Sometimes, the Seattle Times makes it too easy to criticize their endorsements. Really, Frank, what were you thinking??
- Jim Kastama for Secretary of State?
- Steve Hobbs in WA-01? They even suggest writing him in for the special election in the old WA-01.
- Dual endorsements for the US Senate (Maria and Whatshisface from Spokane), WA-02 (Larsen and some random Republican), and WA-06 (Derek Kilmer and the richie-rich 1%er from Weyerhauser)?
Even when they get one right, they often get something wrong. Consider state Supreme Court Position 8. In that particular race, with only two candidates on the ballot, the primary will decide who earns a full term on the Court. Like everyone who actually examines the candidates, the Times is endorsing the appointed incumbent, Justice Steven Gonzalez. His opponent is a little-known “strict construction” type, whose sole attribute is that he bears an Anglo-Saxon name. It’s well known, of course, that odd results may ensue in low-turnout, low-information elections. It’s also well known that in such races higher ballot position is a distinct advantage (the other guy’s name is above Justice Gonzalez’s on the ballot), and unfortunately it’s also known that in a state with Washington’s demographics a non-“ethnic” surname is a big edge in low-turnout, low-information races.
That’s why I find it rather disingenuous of the Seattle Times to have chosen the photo of Justice Gonzalez displayed here when they published their endorsement on July 5. Mr. Gonzalez certainly looks, well, ethnic in this image.
But that’s not at all the way he looks these days. For that matter, it’s not what he has looked like for quite a long time. For example, video of the news story broadcast on KING-5 when Justice Gonzalez was sworn in is shown below. That video was shot on January 9, 2012, fully six months ago:
As further evidence, I offer several additional recent photos. The first one shown below is from his page on the Supreme Court website. Presumably, it’s his current official portrait. Also displayed here is a shot from his campaign’s photo page. Now, I could have chosen one of the three pictures showing him with a beard, but I instead picked one of the 48 clean-shaven photos. Incidentally, all of the with-beard photos on the campaign site show his facial hair in a much softer, much gentler, less “bandito” light than the one attached to the Times endorsement. (Yes, that’s Edgar Martinez with him.)
How difficult would it have been for the Seattle Times to locate a current photograph of the candidate they were endorsing for a vital spot on the state’s highest court? Is it presumptuous of me to ask whether anyone of the editorial board of the Times noticed that Justice Gonzalez was clean-shaven when they interviewed him in preparation for making their endorsement decision? Yet they still chose to accompany their endorsement of the Justice with a picture that could easily play into the worst preconceptions held by voters in the low-turnout, low-information primary election for Supreme Court Position 8.