouble. I am not sure what my next adventure will be, but I trust it will not be boring.”

On her Twitter feed she says she will write a column for Creators Syndicate. Not sure how well reporting and column writing will jibe, but it should be fun to watch. At least not be boring.

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4 comments on “A veteran columnist tries out as a cub reporter? This could get interesting …

  1. Thanks, Steve. Looks like they got around to posting while I was working on the blog.

  2. […] I predicted when Debra Saunders joined the Las Vegas newspaper as its White House correspondent after three decades as an editorialist and columnist — having recently departed, willingly or unwillingly, from the San Francisco Chronicle as its putative token conservative columnist — that it would be fun to watch how the designation as a “cub reporter,” as she called it, would jibe with her engrained columnist instincts. […]

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