A front-page story in Sunday’s Chronicle titled “Capital’s newfound tourism muscle” claims that tourists are flocking to Sacramento since Governor Schwarzenegger took office. But while the story’s sub-headline states that “Schwarzenegger spurs Sacramento tourism,” it fails to provide a single statistic or fact supporting its thesis that tourism has increased under the Governor.
Reporter Caroline Zinko bases her conclusion that tourists are “flocking” to Sacramento on the following evidence.
First, the head of the Sacramento Visitors Bureau is getting calls from Germany and England and travel agents “are booking tours for 2005.” We’ll believe that people are flying 6000 miles to visit Sacramento when we see it-hopefully they’ll stay in the area long enough to visit San Francisco.
Second, residents of the capital are “noticing that the town is not as calm as it used to be.” Now there’s objective “proof.”
Third, the Governor is continually swamped by reporters and school kids. Are these folks tourists?
Fourth, a charity ball sold out in February and even though the Governor and his wife did not attend, “we’d probably have had crowds in the streets if they’d come.” What this has to do with either tourism or anything that actually happened is a mystery.
Fifth, Sacramento was featured in the New York Times Travel section. But the Governor’s connection to this, if any, is never made.
Sixth, Sacramento was pictured on television news shows covering the Pasa Robles earthquake (this is not a joke-check the article)
Finally, the story ends quoting a “well-connected” attorney who says Arnold is “the most popular politician on the planet right now.” Yep, people always choose their travel plans based on how much they like the state’s Governor—that’s why tourism hit an all-time high in California under the exciting Gray Davis.
Well, I guess that is “case closed” for rising tourism in Sacramento.
But what about the stats on hotel occupancy rates? How about international air travel to Sacramento-is European tourism up?
Are convention planners signing up for Sacramento rather than San Francisco or San Diego? Have an array of tourist-oriented businesses opened up around major hotels, a la our Powell Street and Union Square area?
It seems impossible but the Chronicle is even more idolatrous of Schwarzenegger than of Gavin Newsom. In two weeks they have given him multiple front-page puff stories while other media is highlighting how the Democrats kicked the Governor around in the recently concluded budget deal.
What’s next? A Chronicle campaign for a statue of Arnold in UN Plaza to ward off trouble-makers?
It has gotten to the point that Chronicle stories about the Governor should be labeled as political advertisements.