On The Road To 2008 - Commentary on issues as we countdown to the next opportunity to change the direction of America

Monday, February 12, 2007

Seattle Times Editorial Board Dishonesty

Last election season, the Seattle Times editorial board earned the wrath of a public that expects the newspapers they read to tell them the truth. Instead, in endorsements for Republican candidates, Mike McGavick and Dave Reichert, the Times resorted to lies to further their agenda to elect those candidates most likely to profit the paper, rather than candidates best suited to representing their constituents.

Now don't get me wrong, it isn't just a matter of who they endorsed, and few expected anything but an endorsement of Dave Reichert from the Times. It's a question of how they defended their endorsement by attacking the opponents.

In praising Reichert for nuance, they lacked an understanding for the nuance of Reichert's "positions":
- His Terri Schiavo vote was a rare case of dissent within his party, not an example that was backed up with much more of the same.
- His opposition to ANWR drilling was shallow, and forgotten when appropriation bills were voted on.
- His relevant public service as a representative was limited to his first term in office.
- He failed to demonstrate convictions his constituency could rely on, changing his positions on various issues, most notably on stem cell research. After all his supposed "research" his vote came down to a discussion moments before taking it. He was swayed by the emotions of female staff members. That's enough to make anyone cry.
- His ignorant position on global warming was entirely glossed over.

In dissing Darcy Burner, Reichert's challenger, the Times:
- Criticized her for being a Democratic challenger with views in line with the Democratic party.
- Suggested Burner would have been a good candidate against George Bush, but wasn't against Reichert.
- Panned Burner's lifetime of community and public service, in the Civil Air Patrol, as a youth sports coach, and as president of the Ames Lake Neighborhood Association (the unincorporated area's equivalent of a city council - which the Times dismissed as a "community club"), as compared to Reichert experience in the Sheriff's office, without regard to the fact that Dave Ross, who ran against Reichert two years before, had no public service in his background (unless being a radio talk show host counts) yet they endorsed Ross as the better candidate.
- Made the ridiculous insinuation that as a congresswoman we could not count on her taking her voting responsibilities seriously.
- Claimed Burner ran a "mean-spirited" campaign of a "Rovian" nature. This when Reichert was openly and publicly rude, and ran the worst, most demeaning television advertising of the campaign. We all remember the "Interview" ad. Ask yourself this: would Reichert have run that same kind of ad if his opponent was a man?
- Mischaracterized Reichert's votes on veterans funding, and chastised Burner for their own ignorance of the significance of his votes.
- Failed to investigate Reichert's voting record that provided ample examples of how Reichert votes were a rubber stamp for Bush's agenda.

And so on...

So why am I bringing this all up again four months later?

Well, because it still matters. If you read Monday's editorial perhaps you noticed how the Times characterized Luke Esser's recent State Senate race loss: "embarrassing".

What exactly did they mean by that? On its own it isn't clear.

Were they characterizing the size of the loss as embarrassing? I don't think so, as it was your typical 53-47 split, in a district that also has two Democratic House representatives in Ross Hunter and Deb Eddy.

Were they suggesting Esser embarrassed himself through his comportment? Well there really isn't anything to point to that would back that up. Yeah, he was absent from, or late to, public forums, but in a brash, arrogant way, not quite an embarrassing way.

No, they were characterizing the fact he lost to a Democrat, and the worst kind of Democrat in their mind, a Republican turned Democrat, and an embarrassing outcome for a man this paper surely wanted to endorse, but couldn't despite itself given Esser's extreme positions.

I'm still not convinced that the Seattle PI's bizarre election endorsement of Esser wasn't in fact intended for the editorial pages of the Seattle Times.

What I do think is weird in the Times' editorial from Monday is that they even wrote on this at all. Why would the paper present such an opinion regarding the direction of the leadership of the Republican state party? Much of what is addressed would be more appropriately covered by one of their political reporters. No, this was written to implore the Republican party to pick up the pieces and try to regain power in Olympia - pronto. Frank Blethen is feeling the pressure of reduced clout, and he's increasingly running a paper that's perhaps on its last legs.

It has yet to fully feel the brunt of a readership backlash that is teetering on unsubscribing en masse as new media outlets take over, but that's just a matter of time. There's little question about whether it will happen.

Until then, I expect to see more of these Blethen opinion pieces, with the Times making up its own truths and realities, and posturing for self-profit. When it is all over, I'll lament the loss for the good journalists caught within this whole mess of a paper, but I'll shed no tears for those that perpetrate the illusion of serving the public trust.

2 Comment(s):

Comment by: Anonymous Anonymous

I think the message of the Seattle Times Editorial flaws is an ongoing one, and will extend from last election to the next one. I think this message needs to be hammered home all year long, so I don't think you have to apologise for bringing it up again months after the election.

Since the election, the Seattle Times board has also maintained a demeaning and dissmissive effort towards the science surrounding global warming.

And as a whole, I think the Seattle Times has managed to miss out on the whole story of Reichert's obstructionist voting patterns, which you have done a great job of documenting.

Keep it up!!

Pete McGowan CoolAqua

2/13/2007 7:11 AM PT  
Comment by: Anonymous Particle Man

This Esser editorial fits with David Postmans blind eye "reporting" when it comes to the ethical breaches as Esser ran the state party while being paid by the state for several weeks.

2/19/2007 9:18 PM PT  

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