Mayor wows unsuspecting scribes in Sacto
Tony and Eli, back in the day; photo by Eric Richardson.
It's hard to believe anyone, even the most determined publicity hound, could find so much free cosmopolitan print by showing up at a cow-town's press club, script in hand, and patronizing whomever showed up, but that's what Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa accomplished yesterday, when he used the shaky pulpit of the Sacramento Press Club to assail Californians and especially corporations for not paying enough taxes.
Apparently Hizzoner couldn't make any actual news in various Sacto corridors, so he ran to the nearest sleepy media outpost to try to trot some out--but, damn, it mostly worked. Steve Lopez completely swooned.
The thing that is most mind-boggling, however, is that Villaraigosa--who to my knowledge has never made it to the LA Press Club for such a conference, and who failed to insert or involve himself when the Times itself was sold to an out-of-town, bottom-fishing street-urchin in 2007--was now tossing off platitudes galore to print, suddenly understanding "what you're up against as reporters and editors."
And those up against the wall returned the favor: the former fishwrap of record actually called Villaraigosa's talk an "address." Ordinarily, we witness addresses on battlefields or before Congress, not in two-bit media rooms.
Maybe it was the Mayor wishing Tim Rutten well as a blogger that elevated this talk to statesman status?
It wasn't only the Times; the cow-town chat was picked up in other unusual quarters, including the Wall Street Journal, where it was quickly denounced as tedious bolshevik cant.