Congratulations to The Olympian for publishing the kind of blunt, unwaveringly critical editorial I’ve been looking for since the state house GOP caucus first mailed out it’s fake “Sex Offender Notification” postcards:
Rep. Richard DeBolt owes his legislative colleagues and his South Sound constituents an apology. His feeble attempt at rough-and-tumble politics has backfired, making him look foolish and disingenuous.
[…] His actions are bad for public discourse, and his reliance on falsehoods does not speak well of DeBolt’s character.
He knows better, and he should apologize for his missteps.
At issue are postcards labeled “sex offender notification” that were mailed into a handful of legislative districts represented by Democrats.
The postcards include a photo of a man convicted of sexually assaulting children, a physical description and a headline that reads, “This violent predator lives in your community.”
It’s a lie.
The Olympian goes on to excoriate DeBolt, explaining the truth behind the procedural move the GOP exploited to cynically claim that Democrats are soft on sex offenders, and ridiculing DeBolt’s continued denials that as House Minority Leader, he is ultimately responsible for the actions of his caucus’s own PAC.
As for worrying people that a particular sex offender had moved into their neighborhoods, he said the man in the postcard is a “generic figure,” and people should be scared of sex offenders.
DeBolt is right in one regard. He says the Republicans’ campaign has raised public awareness.
Yes, the public is now aware how low Rep. Richard DeBolt and his political action committee will stoop to stretch the truth and sling a little mud at the opposing party.
He owes his legislative colleagues and his constituents an apology.
Yes. And after this session is over, he should resign.
The only thing I find disappointing about The Olympian’s editorial is that we’re only reading it in the pages of The Olympian. Columnists Thomas Shapley and Nicole Brodeur have weighed in on the issue, but where is the official, righteous outrage from the editorial boards of the P-I and the Times, the two most influential papers in the state? If bloggers like me hadn’t slammed this issue for days, would the traditional media even have picked it up?
The truth is, in Washington state, our journalists and editorial boards simply don’t hold Republicans to the same high standards they hold Democrats. They expect Dems to be more cautious and civil, and when the Dems disappoint, we hear about it. In fact, it never would have occurred to House Majority Leader Frank Chopp, that scaring the bejeebus out of thousands of families by mailing out a fake sex offender notice could in any way be defensible. But Republicans… well, you know… kids will be kids. I’m not saying that Dems never get themselves dirty… but never this dirty.
That DeBolt could not see that the postcard represented a new low for his party, reflects poorly on both his character and his judgement. That our state’s opinion makers did not instantly condemn the postcard for what it is, reflects poorly on our media’s ability to referee our ever disintegrating political discourse.
The MSM can lament all it wants about the coarseness injected into the debate by partisan, foul-mouthed bloggers like me, but until “traditional journalists” start worrying more about speaking the truth, and less about attaining their mythical goal of balance, the blogosphere’s influence will continue to rise… and our political parties will continue sink to new lows.