2008 When Will the Seattle Times Stop Protecting Dave Reichert?
posted by October 24 at 9:55 AMon
A story in this morning’s Seattle Times includes new information about Republican Rep. Dave Reichert’s own exaggerations about his college degree. Seven different web sites, including Reichert’s own Congressional web page, claim Reichert graduated college with a B.A.; in fact, he graduated from a small religious junior college in Portland with a two-year associate’s degree.
So it looks like the Times is finally taking a look, however brief, at Reichert’s resume exaggerations. That’s nice of them. But it doesn’t erase the fact that the reporter, Emily Heffter, seriously fucked up in her initial story, in which she reported, erroneously, that Reichert’s opponent Darcy Burner had falsely claimed to have an economics degree from Harvard. In fact, she has a computer science degree with a concentration in economics. That’s a double major; another way to describe it would be a “computer science and economics degree.” The Times splashed the story, to which it dedicated a lavish 700 words, on its front page, under the headline “Burner Falsely Claims Economics Degree.”
Contrast that to the 400-word, web-only follow-up about Reichert, initially headlined, “Burner’s Campaign Says Web Sites Misrepresent Reichert’s Resume” but later changed to “Web Sites Misrepresent Reichert’s Resume.” In it, Heffter takes every step possible to exonerate Reichert, noting almost apologetically, “None of the Web sites with the wrong information are affiliated with Reichert’s campaign. His congressional office was taking steps to correct the errors this afternoon.”
On the Politics NW blog—the Times’ lackluster replacement for David Postman’s Postman on Politics—Heffter was even more explicitly defensive, writing, “I did find one Web site that misstates his degree. This congressional directory lists that he has a B.A. He doesn’t.” She added, “The Congressional Directory is a government site managed by the Office of History and Preservation … None of the [other five] web sites [with false claims about Reichert’s degree] are affiliated with the Reichert campaign.”
So does Heffter really believe that Reichert has no power to change his own Congressional web page (on which the other five web unaffiliated web sites based their information)? Or is she just unwilling to admit she made a huge mistake?