You’ve gotta hand it to California’s media. They may have troubles with their business models.

But they never stop working to suppress the vote.

My journalistic colleagues will probably call such a claim unfair. But what else do you call a persistent effort to misinform the public in a way that discourages people from voting?

The campaign is ongoing, and it’s targeted at the June 5 election, which is already underway since so many of us vote early and/or by mail. The heart of the campaign is a mistake: the media calls the June 5 elections a primary.

Those elections are not a primary. Primaries in America involve voters in a party choosing their party’s nominee. California eliminated such primaries (for all but the presidency) at the beginning of this decade. The state replaced the primaries with a top two system—the top two candidates, regardless of party, advance to the November election

What is taking place in June is a general election—that’s what we call it in America when candidates of the different parties on the same ballot.

Calling the June election a “primary” is not just an error. It suppresses the vote. Because fewer people vote in primaries – they are considered less important than general elections. Voters who are not registered with either political party are especially unlikely to vote in anything called a primary, since primaries by their nature are for partisans.

What’s especially maddening about this mistake is watching media outlets lament the expected low turnout in the June elections while calling said election a primary.

When I point all this out to my fellow journalists, the most common defense is this: The state calls the June election primary. So they must call it a primary.

But the state’s nomenclature is also a mistake – and it’s also an act of voter suppression, one that Secretary of State Alex Padilla has had plenty of time to remedy.

Why should journalists repeat the state’s mistake? If state government called the Golden Gate Bridge a tunnel, would our media simply repeat it as fact?

Today’s media is full of self-congratulation about its role in protecting our democracy. And outlets have done some good work in countering the Trump Administration, which is no fan of democracy.

But c’mon, California media. How can you call yourselves defenders of democracy when you so routinely and thoughtlessly suppress it?