Behind the Media Curtain: Gavin Newsom’s Record

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

As a media and news executive for more than 30 years, I have had a front-row seat to witness (and push back against) the media evolution that has wrought a revolution.


Having spent those three decades working in talk and news radio in some of the bluest cities in America, it has been an eye-opening experience to watch how today’s media ply their craft, delivering misleading narratives that define what the political left now calls—following their deployment of the terms disinformation and misinformation—malinformation, or information they don’t like. The political right has a name for the left’s narrative-shaping onslaught: “fake news.”

Emotion has replaced facts; omission has replaced the truth. “All the news that’s fit to print” conveniently includes only one predictable narrative. I recently spoke to a media executive who oversees a big-time news operation and who so despises Donald Trump, he referred to the “crimes” Trump has committed. This otherwise sane, accomplished person knows well that Trump has not been convicted of any crimes, but he suspends reality because “we all know he’s done something illegal.” So much for the rule of law.

So here comes California’s Governor Gavin Newsom, the poster boy for the feelings-over-facts crowd. Newsom has great hair, a great pedigree, great connections, and eyes and ambitions that are wide open. He is behaving like he wants to be President of the United States sooner than 2028, and is taking key steps in that regard, such as barnstorming in red states (some to which he banned state-funded travel) and buying ads attacking, among others, Florida’s popular Governor and GOP presidential candidate, Ron DeSantis. And every day, Joe Biden looks more non compos mentis and less like he can make a run for President.


Newsom denies he is running for President in 2024, but his actions, and his record of an arm’s-length relationship with the truth, belie his words. Perhaps he feels he is being truthful since he technically has filed no paperwork to challenge Joe Biden. And while the “legacy media” is happy to accept his denials, Americans should prepare to really know Gavin Newsom, his past horrific acts, and his current failing record in California. 

America, here’s what you need to know about Gavin Newsom.

While it has eluded recent notice, Newsom had an affair—not just an affair, an affair with HIS BEST FRIEND’S WIFE—that became public in 2007. He dismissively called it “a profound lapse in judgment.”

Bad “judgment.” A recurring theme. Newsom, a professional in the wine industry, acknowledged at about the same time that he had “issues” with his drinking, claimed to go to some kind of San Francisco-style rehab, and is apparently cured—because he is back to drinking again. He admits to “self-medicating” with a glass of wine while watching the nightly news and thinks addressing alcohol abuse with a “clean and sober” approach is “the biggest damn mistake this country ever made.” Even if you are inclined to overlook, forgive, and accept these “personal” failings, his record, based on the numbers, should have added up to a recall, and surely, when America sees it—providing the media reports it fully and truthfully—Newsom will be rejected.

The numbers don’t lie.


Newsom is the only California Governor to LOSE a Congressional seat. Half-a-million Californians became residents of other states in the last couple of years alone and, according to a recent poll, 40% of those still toughing it out are considering leaving for cheaper, less crime-plagued, and lower-tax locales, just like Newsom’s own in-laws apparently did when they relocated to the state run by Newsom’s arch-nemesis, Ron DeSantis: prosperous, freedom-loving Florida. 



Newsom turned a 31+ billion-dollar budget surplus—thanks largely to COVID money—into a huge deficit in one year. It seems like this would be impossible to do, and yet it’s true. And this is with California imposing some of the heaviest tax burdens in the country. 

172,000 = 30%.

Newsom has welcomed the homeless—30 percent of all homeless in the USA are now firmly rooted in California, amounting to 172,000 people. He wants the homeless to settle in California so he presumably can check the “virtue signaling” box on this issue. Perhaps in preparation for his run for the White House, Newsom recently refused to defend his policies on homelessness which, while blaming his predecessors, homeowners and others, he admitted “is on us.”

352 and counting.

You’ve no doubt read about the many businesses leaving the formerly Golden state, amounting to 352 and counting, and every day, countless major businesses (Nordstrom, Walgreens, CVS, Starbucks) announce they are closing up shop in some of the largest metro areas, which is surely not a sign of confidence in California’s economic health. It is difficult to catalogue the dozens of retail stores in Southern California and the Bay Area that have closed or shortened hours and substantially changed the way they do business. Outbreaks of scary, menacing, and costly smash-and-grab robberies now make simply going shopping a fearful experience for residents and tourists alike. 

33 and 47.

These numbers refer to the pathetic percentages of California students meeting minimum standards in math and English. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist (and it seems many California students will never be) to know those are bad outcomes. And while most kids were falling perilously—and maybe permanently—behind while stuck in COVID Zoom-school, Newsom’s kids were attending private school in-person. 


Beyond the numbers.

But these stark numbers only tell part of the story. There’s a laundry list of hubris and failure dogging Newsom: The mega-dollar French Laundry dinner without masks after declaring a mask mandate, the poor response to droughts, the improper management of wildfires, letting tens of billions of dollars in unemployment be stolen, halting death penalty executions in defiance of voter-approved ballot initiatives, banning gas-powered cars, eliminating cash bail, and refusing to suspend the onerous gas tax while having the highest gas prices on the mainland. Bad policies have produced bad numbers--and bad results--for taxpayers. 

It is unfathomable that the Governor of a high-tax, high-crime, low-education-scores state that had one of the nation’s longest COVID lockdowns—with terrible consequences and devastating financial impact—could hold onto his job, let alone have the temerity to run for President. Newsom has always enjoyed a friendly, even sympathetic, press that buys his self-proclaimed “mindful,” “inclusive” and “holistic” approach to fixing California. But the results say otherwise, and an honest, aggressive media would report Newsom’s failures of policy, process and person. Author and longtime talk show host Doug McIntyre used to say that in its complicity, “the media drives the getaway car.” As America begins to gear up for the 2024 presidential election and as President Biden continues to falter in approval polls, it’s vital to know more about the car coming up on the outside, and the driver, Gavin Newsom. 


Drew Hayes was most recently VP/Market Manager and Program Director of KABC Radio in Los Angeles. He has also programmed and managed News, Talk and Sports stations in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Dallas, as well as the ESPN Radio Network. He began his career in Miami as a talk-show host and sportscaster, occasionally having to bite his tongue. He can be reached at [email protected].



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