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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Re: Seattle Times Endorses McGavick

posted by on October 22 at 11:50 AM

I don’t have much to say about the Seattle Times and today’s embarrassing, transparent McGavick endorsement. It’s so obviously about the money, honey. Picking it apart requires taking it seriously, if only for a moment, and that temporarily lends the endorsement a legitimacy it doesn’t deserve. Blethen wants his estate tax cut and if it wasn’t clear before it sure is clear now: Frank’s employees on the edit board would endorse Jeffrey Dahmer on his orders if Dahmer promised to vote Frank’s way on the estate tax issue.

Does anyone doubt for a moment that the edit board at the Seattle Times would, if left to its own devices, endorse candidates that actually jibe with the position the edit board takes the rest of the year? But they don’t, because Frank won’t let them. A gun is held to their heads at endorsement time, and they fall in line, voting for Frank’s handpicked, hard-right, tax-slashing candidates.

I don’t know that much about the folks on the Seattle Times op-ed board, but I do know the folks on the Stranger Election Control Board pretty damn well. And all I can say is this: If Tim Keck attempted to meddle with the SECB as blatantly and aggressively as Frank Blethen meddles with the Seattle Times op-ed board, Josh Feit, Erica C. Barnett, Eli Sanders, Annie Wagner, et al, would quit in protest. (Keck sits on the SECB, but he’s a non-voting member. He has a veto, which he has used, I think, once in 15 years.)

So this morning I’m just left wondering this: How do Joni Balter and James Vesely sleep at night?

RSS icon Comments


I appreciate the nature of these discussions, but how was the Award Ceremony??

Just another shin-dig at Paul Allen's mom's house?

Posted by patron | October 22, 2006 12:23 PM


What do you mean, how do they sleep at night? Do you think it isn't all about the Benjamins for them?

Posted by ivan | October 22, 2006 12:30 PM

Perhaps the Times Editorial Board could fairly ask The Stranger's Editorial Board about their equally questionable endorsement of presumed-Republican (albeit unqualified) Hugh Foskett to be the 43rd District's legislative representative.

Picking it apart requires taking it seriously, if only for a moment, and that temporarily lends the endorsement a legitimacy it doesn’t deserve.

Or is it just another sniveling chapter in the ongoing anti-Pedersen saga, "The Unbearable Irrelevance of The Stranger Snit"?

Posted by DREW PEARSON | October 22, 2006 1:10 PM

Now you've got me wonderin', Dan...

Who Did Tim Keck veto? Was the Ed Board looking to endorse nader in '00, only to have Keck veto it? I'd really like to know.

Posted by Will | October 22, 2006 1:33 PM






Posted by Jack | October 22, 2006 1:35 PM

I wish he had vetoed our Nadar endorsement, which was in 1996—and it still gives me screaming nightmares to think of it. I begged Tim to veto it.

We do, however, do joke endorsements—see Steve Pool, '96, '98, 2000, and 2002. Foskett falls under that category.

Kit and caboddle? There was a drag queen in Seattle knowns as Kitten Caboodle.

Posted by Dan Savage | October 22, 2006 2:02 PM

I imagine you were referring to Nader in 2000 not '96. There were one or two folks on the edit board at the time who were for Nader, but the Gore contingent was much bigger and easily carried the day w/out Keck in 2000.

You are wrong about Savage dictating our endorsements. Certainly, like any editor-in-chief, he has a powerful and persausive voice, (not only cuz he's smart, but cuz he's the boss), but you're way off base.
Just to cite some recent examples: He's against Sims's Transit Now this year (we endorsed it); He's against Nickels's transpo initiative this year (we endorsed it); believe it or not, he was against our Pure endorsement in the primary and for Pedersen, but when he was outvoted, he was a good sport and embraced it fully. Last year, he was against our no-endorse on the smoking ban (we came out against it because of the 25' rule...and Savage is such an anti-smoking zealot that he wanted us to overlook that problem); and in 2004 he was dead set against our Conlin endorsement.
Those are just a few examples off the top off my head without even going back and looking at the endorsements.

Finally, I wasn't at the paper in '97, but I believe that's when Keck exercised his veto. The ed board was set to endorse Charlie Chong for mayor, and I think Keck vetoed that.

I can tell you this: Keck is great about being hands off and trusting the voting members. He has never vetoed any of our picks since I've been on the ed board—which means 8 elections and 16 sets of picks when you include the primary endorsements.

Posted by Josh Feit | October 22, 2006 2:21 PM

The print dailies aren't really relevant journalists anymore. Sadly, many read the papers and do take it to heart, though that number has declined bit by bit over the years as people start getting their news from more sources.

Also, damn, there's a lot of crap on the ballot this election. With my absentee ballot, I got a notice informing me that, due to the size of the ballot, I would need an additional 63 cents of postage to mail it. Insert conspiracy theories as you wish, but since moving here, I don't remember seeing so many initiatives, referendums and voter resolutions on a single ballot. Did someone make it a point to front load this ballot with so many voter questions? Voters may just tire halfway through and smart marking choices whimsically or even randomly.

Also, yeah, looking forward to a Genius Awards writeup. Also, the start time on the ads was 9 pm, but when I arrived last night at 9 pm, the awards ceremony had already concluded, because festivities started at 7, as originally planned. Why the switch?

Posted by Gomez | October 22, 2006 2:59 PM

It is pretty likely that there will be only one major daily newspaper in Seattle after the Joint Operating Agreement terminates. It would be a shame if the remaining paper was the Times. If I didn't already subscribe to the P-I I wold be switching now. I encourage everyone else to do the same.

Posted by wayne | October 22, 2006 3:14 PM

Well at least they didn't endorse Andrew Goddamn Sullivan like someone did in their collumn this week.

Posted by Carl Ballard | October 22, 2006 3:19 PM

I use the Stranger endorsement guide for all the lower ticket races I don't know much (if anything) about.

Posted by Aexia | October 22, 2006 3:20 PM

caps lock off, Jack, caps lock off

Posted by Giffy | October 22, 2006 3:29 PM


That should be $0.63 total, not in addition to the regular postage - that's what the post office charged me when I mailed mine a couple of days ago.

If you read the ads carefully, the 9:00 p.m. public event has always been billed as "The Genius Party", not the "Genius Awards Ceremony". The actual awards presentation has always been done, so far as I can recall, at the invite-only VIP reception that precedes the party.

Posted by COMTE | October 22, 2006 4:09 PM

The advertising I had seen leading up to the event gave no specifics other than 21+, 9 pm. I had noted originally a 7 pm start time, so when I saw ads showing 9 pm, I figured the time had been changed. It happens. If there was a distinction between the ceremony and the party, that should have been made clear.

Whatever. The after party looked like a lot of fun.

Posted by Gomez | October 22, 2006 4:29 PM

Dan, The Tim Keck comparison isn't fair - Keck had to start the company and grow it. Blethen just inherited it from his daddy, who got it from his daddy, who got it from - well, you get the picture. Every generation has been more messed up - and it wasn't a pretty gene pool to begin with.

I would call Frank Blethen the Paris Hilton of Seattle, but he's too old and fat for that title. Besides, Paris has actually accomplished things in her life, apart from her family. Would you really want to see a Frank Blethen porno film?

Posted by The Times are a changing | October 22, 2006 4:33 PM

Today, the Seattle Times endorsed 'Mike!' McGavick for U.S. Senate. I was not terribly surprised by this, of course. This time they actually had the decency to mention the paper's support of the Estate Tax in their endorsement, saying that this was not the only reason for reaching this decision. They had ample praise for Cantwell's work in the Senate in fact, and mentioned that they had supported her in 2000 when she ran against incumbent (and former McGavick boss) Senator Slade Gorton.

In their endorsement of Congressman Dave Reichert last week, the Seattle Times implied that a challenger for public office must meet a high standard to make the case for voting against an incumbent. It is curious to me that, for the Seattle Times, Cantwell's impressive, if low-key, record in the Senate doesn't rise to the level of Reichert's mediocre tenure in the House. As I said before, they at least mentioned the Estate Tax this time.

What was interesting about the Seattle Times editorial page today is that it included a report by former Seattle City Councilman and KING 5 news anchor Jim Compton about the lack of a "civil society" in post-revolutionary Romania. He talked about the bribery, corruption, vote manipulation, anti-Semitic political parties and the politician's complete disregard for laws and the welfare of the population. As I was reading this bleak account, I could not help but be reminded of the actions of the current Republican House leadership and the White House policy makers. I thought of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff's money laundering machine, Congressman James Sensenbrenner's racist anti-immigration bill, Republican voter-suppression efforts all across the country, the president's successful push to remove the constitutional protections of habeus corpus and legally sanctify torture, and the unmitigated disasters of Iraq and Hurricane Katrina. These are the policies that McGavick and Reichert have, and will undoubtably continue to support in the other Washington.

Is this the rancid political culture the Seattle Times wants to see grow and prosper in this country? I think they need to read Compton's piece one more time and think over their endorsements.

Posted by Jim Demetre | October 22, 2006 4:51 PM

Oh, Dan, are we back on the high horse again?

Aren't you the guy who licked a door knob?

Posted by Pot calling for black | October 22, 2006 5:27 PM

Yes, I did. For personal gain, just like Frank and the estate tax.

Posted by Dan Savage | October 22, 2006 6:25 PM

So, Dan, Keck DID MEDDLE by vetoing the election board's choice--- and nobody quit? You are contradicting yourself. Bottom line, you're a toady.

Posted by Dan is in a funhouse | October 22, 2006 8:41 PM

what's with all the hostility here?

Posted by funhouse villian | October 22, 2006 9:10 PM

They did resign, but Tim made them un-quit. That's how powerful he was, EVEN IN 1997!

Posted by SEAN NELSON, EMERITUS | October 22, 2006 9:16 PM

Oh, calm down, people. Geez.

Posted by Gomez | October 22, 2006 9:57 PM

Interesting post, coming from the newspaper that endorsed Stephanie Pure because she was a close friend of Josh and Erica. I am glad to hear Dan wasn't a part of that nonsense.

Here's a suggestion for future endorsement issues: report how each member of the committee voted. I'd rather hear Dan and Eli's endorsements than that of the committee as a whole, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

P.S. Charlie Chong? Ralph Nader? Seems like the functional IQ of your committee is that of a barely ecucable retardate. Tim should veto more often.

Posted by Sean | October 22, 2006 11:36 PM

P-I endorsed Burner.

Times endorses Mike!

So, how same are the P-I and Times again? They have the same owner still, right?

Is this just a puppetmaster pretending to have one puppet fight the other, and make the audience all hot, bothered, and excited?

When is it ok to accuse the P-I to be a clone of the Times, and when is it not?

Mainly, who will read the Times who was a Cantwell supporter and go "Hmm, you know maybe I was wrong after all." The Times nor the P-i are hardly papers that have any sway power, or any passion for that matter.

Posted by Matthew Fisher Wilder | October 23, 2006 1:03 AM

The Times and the P-I are NOT owned by the same people. They have a "joint operating agreement" where they share accounting and administrative functions.

Posted by two paper town | October 23, 2006 7:59 AM

Keck vetoed Chong in the ’97 primary. Keck wanted Schell, so they compromised on Nickels.

Posted by Deep Throat | October 23, 2006 12:11 PM

I appreciate the nature of these discussions, but how was the Award Ceremony?? I disagree go to

Posted by Warsaw apartments | October 26, 2006 3:57 AM

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