While there were six governors sworn into office on Monday, it was liberal Democrat Jerry Brown taking the oath of office for a record fourth term in California that caught the fawning eye of NBC Nightly News and anchor Brian Williams who, in turn, spent a news brief gushing over how his first stint in office was during the Ford administration and that he had improved the state’s finances.
Following a brief on news that the owner of the St. Louis Rams plans to build a stadium outside Los Angeles, Williams pivoted to the Golden State at-large and Brown’s fourth inauguration: “Then there's Jerry Brown, today at age 76 he was sworn today to a record fourth term. He first came into office when Jerry Ford was President his first time around. No one has led the most populous state in the Union longer than Jerry Brown, who's finally been able to turn around California's troubled finances.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Not surprisingly, NBC’s glowing promotion of Brown on Monday was not the first such instance in the past year. Back on July 3, NBC’s Chuck Todd suggested on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that Brown was the “most likely” candidate to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.
“Jerry Brown's resume with the left and populist movement is as strong if not stronger,” remarked Todd.
While Williams said that Brown has “finally been able to turn around California's troubled finances,” not everyone has been supporting that claim. In 2014, CEO Magazine named California for a tenth year in a row as the worst state to conduct business in and cited a story by The Economist that it takes two years to open a restaurant in California. In comparison, the magazine reported that it would take six to eight weeks to make that happen in Texas (which was the friendliest state to do business).
Further, a column by the Heritage Foundation’s Stephen Moore noted that between 2003 and 2012, “a net 1.4 million people left California for other states.”
Moore also put forth evidence that the “supposed budget surplus” did not include “gargantuan hidden deficits from state pension liabilities” or take into account the expected decline in revenue from so-called one off taxes.
In its annual ranking of the nation’s governors on fiscal policy, the Cato Institute ranked Brown in last place with an F and a score of 19 (with the next highest, Democrat John Hickenlooper of Colorado, at 26).
The complete transcript of the news brief that aired on NBC Nightly News on January 5 can be found below.
NBC Nightly News
January 5, 2015
7:23 p.m. Eastern
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Then there's Jerry Brown, today at age 76 he was sworn today to a record fourth term. He first came into office when Jerry Ford was President his first time around. No one has led the most populous state in the Union longer than Jerry Brown, who's finally been able to turn around California's troubled finances.