posted by October 23 at 13:18 PMon
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.