Did Blethen dictate Hutchison endorsement?

I was going to post this as an update to my previous post, but the point is too important to leave as an afterthought.

I’m hearing that the Seattle Times endorsement of Susan Hutchison came directly from publisher Frank Blethen himself. This is his right, of course, not because he is particularly wise or well-informed or civic minded, but because he owns the newspaper. He signs their paychecks, so he gets to tell the editorial board to endorse whoever he wants, no matter how unqualified she is, or how out of step with the values of a majority of King County voters.

But… if in fact this blatantly irresponsible endorsement came at Blethen’s directive, then the Times arguably has an ethical obligation to reveal it as such.

One of the monotonously familiar knocks against bloggers like me is that we are just partisan shills, but if and when we are, at least we’re honest about it. So when an editorial board like the Times’ pretends that its endorsements come through candidate interviews and informed discourse, when in fact they merely reflect the anti-labor, anti-tax, pro-Republican views of their boss… well then… the entire endorsement process becomes just as much a lie as those of Hutchison which their paper has chosen to cover up.

Old media journalists love to attack the blogosphere for its supposedly destructive and uncivil anonymity, but it should be duly noted that I proudly hang my name on every stance I take and every word I write, rather than cowardly hiding behind the anonymity of an unsigned editorial. And if Frank Blethen has any sense of civic obligation, he will do the same.

Comments

  1. 1

    Brenda Helverson spews:

    In case someone from The Seattle Times reads your post, you really should provide a definition of the phrase “ethical obligation.” Otherwise, nobody from the Seattle Times will have any concept of what you are talking about.

    Here are some questions for any Times employees who would care to enlighten us:

    (1) How does Frank Blethen’s ass taste? Does he bathe regularly or is he as slimy as he appears?

    (2) How in the hell do you people sleep at night?

    Just curious.

  2. 2

    Jacob spews:

    Goldy, please explain who your source is…that would also help explain who is driving your craziness.

  3. 3

    Chris Stefan spews:

    @2
    You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out this endorsement was at the behest of the paper’s owner. See the No on 1033, Holmes, or Rosencrantz endorsements to get a good idea of why the editorial board might have gone with Constantine had they been left to their own devices. For that matter go back to their primary endorsements in this race.

  4. 4

    ArtFart spews:

    @1 Gimme a fucking break! If you want to be a full-time journalist and earn enough to support a family, it just happens that Fairview Fanny’s the only game in town.

    In endorsing Hutchison or any candidate, the paper isn’t reporting anyway–it’s editorializing. What goes on the op-ed page in most papers is influenced by the opinions of the boss.

    If the news staff had been ordered under penalty of dismissal to report last year that the landslides in southwest Washington were totally acts of God and that Doug Sutherland was eligible for sainthood, that might have been another story–but that didn’t happen. It’s not what’s happening now, either.

    “At-will” employment is the order of the day (although maybe it shouldn’t be) and if Blethen decided his paper should endorse Hutchison, that’s his perogative. He’s not demanding that his employees vote for her, nor that his reporters write blatant lies about her to adorn the front page.

    How do they sleep at night? With full bellies.

  5. 5

    FakeDavidGoldsteinHA spews:

    I should be running The Times, both news and editorial. Those Blethens, especially Frank, are horses’ asses. The injustice of it all.

  6. 7

    Chris Stefan spews:

    @6
    And Hutchison isn’t qualified to run even King County Animal control much less the entire County Government.

  7. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Given that three-fourths of the county budget goes to law enforcement, Blethen’s position necessarily is that we should lay off some judges, sheriff’s deputies, and jail guards; and reduce the pay of those who remain.

    I wonder how many lawyers are willing to give up their practices and serve as a judge for, say, $60,000 a year; or how many people would serve as a sheriff’s deputy for, say, $35,000 a year; or how many people are willing to work as a jail guard for, say, $10 an hour — even in these tough times.

    My guess is none.

    The premise of Blethen’s editorial is that we should make our community more dangerous by cutting spending on law enforcement. Not that we must, but that we should.

    Hutchison should feel embarrassed by this endorsement. Notwithstanding my philosophical and policy differences with her, she’s a better person than she’s portrayed in this thickheaded, hamfisted editorial.

    The county, as Frank points out, has a $56 million revenue problem. No matter who is elected, there will have to be cuts. So, the choice facing voters is not “to cut, or not cut.” It’s not enough about who should manage those cuts, because most county spending isn’t discretionary, and there’s not much real choice about where the cuts will have to fall.

    No, this editorial is nothing more than a mean-spirited rant by a disgruntled old man with a grudge against his own employees.

    Like I said, Hutchison should be embarrassed by having her name associated with this whine, and if she’s wise she’ll distance herself from it as far and fast as she can.

  8. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 “2) How in the hell do you people sleep at night?”

    Well, that part is easy to figure out. It’s the choice between a paycheck for $75,000 or an unemployment check for $300.

    I believe the phrase “media whores” has been used in other contexts. It seems apropos here.

  9. 10

    spews:

    @7

    You obviously don’t understand that the founding fathers wanted exactly this. For regular citizens to serve in public life for a while, then return to private life.

  10. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 Journalists don’t have to reveal their sources, and bloggers shouldn’t have to either.

  11. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @4 “He’s not demanding that … his reporters write blatant lies about her to adorn the front page.”

    That’s what comes next, as we saw last year in the Burner-Reichert matchup.

  12. 13

    k spews:

    Troll @ 10- the Founding Fathers also believed in representative democracy, not direct popular elections for laws. I trust you oppose Tim Eyeman’s hijacking of the Founding Fathers’ intent.

  13. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 “He’s part of the problem.”

    No, you and your ilk are the problem. The county would do fine if it had no Republicans in it. We would pay taxes to support the public services we want and there wouldn’t be this incessant whining. Taxes could be zero and you babies would still whine. For you, it’s a sport, similar to throwing your formula bottle against the wall.

  14. 15

    Puddybud Remembers spews:

    Wascally Wabbit…

    No, you and your ilk are the problem.

    Weally? Your ilk or kind have been in charge for a while. Tax to the Max Sims did KC a great “service”. Time for a new view on things.

  15. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @15 “Wascally Wabbit…”

    If you think I’m merely “wascally” you’ve gravely underestimated my function here.

    Notwithstanding my cute, fluffy, huggable physical appearance, my mission is to stomp your stupid ideology into the mud, where it belongs.

    And discredit you and your stupid fellow travelers in the process.

  16. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @15 Good luck in a county that votes 60% Democratic. You’re gonna need it! From your perspective, at least the GOP Party candidate is smart enough to figure out her only chance to win is by hiding from voters what she really is. You also benefit from the stupidity of voters who thought “nonpartisan” candidates really are nonpartisan. You should be grateful for human fallibity.

  17. 19

    Puddybud Remembers spews:

    Feral Dumb Bunny,

    If you think people don’t already know Susan is anti-Dow then your mind is a terrible thing…

  18. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @19 For the record, I have no regrets about the taxes Sims made you pay.

    HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR

  19. 22

    spews:

    So let me get this straight, Goldy believes that all editorial boards on newspapers should not editorialize or give ensorsements, he believe they should merely parrot what opinion polls say?

  20. 24

    Joe 4 Hutch NOT I-1033 spews:

    In my area, the publisher does dictate editorials. It’s life as we know it.

    So what?

    Susan Hutchinson is not Satan, nor does she lie about flood control.

  21. 25

    Puddybud Remembers spews:

    Feral Dumb Bunny,

    @19 For the record, I have no regrets about the taxes Sims made you pay.

    Puddy don’t pay Sims taxes unless Puddy ventures into ex-Sims land.

  22. 26

    sarah68 spews:

    @14: That’s the funniest post I’ve read today. Rabbit, you are a good writer, as well as possessing a good brain.

  23. 27

    Bruce spews:

    I cancelled my Times subscription earlier this year, not for ideological reasons but because I could read everything worthwhile online in about a minute each day. But now, thanks to this endorsement, I can stop feeling guilty.

  24. 29

    ArtFart spews:

    We’ve been trying to cut out Times subscription back to Friday/Saturday/Sunday only. They won’t let us! They keep calling us up every so often, asking us if we want to pay for the other four days, and when we tell them no, they say, “Well, we’ll just keep delivering all seven days for…uh, a few more weeks at no additional charge!” I’m rather surprised Bruce isn’t getting free delivery now. Of course, they might be just surreptitiously tossing it in his recycle bin when he’s not looking so they can keep him in their circulation numbers.

  25. 30

    Joe 4 Hutch NOT I-1033 spews:

    ArtFart, perhaps the Seattle Times could have centrefold conservative babes and see what happens… :-)

  26. 31

    proud leftist spews:

    I love newspapers. They get delivered to your home. There is a predictability about them that counts, whether it be the predictability of landing on your doorstep, or having the same comic strips, or having the same sportswriters. I have always loved flipping through a newspaper and finding some headline that led me through a subject I didn’t even know existed. The Seattle Times is dead. There is no reason to continue its horseshit. Canceling subscriptions doesn’t count for much, but at least I get to cancel two. At work, we will now be getting the New York Times. At home, we’ll be getting . . . I’m not sure what it’s called, but we will no longer be getting the Seattle Times. Frank Blethen, with all due respect, go fuck yourself.

  27. 32

    SJ trollpatrol spews:

    @29 we only get the sunday and I am canceling that. If it does show up, I will take them to small claims court for harassment and littering.

  28. 33

    SJ trollpatrol spews:

    On Linguistic Analysis

    I have NO expertise BUT .. the writing of this endorsement is rather like the signed pieces from Blethen Jr. The grammar is OK but stule is poor and there is a great deal of illogic.

    I wonder if a professional linguist or a professional journalist could look at this and say at least who was likely not to have written it?

  29. 34

    Rujax! spews:

    25. Puddybud Remembers spews:

    Feral Dumb Bunny,

    @19 For the record, I have no regrets about the taxes Sims made you pay.

    Puddy don’t pay Sims taxes unless Puddy ventures into ex-Sims land.

    10/16/2009 at 9:06 pm

    This dumbass shitheel claims to live in Pierce County.

    No wonder he sounds like an in-bred cretin.

  30. 35

    SJ trollpatrol spews:

    Editorial Essay Assignment
    Ryan Blethen, Publishing 101
    rblethen@seattletimes.com

    KING County is a government in trouble. It

    what is the antecedantg for “it?”

    is being swamped by the recession, a string of unsustainable budgets, a faulty dam and a larger outbreak of H1N1 flu.
    What is “larger” about H1N1???

    SLOPPY USE OF COMPARATIVES ADJECTIVE

    This election must be about change.

    HACKNEYED

    Susan Hutchison is a political outsider and brings a host of fresh ideas of how to tackle the budget.

    Odd … a host sounds more like an invading horde than a well panned collection of ideas? BAD METAPHOR

    Because of this potential,
    she earns the endorsement of The Seattle Times.

    What “potential? How is a “host” a potential? UNCLEAR ANTECEDENT WADR, I have yet to hear or read any ideas fresh or stale from her. If a decent editor had read this, I assume she would have required at least one or two examples. Perhaps this is it:

    Hutchison has been focused on helping South King County residents before and after flooding.

    What does “focussed”,mean??? I am focused on world peace! MUDDY THINKING, TO COIN A FLOOD PUN!

    …Dow Constantine, … is an insider who has had his chance to effect change at the county. He has not done so and it seems unlikely he would be able to as the executive.

    How does the conclusion follow the premise

    ?

    Does this mean an inexperienced blow headed but fired anchor woman has more expertise to effect change or that she might screw things up in some way that would lead to change?

    ILLOGIC

    The county must act more like private-sector businesses if it is going to close the $56 million gap in the general fund in 2010 ……

    plural referring to a singular?

    Does the author mean the county should be able to go into debt? Or be bailed out like AIG? Can a County go into debt and then welsh on tis debt in Ch. 11?

    awkward metaphor or ILLOGIC or LACK OF FACTS?

    (she says) the number of people working at the county, union and nonunion, will be reduced. It also means union contracts and health benefits are going to need to be revisited. Not when they expire, but now … Constantine is heavily backed by the unions and has said he can’t open their contracts and will revisit concessions only once they expire..

    What about contracts does Mr. Blethen not understand? Or is he unaware that the major expenses of the County are fixed by law? IGNORANCE OF FACTS

    Hutchison, a former union member, has said she is not afraid to work with the unions and seek to open their contracts — now.

    The key words here are “NOT AFRAID” and “SEEK.” Exactly what is Ms. H “not afraid of?” Horses heads in her bed? Why would a union eschewed by her seek her help? ILLOGIC

    As an outsider, Hutchison has the latitude to bring in a smaller and fresh staff to the executive’s office.

    How does tis follow? Why would an inexperienced administrator need a smaller staff than an experienced one needs? DOES NOT FOLLOW

    She suggests the county use zero-base budgeting. It’s a good idea that will force all departments to start from scratch and focus on the most important needs of county residents.

    Does anyone believe she knows what zero based budgetring means? Has Susan ever been responsible for a budget larger than her monthly food bill? Also how will a smaller staff “start from scratch?” CONFUSING WITH A FALSE PREMISE.

    The Green River Valley is likely to flood this year because of damage done to the Howard Hanson Dam last winter.

    So to solve an urgent problem we need less staff and an inexperienced CEO?

    A Hutchison administration would be smart to work closely with Constantine, who will remain on the council after the election.

    CONTRADICTS EVERY OTHER PREMISE MADE ABOVE

    Constantine can provide a steady hand and has shown …initiative, …Constantine is quiet, wonky and obviously cares deeply about King County. He is an asset to the next executive.

    MORE CONTRADICTION

    Grade D

    But I am just a biologist so maybe the Times journalists write more good?

  31. 36

    Ben Stein's Money spews:

    Republicans don’t worry about the quality of their ‘candidates’, as it will not be they that make the decisions or run the show. Oh, no! It will be the competent insiders who tell the frontperson what to do — like Bush and Cheney.

    Typical Republican situation — the blind leading the blind — guided by the naive precepts of Milton Friedman.

  32. 37

    Ben Stein's Money spews:

    re 33: “Zero-based budgeting is a technique of planning and decision-making which reverses the working process of traditional budgeting. In traditional incremental budgeting, departmental managers justify only increases over the previous year budget and what has been already spent is automatically sanctioned. No reference is made to the previous level of expenditure. By contrast, in zero-based budgeting, every department function is reviewed comprehensively and all expenditures must be approved, rather than only increases.[1] Zero-based budgeting requires the budget request be justified in complete detail by each division manager starting from the zero-base. The zero-base is indifferent to whether the total budget is increasing or decreasing.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-based_budgeting

    Took about 20 seconds to sovle that mystery.

  33. 38

    Ben Stein's Money spews:

    re 15: Sometimes you drop the linguistic blackface and the real person emerges — and it is most definitely not the Uncle Remus spewing dialect of ‘Puddy’.

    You are not fooling anyone anymore, Marvin.

  34. 39

    Thor spews:

    Frank Blethen has done this in the past. He sided with Kemper Freeman and the road brigade on Sound Transit too.

    Frank Blethen has been in charge of the decline of a once great newspaper. Part of the decline has been people running from him and his views.

    You get the sense from reading the Times editorial page these days that the place is completely depressed – more so than most anyplace else in the region. I think people running newspapers are simply out of sync withe reality these days.

  35. 40

    Puddybud Remembers spews:

    rujax farts again,

    This dumbass shitheel claims to live in Pierce County. No wonder he sounds like an in-bred cretin.

    What’s wrong with living in Pierce County fool? Calling those who live in Pierce County in-bred cretins? Some HA Libtardos live there and visit this blog posting their continual bile. By your reckoning they are in-bred cretins. Way to go lib-tar-do! Once again you are as dense as spent uranium, stuck on stupid. Still the HA cinder block with no memory. They placed Puddy on the Peninsula too you dumb ASS.

    Puddy told everyone where he’s from on this blog. Maybe the dumb cinder block rujax should discuss this with his cousin, the dumb brick ylb arschloch. Let’s see if the dumb brick ylb arschloch will tell the dumb cinder block rujax where Puddy lives. After all, ylb arschloch has his tctmgr database and the dumb brick could refresh the dumb cinder block’s memory. Butt, the dumb brick only uses his database for useless failing chronological attacks. HEHEHEHEHEHE

    So ylb arschloch… the choice is yours… Help your stupid cousin rujax out. Help him look intelligent for once.

  36. 41

    Puddybud Remembers spews:

    In Puddy’s Jeff Probst voice… “The Thirty-Sixth member of headless’ mind numbing sock puppets – – – Ben Stein’s Money”.

    Zero based budgeting, like your call of zero sum game. …the oil industry is a zero sum game ( like checkers )
    Comment by headless lucy— 4/9/06@ 2:56 pm

  37. 46

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @24, Part 2: “nor does she lie about flood control”

    She does, however, lie about everything else.

  38. 49

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @29 I’ve never subscribed to the Times, and that was the problem, because their telemarketers believed I ought to and were determined to keep harassing me until I did. I had to sic the attorney general’s consumer protection lawyers on them to get them to stop calling.

    I call this “aggressive marketing.” It’s objective is to force people to buy products they don’t want by pestering them until they cave in. It works on the same principle as Mafia extortion rackets. It oughta be a felony, and these companies belong in the slammer!

    Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a slimy company like the Seattle Times is a perpetrator. Comcast is another. I get 3 or 4 pieces of their junk mail every week. This has gone on for years. Any reasonable marketer would give up after a prospective “customer” has ignored 1,000+ mailers, but not these guys! Now they’re sending salesmen to my burrow entrance. Frankly, I think it should be legal to shoot ‘em, or at least spray ‘em with a mole repellent.

    Personally, I think the best thing to do is read Seattle Times online for free. That’s what I do! I figure if I read it for free long enough, it’ll eventually go out of business. The more you read it free, the more imminent its financial collapse! It’s a chore wading through it every day, but I’ll do almost anything to rid this community of that idiotic Republican rag.

  39. 50

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @31 My first job was delivering newspapers when I was a little bunny. We had a sensible newspaper in my town. But even back then wingnuts were immature jerks. One of my customers canceled her subscription because the paper I delivered endorsed JFK. This was just before the 1960 election and you remember who won that one, right? That’s okay as far as it goes, this is a free country (except in the Seattle Times delivery area) and no one has to buy a newspaper subscription if they don’t want it (unless you live in the Seattle Times delivery area). I could live without the 1/2 cent a day I made off her. After all, I had 120 other customers so my family wasn’t going to starve. But it wasn’t enough for her to just cancel the damn subscription and let it go at that. No, she had to get her grievance with the paper’s editorial board off her chest, which was quite flat (newspaper carriers are at the age where boys are beginning to notice such things), and not being able to collar the editorial board, she took it out on me. So I had to listen to this windy speech about the paper’s editorial policies. Now that’s fucking Republicans for you — if they can’t get at the editor, they take it out on the kid who delivers the paper, as if the paper bunny has any say about running the paper! Remember this story the next time you see a Republican kick a cat. If you wonder what the cat did, the cat probably didn’t do anything. The Republican probably is mad at some human, and is taking it out on the cat. Republicans probably pull feathers off parrots, too. That’s just how they are. I’ve always believed that bitch was mad because she didn’t have a chest worth staring at, and picked on the paper bunny just for the hell of it, because she didn’t have a man around to take it out on. After that experience, I swore I would never marry a Republican, because they’re too hard to live with.

  40. 51

    YLB spews:

    44 – Every attack from a right wing hater is a honor. It tells me my words are making a mark.

    If your fantasy is to bark orders and have liberal-leaning folks jump to them please be informed your authoritarian impulse will always be met with the same response:

    IG-NORED!

    Thanks for playing… Thanks for educating all the lurkers out there on the nature of right wing ignorance and hate.

  41. 52

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @44 “apparently you dont work or even look for a damn job either”

    Why should he? Why do Republicans, who don’t work, want everyone else to work? We know the answer to that — so they don’t have to!

    Here’s what I think: Take your job and shove it!

    http://tinyurl.com/d92efm

    I don’t have to work. I make money the Republican way, from capital gains and dividends. And pay Republican taxes, meaning next to nothing.

    Why should I work or pay taxes when you guys don’t? Why should Republicans have a monopoly on living like Republicans? Republicans want a monopoly on every fucking thing. To hell with that, I’m gonna live like a Republican too. You won’t catch me with a job or doing any work.

  42. 53

    Puddybud Remembers spews:

    42. YLB spews: Good morning and go to hell.

    Why? You and your kind populate the place. Wouldn’t wanna be near you dude!