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.