Monday, October 22, 2012

The Political Desk Opens Late

Sweet Mother Malarky, the ballots and voting guides have arrived, and we are little more than two weeks away from the elections, and I am rousted from my sluggard nature only by the fact that some of my regular readers (of which I have tens if not dozens) in Washington State have already voted. So now I am under the gun for a quick turnaround.

I've been doing this for a while now, and the regulars know that I'm a tad bit left of center in my recommendations. But let me point you to some other options as well, for the Seattle area. The online version of the Washington State Voter's Guide is here, and that for King County is here. Voting-For-Judges does a good job compiling judicial recommendations. The Municipal League is here for candidate and here for a couple ballot measures. If you like your recommendations liberal and foul-mouthed, the Stranger provides for that need here. If you go for a more lefty but polite version, here are some of Publicola's (they don't seem to compile them so you'll have to bounce around). And if you rely on the Seattle Times editorial page ...

Well, why would you do a damned fool thing like that?

The Times editorial page is conservative but not arch, and does lend its considerable weight to progressive causes and often endorses Democratic candidates. But it would, all things being equal, prefer to see pro-business Republicans in charge, and it shows strongly both on their editorial page and in their presentation of the news itself. They are more than wiling to carry water for the State GOP on the occasional hatchet job on Dem candidates, while keeping mum on GOP problems until they are commonplace on the local blogs (and/or in the pages of the aforementioned foul-mouthed Stranger). Democrat sins are to be dwelt upon on the front page, Local Section, while Republican candidates in dire straights merely "face challenges" and their travails show up deeper in the paper (sometimes after the comics). They just did a endorsement of Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell, but were so effusive about her Republican challenger I had to double-check the lede. Their own "Truth Needle" can be a flaccid thing, draped over the EMP. Such behavior is pretty much par for the course.

But this past week, the Times has announced that it will now be writing, creating, and presenting their own in-paper political ads for a candidate, in this case Republican Candidate Rob McKenna, in addition to supporting R-74. They have stated that this is an experiment to show that newspapers still matter. This is not the owners of the paper buying space or keeping their opinions to the editorial page or supporting a particular initiative, but rather the newspaper's editorial board campaigning directly for a particular officeseeker. It is a pretty radical move, and its own reporters are pretty staggered by it.

This is, of course, a horrible idea, and puts into question their coverage of everything they report on, regardless of political slant. As the only daily paper in town, and a paper that is deeply proud of its independent roots, this one is a messy, self-inflicted wound. The Stranger (did I mention it was foul-mouthed?) is blatantly and obviously biased as well, but even it is not creating ads for its chosen candidates.

But here, have some ammunition. I will catch up when I can.

More later,