Mr. Frank Blethen
Publisher & CEO
The Seattle Times
1120 John Street
Seattle, WA 98109
I don’t know if you read the blogs (you know, those upstart, news-oriented websites that are forcing the newspaper industry to adapt or die,) but if you’ve read mine then you know that I’ve been rather critical of the way you use your power as the publisher of the state’s largest newspaper to selfishly shill for repealing an estate tax levied on only a couple hundred of Washington’s wealthiest families each year. In fact, if you had asked me this morning, I probably would have said that when it comes to the issue of estate tax repeal, you are the most ethically challenged newspaper publisher in the state.
But I’m writing to apologize, and admit that I was wrong, for apparently, that honor should go to Scott Campbell, Publisher of The Columbian.
While it is true that you continue to use your op/ed pages as a platform for spreading blatantly dishonest — and at times, laughable — misinformation about our state and federal estate tax (um, like the time you unfavorably compared Washington’s tax structure to that of Sweden… oh man, that was a knee-slapper,) at least you have stood by your pledge not to make any financial contributions to Initiative 920, a potential conflict of interest that even you had the sense to avoid.
But the same cannot be said for Mr. Campbell, whose newspaper, according to the latest PDC reports, has donated $5,000 to the Yes on 920 campaign.
It makes one wonder how readers could ever possibly believe anything about the estate tax published in a paper that has contributed money towards its repeal, and I congratulate you for refusing to diminish the credibility of The Seattle Times in such a coarse and inappropriate manner. Though, I suppose to be fair to Mr. Campbell and The Columbian, they really didn’t have all that much credibility to diminish in the first place, so what the hey?
So again, I apologize if I cast aspersions; you are most definitely not the most ethically challenged newspaper publisher in the state, and I sincerely regret having at any time implied otherwise. If you are ever looking for a job, and require written references, I would be happy to oblige.
PS: Those fundraising ads I-920’s Dennis Falk is running in The Seattle Times — the ads every political consultant I ask insist are a total waste of money — he’s paying full price for those, right?
CC: Scott Campbell, Publisher, The Columbian
Hey… it turns out Frank may not even be the second least ethical newspaper publisher in the state of Washington. Pioneer Newspapers, publisher of 20 newspapers in the Northwest, has already contributed at least $25,000 to the Yes on 920 campaign. So much for an objective, fair and balanced press.