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A Look Inside The 40-Page Nunes Mailer Targeting The Fresno Bee

Kerry Klein
Valley Public Radio
This glossy, 40-page magazine targeting the Fresno Bee by the campaign of Congressman Devin Nunes began reaching mailboxes in his district during the last week of September.

A few weeks ago, you might have heard our interview with Vice News reporter Alexandra Jaffe about the ongoing contention between Tulare County Congressman Devin Nunes and The Fresno Bee. After The Bee published a handful of stories about Nunes’s investments and public image, he responded by calling the paper a “left wing rag.” He also aired a 2-minute television and radio ad claiming the Bee is on a “crusade” against him.

Then, late last week, the Nunes campaign sent out a thick, glossy, full-color mailer to voters in his district. It refers to The Fresno Bee as a “propaganda machine” and critiques specific reports by The Bee, in some cases calling out staff with names and photos. It also implicates Bee reporters in organizing rallies and siding with Nunes’s opponent, Fresno County Prosecutor Andrew Janz. Ultimately, the mailer accuses The Bee of being nothing more than a source of fake news propaganda.

Credit Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio
Valley Public Radio
The mailer is 40 full-color pages of text, photos, newspaper clippings and testimonials from Valley residents, business owners and Republican political commentators.

Because of its unusual size and scope, we decided to break this mailer down and give it some context. Listen to the audio for a discussion between FM89’s Kerry Klein and Laura Tsutsui, featuring commentary from Fresno State political scientist Lisa Bryant and a response from Fresno Bee Editor Joe Kieta. The Nunes campaign didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. 

You can find the full mailer here.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.
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