When Tim Eyman files an new initiative, his buddy in the AG’s office, Jim Pharris, pretty much lets Tim write the ballot title himself, and that’s how the initiative is generally described in the press, because you know, it’s printed on the ballot that way, and you wouldn’t want to confuse voters. But when hundreds of volunteers work for months to get a grassroots initiative on the ballot, the ballot title suddenly isn’t good enough for the style-setters at the AP.
The AP has decided to refer to I-1000 as the “assisted suicide” measure, which not only is the term everybody knows polls the absolute worst, it is also completely inaccurate. And confusing, because there is no “assisted suicide” measure on the ballot. I-1000, which backers refer to as the “Death with Dignity” initiative, will appear on the ballot with the following title:
Initiative Measure No. 1000 concerns allowing certain terminally ill competent adults to obtain lethal prescriptions.
This measure would permit terminally ill, competent, adult Washington residents, who are medically predicted to have six months or less to live, to request and self-administer lethal medication prescribed by a physician. Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]
Opponents wanted the ballot title to contain the phrase “assisted suicide” but a judge determined the wording would be intentionally pejorative, which I can only assume is why the AP decided to use it. And since the AP sets the standard for most other news organizations in the state, that’s how this measure is going to be described to voters. It’s like handing the measure’s opponents a million bucks in free advertising, and the folks at the AP know it.
Impartial, fair and balanced objectivity… my ass.