You know, there is a grain of truth to the popular myth of the so-called “Liberal Press,” in that despite the right-wing politics of their corporate bosses, rank and file reporters tend to lean a little more to the left. But the best example of journalists’ personal political bias comes not from a liberal skew in their coverage, but ironically, from the higher standards to which they seem to hold liberal and Democratic politicians.
A great example of this is the cynical, negative coverage of the Cantwell-Wilson rapprochement coming from our city’s urban daily, the Seattle P-I — a newspaper most honest observers would admit to being more liberal than it’s competition, the Seattle
Death-Tax Repeal Times.
Yesterday columnist Robert Jamieson focused his cynicism on the inside politics behind Mark Wilson’s decision to campaign full time for Cantwell, and today an unsigned editorial solemnly urges the Cantwell campaign to immediately reveal how much Wilson will be paid for his efforts… you know, instead of waiting until the Sept. 7 reporting deadline.
Um… who cares?
First of all, I find this extreme curiosity over how progressives earn their money to be pointless and insulting. In interviews, one of the first questions posed to me is always “How much money do you make off your blog?” The answer: one or two bucks a day in advertising, plus the occasional beer money donation. (I make more in three hours on KIRO than I make from my blog in three months.) But if some union or progressive organization put me on the payroll so that I could continue doing what I do and still pay my bills… so what?
Both Jamieson and the P-I’s anonymous editorialist collect checks from the mighty Hearst Corporation, and nobody accuses them of being paid off… and the media in general has no ethical qualms about Mike McGavick’s mult-million dollar golden parachute so long as it is technically legal. So why the different standard for people like me and Wilson? Few people are wealthy enough or foolish enough (like me) to devote so much time to politics without getting compensated, so what’s the big deal if the Cantwell campaign pays Wilson to campaign for her full time?
Second of all… how can the dailies possibly justify all their cynical attention to inside political bullshit like this, when they are virtually ignoring McGavick’s own cynical approach to the issues? How about a column or editorial on McGavick’s intentional obfuscation of his position on reproductive rights?
“I do believe that choice should exist, but I believe choice should be narrow.”
Come on… what the fuck does that mean? Why not pin McGavick down on some specifics rather than delving into all this pointless speculation about whether a multi-millionaire like Dal LaMagna was somehow bought off by the Cantwell campaign? Gimme a break.
Sure, I’m into all the inside politics horse race crap, and I’m sure most reporters and editorialists are too. But that’s the least important part of this race. In the meanwhile, while we’re all debating the intricate workings of the Cantwell campaign, McGavick is criss-crossing the state in a fucking RV for chrisakes, pretending to be just an average guy with a sensible, moderate agenda… which we all know is a complete and utter load of bullshit!
McGavick wants a federal ban on gay marriage. He wants severe restrictions on abortion (possibly as extreme as South Dakota’s new law, but he won’t tell us, so who knows?) He wants to privatize Social Security and drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He’s opposed to Net Neutrality, but supports all the provisions of the Patriotic Act and the Bush Administration’s execution of the war in Iraq.
On all these issues McGavick is out of step with the mainstream of Washington state voters, and that might create a problem for him in November if voters actually understood his positions. But instead, all we read in the papers is cynical meta-analysis of whether Cantwell’s newest campaign staffer should actually be paid for his work.
But then, that’s the “Liberal Press” for you.