The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

11 April 2005

Paper Becomes Increasingly Strident

The P-I's Kamikaze Mission

Push Fringe Left View On Way To Oblivion



Also new Monday: WA Elections Mess Returns to Forefront


A merely biased newspaper, is something I can live with, it's expected.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, however, has ventured into extreme territory perhaps no other major daily paper has visited: that of obsessive ideological zealotry.

If this were working for the paper in terms of readership, I wouldn't criticize it, it would merely be a case of targeting one's audience (though it still wouldn't be good journalism).

However, the further left it heads, the more the readership declines. See my previous post on the subject.

How liberal is the New York Times? Boston Globe? Los Angeles Times? The P-I makes those papers look right-wing by comparison.

Rather than moderate the tone, there's an increasing stridency, one that smacks of desperation. It isn't winning converts and makes partisan talk radio look downright objective.

Nowhere is the emotionally partisan nature of the P-I more apparent than on the disputed Washington state governor's race, where Republicans were double-teamed today by both the editorial board and panderer-in-chief Robert Jamieson.

Jamieson went on a vicious attack against former GOP Senator Slade Gorton, a respected moderate who recently took part in the 9-11 Commission.

Gorton expressed very real concerns about the unbelievable number of "errors" in King County's election department, which led to the botched gubernatorial election. In attacking the former senator, Jamieson hit way below the belt:


The Republican Red Scare is on the loose. Again.

The swirling forces of smear and sneer are now looking to a skeletal graybeard to legitimize their cause: Slade Gorton.

The former U.S. senator from Washington has slithered back into the politics pool. Gorton says King County "has the worst elections administration of any county in the United States."

How Gorton arrived at this grand pronouncement the other day is a mystery. He didn't offer much proof.

One would have hoped the éminence grise of Evergreen State politics would be above shooting hyperbole from the hip to stir up the masses.

After all, Gorton has shown a capacity to be a levelheaded, positive force when it comes to bipartisan cooperation. Remember his thoughtful contributions to the commission that reviewed the Sept. 11 terror attacks?

But he can also be ruthlessly right-wing. The man we're now seeing is pure Slade the Blade.



Jamieson obviously doesn't know Gorton very well, if he did, it would be obvious that the former senator is a better fit for the Rhode Island delegation than Utah's. In fact, Gorton's family roots are in old establishment New England (as in the Gorton's Fisherman). Yankee Republicans were never right-wing and never will be.

Having been around him a few times, as well, I can say he's the same pragmatic moderate in private as he appears in public.

Part two comes from the editorial page. Even Editorial Page Editor Mark Trahant allows his page to get personal, calling him "shabby" and "crass":



How sadly shabby was former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton's blatant exploitation of the problems within the King County elections department for crass political gain.

King County Executive Ron Sims may indeed have to answer for shortcomings in the county's handling of the election. But Gorton's assertion that the county has "the worst elections administration of any county in the United States of America" is more in keeping with the persona of the partisan campaign chairman, compared with the image of a distinguished senator.



The P-I simply comes across a little bit too defensive. As Orbusmax puts it:


ORBUSMAX TO SEATTLE P-I EDITORIAL BOARD AND JAMIESON: POLITICAL OR NOT - ISN'T GORTON RIGHT? WHAT'S WORSE THAN "APPALLING"? NAME ANOTHER COUNTY ANYWHERE THAT HAD THE NUMBER OF PROBLEMS KING COUNTY HAD THIS PAST NOVEMBER ELECTION...


That's the issue the P-I won't address: in attacking the messenger, they neglect to point out what everyone knows: Gorton's right.


Updated: P-I editor attacks Seattle talk radio for opposing WA gas tax increase. Linked also at Orbusmax.


See also my new Monday morning piece on King County election story returning to national spotlight.

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