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Monday, October 23, 2006


posted by on October 23 at 13:18 PM

Yesterday, in response to the Seattle Times Mike McGavick endorsement, I listed a number of McGavick’s positions—from pro-drilling in ANWR to pro-Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage to lax media regulations on the Internet to pro teaching Intelligent Design in public schools(!?!) —and pointed out that the Seattle Times (on its recent editorial pages) actually disagrees with their candidate of choice, McGavick, on these signature issues.

This raises the question: Where’s the list of issues that the Seattle Times and Mike McGavick agree on? Indeed, in its McGavick endorsement itself, the Seattle Times indicates it disagrees with him on two other signature issues: The War in Iraq and social security.

I challenge the Seattle Times to add up the issues on which it agrees with McGavick (I count 2, Yucca Mountain and repealing the estate tax) and then add up the issues on which they disagree with Mike McGavick (I count: the detainees bill, gay marriage, ANWR, net neutrality and media consolidation, teaching Intelligent Design in the public schools, the War in Iraq, and Social Security).

For example, on Social Security, The Seattle Times writes: “Cantwell says the system should retain its mandatory, fixed-benefit structure. We agree — and McGavick does not…”

On the war, The Seattle Times writes:

We are disappointed that neither candidate has called for America to leave Iraq…McGavick would consider the deployment of more troops…A candidate from either party calling for an immediate withdrawal would be refreshing, but that seems beyond the imagination of modern campaigns.

So, the question remains: What does the Seattle Times like about McGavick? Well, their endorsement credits him for running a “clean campaign.” That’s funny, in late August, the Seattle Times took the drastic move of publishing an editorial calling on McGavick to pull a misleading ad about Cantwell.

So, let’s try again: Why did The Seattle Times endorse McGavick?

Well, they write:

The nation’s democracy is at stake as giant media companies continue to calcify the country’s strong need for independent voices. Cantwell understands the issue, but once again has not shown significant leadership to a very real problem. We believe McGavick’s independent mind would be useful in untying the knot of media consolidation.

McGavick’s “independent mind” ? I have no idea what that means. So, let’s go to the specifics. As I pointed out yesterday, Cantwell strongly backed the Net Neutrality bill (and so did the Seattle Times.) The GOP killed the bill, and McGavick told me he didn’t support the Net Neutrality bill. Net Neutrality mandates that corporate Internet giants like AT&T cannot prioritize certain content providers over others. This is a huge deal for the Puget Sound’s high tech economy. Both Microsoft and Amazon have come out strongly for the bill.

Meanwhile, Andrew Villeneuve, over at the Northwest Progressive Institute blog, looks further at the media consolidation issue and writes:

Cantwell in 2004 joined with a bipartisan group of senators to oppose new FCC rules which would have allowed large media conglomerates to control a greater number of newspapers and radio and television stations.

Senator Cantwell’s positions and leadership role have not been a secret. And what’s more, the Seattle Times knows it. They have editorialized on it. Why, just last July, they pointed it out:
“Sen. Maria Cantwell has sent a letter to [FCC Chairman Kevin] Martin requesting a hearing in Washington. Our state is a logical location for hearings designed to gain a regional perspective outside the Beltway. It also makes sense to come to Washington because of Cantwell’s previous opposition to rule changes and her seat on the Commerce Committee, which oversees communications issues.”
And then there’s this, from another Seattle Times editorial:
Special notice goes to this state’s U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell. In June, the Democrat was one of three senators to sponsor an amendment to suspend the FCC rules. The amendment was dropped in conference, but it did put the Senate on the record as voting against the FCC.”

Okay. So, I’m still in the dark here. The Seattle Times endorsed McGavick because… ???

Well, I tried to find the Seattle Times editorial position on the recent habeas corpus controversy—Bush’s detainees bill—which is a flash point between McGavick and Cantwell. McGavick hammered Cantwell for voting against the bill. But curiously, for such a high profile debate, the Seattle Times did not publish an editorial as the vote came to a head. Their ed board remained uncharacteristically silent as the hotly debated national issue made headlines.

I did, however find this Seattle Times editorial from September that comes out against Bush’s proposed detainees policy. The GOP congress passed the bill. McGavick cheered its passage. Cantwell voted no.

The Seattle Times attempts to innoculate itself against the accusation that the real reason they ignored the majority of their editorial positions to endorse McGavick is the estate tax, writing:

Critics will note that McGavick supports the elimination of the federal estate tax, a cause for which The Seattle Times has campaigned many years. That is part of why we endorse him, but not most of it.

Unfortunately, they fail to tell readers what “most of it” is.

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So, the question remains: What does the Seattle Times like about McGavick?

Repubs are natural born followers... Blethen coughs "republican value": money, they listen. Those folks know which side of the bread has the butter.

Posted by Phenics | October 23, 2006 1:22 PM

The Seattle Times has been a joke for a LONG time. Talk about worthless journalism. When most of the paper is poorly written AP articles and the articles the actual "staff" write usually read like a freshman's term paper....this whole "McGavick" endorsement seems to fit their style.

When will we find out they are endorsing Foskett?

Posted by Monique | October 23, 2006 1:26 PM

So the Seattle Times "ineptly failed" according DJ Feit. I say the song he's playing has "adroitly failed" to make me dance.

Pheonics-- Hey, let's butter 'em up. At least the Republicans are finally on the same 'page' (wink-wink)

Posted by Rocktober | October 23, 2006 1:33 PM

Nice post, Josh (no, I'm not being sarcastic). The legwork you did here makes it pretty damn clear what's behind this endorsement. The oped folks at the Times must be frustrated by this - maybe some would talk on record about it anonymously.

BTW - your recent article on Cantwell was a good read. I hope to see more stuff like this.

Posted by Sean | October 23, 2006 1:36 PM

Feit, way to go after them. Cheers.

However, I wouldnt be too surprised, after all, this is the same "newspaper" that endorsed Dubya.

Posted by SeMe | October 23, 2006 1:38 PM

Actually, look at Josh's entire sentence:

"Unfortunately, they ineptly failed to tell readers what “most of it” is."

Read it closely, it's a trip.

Posted by Rocktober | October 23, 2006 1:42 PM

Doublethink: The act of holding two mutually contradictory beliefs simultaneously, fervently believing both and being unaware of their incompatibility.

"To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies—all this is indispensably necessary."


See also: Seattle Times Editorial Board

Posted by Andrew | October 23, 2006 1:54 PM

Estate tax aside, my guess is that it's because he's a white, male CEO.

American culture has this weird love of CEOs, despite all the Enrons and others, the CEO has a special place people's hearts. They can't resist it.

Posted by My guess | October 23, 2006 2:00 PM

Josh, are you admitting that you made the change in the sentence?

Posted by Rocktober | October 23, 2006 2:38 PM


You pointed out a goofy usage error I made. I gladly fixed it. Thanks for the catch.

Um....are you okay?

Posted by Josh Feit | October 23, 2006 2:45 PM

Keep after 'em, Josh. I want everyone on the Times editorial board to know that their bullshit has been exposed. This was a Blethen call, pure and simple.

Posted by Fnarf | October 23, 2006 3:09 PM

People, if I'm not mistaken, I believe we are in the presence of an actual...REPORTER. Alert the media!

Posted by libbertine | October 23, 2006 3:40 PM

Josh, just a note - hate the new haircut.

Love the stories, tho.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 23, 2006 4:17 PM

Simple answer, Mr. Feit- gravitas. The opponent, though a female, has no gravitas and treats her campaign and staff as high schoolers for senior class president.

Posted by truth and justice | October 23, 2006 4:26 PM

Maria Cantwell is sincere. Mike McGavick is schmooze.

Gravitas? WTF?

Posted by Soupytwist | October 23, 2006 7:57 PM
16've never been better than what you've outlined here...good work.

Posted by Timothy | October 23, 2006 11:46 PM

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