Media Industry Must Deal with First ‘Serial Liar’ in 2020 Election

Political editor and writer Jerry Roberts speaks at Harry’s Nov. 14.

The news media industry will have a tough time covering the 2020 presidential election because it has never dealt with “a serial liar,” according to perhaps Santa Barbara’s best-known political writer and editor. 

That’s what Calbuzz co-founder Jerry Roberts told a crowd Nov. 13 at a gathering of the Santa Barbara group called Sparking Political Action, Response and Change. 

Two issues Roberts said he couldn’t answer were: 1.) Will the current historic expanding economy buoy up the incumbent president’s campaign as good economic conditions have for so many second-term chief executives; and who will be the last Democratic rival standing after the primaries? 

As for the current impeachment hearings underway in Washington, D.C., Roberts compared them to a “kabuki dance.” 

Unfortunately, the start of the president’s congressional impeachment hearings will overshadow the primaries, Roberts told the crowd of about 80 at Harry’s Bar & Grill. 

As of this point in time, Roberts said, former Vice President Joe Biden is leading the Democratic pack, even though he shows signs of vulnerability. 

Meanwhile, Pete Buttigieg “is a little young, but is the flavor of the week,” Roberts said referring to the South Bend, Indiana, mayor who is seeking the nomination. 

As for the other two top Democratic hopefuls, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren “will have to pivot,” and Sen. Bernie Sanders “won’t pivot” on the issues they are campaigning on. 

As for media coverage, Roberts said, “There is no path back to objectivity …. It’s reporting commentary like the Wild West.” 

The former Santa Barbara News-Press editor said 2020 election coverage “may be worse than 2016.” 

He said news sources such as the New York Times and Washington Post are devalued because. “People love to read the Internet because there’s nothing they don’t want to read,” Roberts said.

Posted Nov. 14, 2019.

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