The P-I’s slime attack

After a decade of producing 5-10 columns a week for various outlets, I’ve been mostly taking a break from writing these past few months, which is why Goldy’s comment the other day about my technically being a poster. But the P-I’s article this morning on city council candidate Joe Szwaja pissed me off sufficiently to post – and then I see Will already got to the article last night.

I really like Will, but his post on Joe Szwaja’s troubles in the past misses a really simple point: Why did the P-I run this story? How did Angela Galloway think to check Wisconsin court and newspaper records, and just happen to have a story on it ready the same week Szwaja’s kickoff event raised over $17,000? And if you’re going to compare Szwaja to Dixon, as Will does – a sort of ridiculous comparison anyway, since this is a non-partisan race and most of the people who have backed Szwaja for this race have nothing to do with the Greens – why did the P-I run only one story mentioning Dixon’s (non-) voting record, and never run any mention of his extensive legal problems, either Dixon’s current misdemeanor ones or his two prison stretches for rather serious crimes in the 1980’s? Somehow, that wasn’t relevant or newsworthy, but Szwaja’s misdemeanor incidents from nearly 20 years ago are.

I’ll tell you exactly why the P-I is running this story: because Godden’s campaign fed it to them. Jean Godden worked at the P-I for many years before jumping to the Times, and she has consistently received glowing, uncritical coverage from both papers during her four years on council despite being its most inert member. When running four years ago, her editorial board interview at Seattle Weekly showed a stunning lack of awareness of civic issues, and she hasn’t improved on the job – treating that powerful $100,000+ a year job as some sort of civic retirement prize for having attended all the right parties during her decades as a gossip columnist. I’ve had several council aides tell me privately the same thing I’ve seen with my own eyes: In four years, Godden literally hasn’t done anything of significance on the council. She’s barely kept the seat warm.

Want to know where the P-I is coming from? Any writer or editor will tell you that the subtle little twists of wording, as well as what’s omitted, are how you lead a reader:

Although he initially declined repeatedly to elaborate about what he said were inaccuracies in Madison newspaper accounts, he was more forthcoming in a later interview Wednesday…

A lot of interview subjects won’t comment on the record, or so do extensively, when first ambushed with questions about, say, their past personal life; when I did a piece on former radio host Mike Webb for the Weekly last year, I spent nearly a month getting him to go on the record with detailed responses, which, to his credit, he eventually did. It’s a standard part of the reporting process to get people to talk. I’ve never seen this sort of caveat dropped into the story itself.

[Szwaja] said he has had a good driving record since moving to Seattle in 1993.

You think the P-I didn’t check this? So why present it as Szwaja’s unsupported claim?

And so on.

Szwaja’s web site has a reasonably good response to these charges (another contrast with Dixon), and I’ve spoken with him about them and am satisfied with his answers. I’ve known Joe (though not well) through any number of activist connections over the years, and have always wished the Greens had more people like him. He’s smart, competent, and principled – and unlike Godden, he won’t treat a council seat as a gold watch. Maybe that’s why Godden’s campaign felt threatened enough to go after him through her former employer.

Comments

  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I want to remind everyone of how ridiculous Stefan’s pathetic little blog is:

    “In an interview with KUOW, Gore claimed that Americans were given the impression that Saddam Hussein was ‘principally responsible’ for the 9/11 attacks, implying that the Bush administration had deliberately manufactured this false impression. But this page cites actual administration quotes refuting this allegation, e.g.Sept. 16, 2001:

    “RUSSERT: Do we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to this operation? [Sept. 11 attacks]

    “VICE PRES. CHENEY: No.”

    So … according to the pathetic little competing blog, if Cheney denies something THEN BY GOD IT ISN’T TRUE!!! No wonder even Stefan prefers to get political commentary by reading HorsesAss instead of HIS blog!

    And, not to get technical or anything, but in the above quote Cheney didn’t actually deny the Bush administration manufactured a “false impression” that Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks. The only thing he actually said in that quote is there’s no evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to 9/11.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Godden is an airhead. We should elect her to the port commission. Even she would be an improvement over the current port commission.

  3. 3

    ivan spews:

    If all you can do upon your return to blogging is pimp for a fringoid no-hoper like Szwaja, maybe you had better take another long break.

  4. 4

    spews:

    “Why would any normal person reading my column have the slightest interest in a partisan smear …?”

    That’s what PI reporter Joel Connelly wrote me back in February when I wrote him, politely asking him to consider investigating Luke Esser’s double dipping (here and here).

    Poor Joel Connelly must be so ashamed to be working for the PI now. Because if it’s a smear to ask someone to look into an apparent inappropriate — and even illegal — merging of partisan activities and paid public service in regards to two key positions at the center of Washington state’s troubled politics, omg it must really be a smear to feature the resolved legal troubles of a candidate from almost 20-years ago who happens to be opposing your former gossip-columnist employee.

  5. 5

    joe is toast spews:

    Anyone with Google and 5 minutes can uncover all of Joe Szwaja’s reprehensible past. A quick search of the Madison papers yields dozens of articles that chronicle his domestic violence and civil troubles (traffic, back-child support, etc) that all occurred while he was an elected official, no less.

    I am surprised you find it surprising that a reporter would do some simple background research on someone before they interview them. That’s what journalists do. Apparently your years of writing articles didn’t instill this basic principle in you.

    Which is also probably why you are so incredibly one-sided in your defense of Szwaja. You do not take on his McGavick-esque press release in which he diminishes everything and plays the role of pitiable victim (plus the completely misleading part about having the chargers dropped… they were dropped after he admitted guilt and entered anger management classes!!!! Or the fact that he touts his reelection to one of 20 Madison City Council seats in which only a few hundred votes are cast in each election). Give me a break. The evidence speaks for itself. The fact that you cannot divorce your ideology from this man’s significant character flaws, flaws which disqualify him from office, is disconcerting. If you want a more “progressive” candidate, fine, but to have this guy as your standard bearer is embarrassing.

    Szwaja is done. You simply cannot throw a plate at your girlfriend in front of your 7 year-old son, send her to the emergency room, EXPRESS NO CONTRITION OR REMORSE IN YOUR PRESS RELEASE, and then expect to even get 10 percent of the vote.

    Maybe Szwaja and John Manning can run together on a pro-domestic violence ticket.

  6. 7

    spews:

    5: Seen any interviews of Tim Burgess, the well-organized challenger to David Della? Or of Venus Velasquez, Bruce Harrell, or the other credible challengers for the open seat? Of course not. The filing window doesn’t even close til tomorrow; the dailies aren’t doing that story yet.

    Of course a reporter researches his/her interviewee. But you have the process backwards here. The P-I interviewed Szwaja only because they found out about his background. And the only logical reason they would have found it, or even thought yet to look for it, is Godden’s people. Which is why the story itself was so slanted – they came in with an agenda, and the way the story is written reflects it.

    Please don’t get me wrong – I don’t condone Joe’s past behavior. Neither does he, or at least that’s what he told me. But that was a long time ago, prior to 15 years of Szwaja’s good works in this community, and it’s irrelevant to the race. Godden’s job performance is what’s relevant, and it’s atrocious. Little wonder she’s wanting to change the subject.

  7. 8

    spews:

    Just to back up Geov here on his explanation of the process, the story on Szwaja was fed to me a few days ago, so it was clearly being pushed to reporters and bloggers. Though I was a bit surprised to see it appear so quickly in the P-I.

  8. 9

    Zander spews:

    As I recall Geov, you slammed me in 2003 (for “Eat the State”) without ever bothering to interview me.
    Sometimes reporters have their own gonzo agendas. Apparently, Fox isn’t the only outfit practicing “fair and balanced” reporting.

  9. 10

    joe is toast spews:

    @7

    Assuming this premise — someone gives the PI the info, they write the story — I still do not see your gripe.

    Are you saying that the information in the piece didn’t warrant being published? If so, you’re way out of touch with voters. This is news. Big news. Is is sensational? Absolutely. The nature of what he did is astounding.

    I saw Szwaja speak at a Nader rally in 2000 and thought he was a thoughtful guy who made interesting points. This new information (new to me, at least) completely changes that. Domestic violence of this extreme nature disqualifies you from public office. I don’t care if it was 10, 15, or 20 years ago. You cannot smash a plate in a woman’s face, requiring her to have significant stitching and immediate care, and be considered fit for City Council or anything else. And let’s not forget that this happened WHILE HE WAS AN ELECTED OFFICIAL. Extremely poor judgment. Huge character flaw.

    I think that you reveal your own bias as much as any bias you see in the PI’s piece by attacking the messenger instead of calling for Joe to withdraw, which would be the decent thing to do.

    Your support for Joe after knowing all of this information makes me question your integrity as someone capable of objectively evaluating a candidate.

    Are you endorsing John Manning, as well?

  10. 11

    Don Joe spews:

    @9

    I’m assuming you’re referring to this piece that Geov wrote. First, I wouldn’t exactly call that a “slamming.” Second, the “Eat the State” piece was an opinion piece, which reporters are entitled to profer from time to time. The P-I piece is supposedly straight reportage.

    @10

    Part of Geov’s point is that the P-I piece is slanted in its reporting of the “facts”. You can’t, simultaneously, squawk “So What,” and then use the facts as the P-I reported them to justify your “So What”.

    To illustrate this point, consider the statement “smash a plate in a woman’s face.” Is that really what happened? Where’s the underlying factual basis for characterizing the incident in such pejorative terms?

    Better yet, how, on earth, does someone “smash a plate in a woman’s face,” and not get arrested for felony assault?

  11. 12

    joe is toast spews:

    @ 11

    “To illustrate this point, consider the statement “smash a plate in a woman’s face.” Is that really what happened? Where’s the underlying factual basis for characterizing the incident in such pejorative terms?”

    It’s in the police report referenced by 3 different articles from two different newspapers. Szwaja admitted to throwing the plate at her face, causing her to be rushed to the emergency room. See excerpt below.

    “Wednesday, June 6, 1990
    By Jim Pugh The Capital Times (Madison, WI)

    Ald. Joe Szwaja, 5th District, has been charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct for allegedly shattering a plate in the face of his son’s mother as the 7-year-old boy watched.

    The woman, who was not identified in court records, required up to 10 stitches on three cuts, including a large gash across the bridge of her nose, records state. The woman allegedly threw a beer bottle on Szwaja’s dinner plate at her apartment Sunday evening and he threw the dish into her face, court records state.

    http://www.madison.com/archive.....1990/06/06 /9006060572.php ”

    I also think your mischaracterizing my point. I’m saying if the facts are there the PI, Times, Stranger, whoever, has every right to write the story. It is disingenuous of Geov to attack this piece because he feels it is politically motivated, while at the same time not disputing the facts that were reported. If it’s true, and it clearly is, then deal with it. Don’t attack the PI for putting it out there.

    And finally, if this was really politically motivated everyone who has spent 5 minutes in politics, like Geov, should know that you wait on stuff like this until shortly before an election if you are planning to do a hit piece. The insinuation that someone is shopping this info around would seem to be more appropriately directed at the Szwaja camp, since it’s in their interest to get this horrible stuff out as early as possible so that they have time for apologists like Geov to defend sending a woman to the emergency room.

  12. 14

    darlene spews:

    I know Joe. If you are worried about his character, you do not know Joe.

    It would be difficult to argue that throwing a plate is ever the best option, however, it does not an abuser make. But the P-I article is worded in such a way that it leads one to jump to that very false conclusion. Joe is in no way a violent person.

    I’d like to hear about the positive actions he’s taken to work for a better world. Just google his name and you’ll see his involvement in a wide variety of humanitarian and civic efforts over the last decade+.

    I believe Joe will be an excellent Seattle City Council member and leader. Not because he’s Green (I’m not), not because he’s progressive or liberal, but because he’s a very energetic, hardworking person who I’ve witnessed deal with difficult people in a positive way in order to ACCOMPLISH the goal. Very effective at getting things done. And truly with the best interests of the community in mind.

  13. 15

    uptown spews:

    @ 12

    So she threw a beer bottle first, which landed on his plate?
    And then he responded with the plate throwing?

    And it’s supposed to be all his fault? Get a life.

  14. 16

    ArtFart spews:

    “The woman allegedly threw a beer bottle on Szwaja’s dinner plate at her apartment Sunday evening and he threw the dish into her face…”

    Hey, sounds like a real fun couple.

  15. 17

    Don Joe spews:

    @12

    And you’re grossly missing my point. Both you and the P-I article fail to properly distinguish between alleged fact and established fact. You cannot justify the reporting of slacious alleged facts by treating those allegations as if they were established facts. Your argument is circular, because it assumes away the very issues at hand.

    The error is made even more egregious by an almost complete lack of critical thought. If those alleged facts were, in fact, true as characterized in the news reports and the arrest records, how does the charge end up being a misdemeanor domestic violence charge?

    Which brings me to your second point, that, if these alleged facts are, in fact, true, it is entirely appropriate for the P-I to report them. Frankly, that’s bullshit. Nothing quite so destroys the truth as reporting only half of it. Hence, such nicely pejorative terms as “Fox Noise,” to refer to those news outlets that routinely engage in that kind of reporting.

    Lastly, as to whether or not this was politically motivated, your argument requires me to assume the competence of the political operatives in question. A compelling argument does not by assuming facts not in evidence. That doesn’t mean that the entire affair is politics as usual, but it does mean you’ll need to come up with a better argument than that.

  16. 18

    Mike Gillis spews:

    Geov,

    We’ve had our differences in the past (particularly over the Aaron Dixon campaign), but I want to thank you for setting the record straight on Joe and the PI/Godden smear job of a exaggerated incident TWENTY YEARS ago.

    I’ve worked with Joe pretty closely on Green stuff and progressive stuff for quite a while and his character and personal integrity are without question.

    He’s an incredibly, kind, gentle, decent man who cares deeply about his family, his students and his principles.

    It’s no surprise to me that a former gossip columnist would reflexively respond with a personal smear when Joe’s campaign kickoff outshined hers and raised MORE money from MORE people, without a single corporate or development dollar.

    As someone said above, if you’re questioning his character, you don’t know Joe.

  17. 19

    proud leftist spews:

    I don’t know this guy from Adam. But, as a good liberal, I do believe in the power of redemption. I believe people can change. If this guy has learned from past mistakes and become a decent fellow, I hardly believe mistakes from the remote past should disqualify him from political office. Didn’t someone once say something about “casting the first stone?”

  18. 20

    Vladmir Putin spews:

    Is MSNBC any better that Fox? Or is it that it just reports the news in a biased way that’s acceptable to those here?

  19. 21

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    Geov says:

    Please don’t get me wrong – I don’t condone Joe’s past behavior. Neither does he, or at least that’s what he told me. But that was a long time ago, prior to 15 years of Szwaja’s good works in this community, and it’s irrelevant to the race.

    06/07/2007 at 11:14 am

    (my emphasis)

    coughcoughDoubleStandardcoughcough

    This same blog was relentless in tarring David Irons as an abuser in a case that happened “a long time” before the 2005 King County Executive’s race, and in which no charges were filed. Yet, Irons’ alleged abuse wasn’t deemed “irrelevant” by Goldy and the rabid left wingers here.

    For those of you with short memories click here.

    I’m no fan of Irons, he was a crappy candidate regardless of any abuse allegations, but the double standard being presented here is ridiculous.

  20. 22

    spews:

    Is MSNBC any better that Fox?

    Last week, when reporting on the indictment of William Jefferson, Fox News showed footage of John Conyers, a different black congressman. If you can name anything that MSNBC has done that was that egregious, you win. And by next week, I’m sure I’ll have another example from Fox News that I can use to answer that question.

  21. 23

    joe is toast spews:

    @ 17

    From the PI:

    “Of the disorderly conduct case, Szwaja wrote, “All of the charges against Joe were dismissed” without mentioning that he first was required to enter a no-contest plea and complete a first-time offender program.”

    That is fact. Not allegation. Joe plead no contest. He entered court-ordered anger-management courses. People plea things down all the time. This does not mean that the incident didn’t happen as described — and as admitted to by Szwaja at the time. If you want to argue, as many on this thread are, that sending your girlfriend to the hospital, while serving as a City Councilmember, is of no import, fine. I’d love to hear Joe give that rationale as he campaigns. I’m sure it will go over really well with the pro-beating women crowd that is so huge in Seattle. But don’t play this game of alleged vs. fact. The facts are clear.

    Which brings me to Joe’s McGavick-esque press release. You and Geov are sure critical of the PI piece but you do not question the blatant misrepresentation of the facts contained in Szwaja’s press release. As the quote above shows, Szwaja downplays and offers excuses for everything. It’s reminiscent of McGavick’s fake “full disclosure” play. There is no mention of pleading no contest, attending anger management, etc, instead the press release just says “the charges were dismissed.” Why are you not just as critical of this bs and Joe’s playing loose with the reality of the situation? Or for Joe’s complete lack of ability to own up to anything. Every problem he’s had in his past is, according to his press release, not his fault. There’s an excuse for everything. And he completely ignores this piece of reporting:

    “A Wisconsin court issued a judgment against him in 1994 to pay more than $5,100 in costs and garnished his wages, according to Courtlink.”

    Be equally critical of both sides. Don’t just shill for Szwaja.

  22. 24

    Vladmir Putin spews:

    Well, Lee, at least you’re watching Fox! And that’s a good thing!

    The egregious thing that MSNBC does it to air that guy Keith O and his campaign againt Fox News, particularly against Bill O’Reilly. Since when does personal vitriol constitute news analysis/reporting?

    Keep it on Fox, Lee – for fair and balanced reporting!!

  23. 25

    spews:

    ConFirst @21,

    Geov isn’t me, or vice versa. I raked the muck regarding David Irons. (As I did Aaron Dixon.) Geov and the other co-bloggers here have the explicit instruction to post whatever and whenever they want.

    I also don’t think Irons and Szwaja are comparable. While the first thing I reported on was the mother beating incident, that information came to me only at the end of an investigation regarding his reputation for verbally abusing female staffers on the council. Irons had a long, steady pattern of abusive behavior; that was always my thesis, and well supported by the facts. Szwaja on the other hand has that single incident. (That I know of.)

    And Irons behavior was particularly relevant because he brought it with him to the work place.

  24. 26

    spews:

    @24

    The egregious thing that MSNBC does it to air that guy Keith O and his campaign againt Fox News, particularly against Bill O’Reilly. Since when does personal vitriol constitute news analysis/reporting?

    Haha! You must be kidding. Are you going to give me a serious example or are you going to keep embarrassing yourself?

  25. 27

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    Lee says:

    Last week, when reporting on the indictment of William Jefferson, Fox News showed footage of John Conyers, a different black congressman. If you can name anything that MSNBC has done that was that egregious, you win. And by next week, I’m sure I’ll have another example from Fox News that I can use to answer that question.

    06/07/2007 at 1:22 pm

    Much like Keith Olbermann putting up a picture of Opio Sokoni while talking about Mike Shabazz in April. They are both black, in case you didn’t know. Seems equally egregious to me, especially since he was criticizing Shabazz for calling Michelle Malkin a prostitute.

    I guess Fox and MSNBC are more the same than you’d like to admit.

    Click here to see the clip.

  26. 28

    spews:

    Geov:
    In discussing motives of the P-I, you are not just paranoid, but surpassingly dumb. This paper endorsed Judy Nicastro against Godden in the 2003 elections. The blog is classic example of how the looney left abuses peoples motives and races to conclusions.

  27. 29

    spews:

    P.S. Cathy Allen, Godden’s consultant, was on a plane between Amman, Jordan, and Paris yesterday. ‘Needed to get hold of her (on non-council matter) and could not do so.

  28. 30

    Don Joe spews:

    @23

    First, that the piece happens to cite established fact in some instances by no means absolves it of those instances where the piece fails to make the proper distinction.

    Second, comparing a newspaper article to a politician’s press release strikes me as inane in the extreme. One expects a politician’s self-defense to be slanted. One expects a newspaper article to provide a full and accurate portrayal of the facts. When the newspaper article fails to do so, we are, quite rightly, given to suspect either the competence of the reporters and/or the biased nature of their sources.

  29. 31

    Richard Pope spews:

    Goldy @ 25

    Joe Szwaja didn’t have a personal staff to abuse as a Madison City Council member. This is a part-time position, which merely requires attending two council meetings per month. Council members were paid $6,771 per year in 2003, with the same pay increases as city employees receive thereafter. Apparently, there is just one administrative assistant that serves the entire 20 member council. I called the city council number to ask about the salaries, and the staff person wasn’t there. So I had to check this out on the on-line city code.

    Szwaja will have a lot more opportunity to abuse women if he is elected to the Seattle City Council. He will be making over $100,000 per year, and have several personal staff members. Also, the Seattle City Council has a common staff of maybe 15 to 20 people. As one of only 9 council members (and a full-time person), he will have a lot more power and opportunity to abuse it, than was the case with being one of 20 very part-time council members back in Madison.

    In any event, the injuries caused by Szwaja’s domestic abuse are much more serious and much more documented than the allegations Goldy made against David Irons. Szwaja was immediately arrested and charged with a crime, and basically pleaded guilty. He also admitted it to the police.

  30. 32

    Don Joe spews:

    @24

    First, name one thing that Keith Olbermann has said about Bill O’Reilly that wasn’t true.

    Second, what is it with you right-wing clowns and your inability to distinguish between people spouting their opinions, while making no bones about the fact that they’re spouting their own opinions, and people passing off their opinions as if those opinions constitute established fact? O’Reilly does the latter all the fricking time. Olbermann’s commentaries are clearly labelled as commentaries.

    In all honesty, you’re looking crazier and crazier. I watch Olbermann, because he’s entertaining. I don’t rely on Olbermann for my information. I get my information from a variety of sources, and I try to fact check as much as possible. You watch O’Reilly as if he’s feeding you the facts straight from God’s mouth to his ears, and, when someone else catches O’Reilly fibbing (which isn’t very difficult to do) you call that “personal vitriol”.

  31. 33

    Libertarian spews:

    Lee,

    You have to agree with Valdmir that Keith Olbermann spends a lot of time slamming Bill O’Reilly, yet O’Reilly doens’t even mention Olbermann.

    Fox DOES do a pretty good job on the news summaries, the ones that occur at about 5 and 35 minutes past the hour. The summary just seems to cover the news. In the past, when I watched NBC or ABC or whatever – I always felt I was listening to the anchor’s opinions of the day’s events. Really, I didn’t care what Peter Jenning’s opinions were. I thought Bernard Goldberg did a pretty good job exposing the bias at CBS with his book, “Bias.”

    You should give it a read. It’s interesting.

  32. 34

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    Goldy says:

    Geov isn’t me, or vice versa. I raked the muck regarding David Irons. (As I did Aaron Dixon.) Geov and the other co-bloggers here have the explicit instruction to post whatever and whenever they want.

    I never made the claim Geov was you or you are Geov.

    I also don’t think Irons and Szwaja are comparable. While the first thing I reported on was the mother beating incident, that information came to me only at the end of an investigation regarding his reputation for verbally abusing female staffers on the council. Irons had a long, steady pattern of abusive behavior; that was always my thesis, and well supported by the facts. Szwaja on the other hand has that single incident. (That I know of.)

    (my emphasis)

    The “facts” you presented were hearsay and uncorroborated.

    Szwaja’s single incident ended up in court. Are you really trying to argue that a alleged Republican abuser that has never even been charged with a crime is worse than a Green that has been charged with disorderly conduct for throwing a plate at his girlfriend?

    You had the opportunity to follow up on the Szwaja story but chose not to. I think that’s because you (and the bloggers here) are more idealogically aligned with Szwaja.

    The P-I printing facts about Szwaja doesn’t seem any more “slimy” than your “muck raking” in writing about similar allegations about Irons.

    And Irons behavior was particularly relevant because he brought it with him to the work place.

    Again, alleged behavior. You have admitted that you don’t know much about Szwaja’s behavior, because you have looked nearly as hard at him as you did Irons. So you can’t rationalize away the double standard here on HA so easily.

  33. 35

    spews:

    Richard @30,

    You miss the point. Irons had a reputation for abusive behavior. As far as I know Szwaja does not. I’m not saying his domestic incident should have no bearing in judging the man’s suitability for office, just that it is a single incident, rather than part of an ongoing pattern.

    And the context of how this story got out there is important. That’s why my righty trolls kept insisting that I got the Irons story from Sims. (I did not. I dug it up on my own.)

  34. 36

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 33

    Hearsay and uncorroborated? Goldy talked to people who were involved in the incident in question. When you speak to the people who witnessed the events in question, what they tell you is not hearsay. That’s a first-hand account of the incident.

    Also, when the stories of the people involved jibe with each other, then you’re talking about information that is corroborated.

    So, how do you justify your claim that Goldy’s post was both hearsay and uncorroborated?

  35. 37

    spews:

    You have to agree with Valdmir that Keith Olbermann spends a lot of time slamming Bill O’Reilly, yet O’Reilly doens’t even mention Olbermann.

    That’s far from the point. When Olbermann slams O’Reilly, he uses facts to do so.

    Much like Keith Olbermann putting up a picture of Opio Sokoni while talking about Mike Shabazz in April. They are both black, in case you didn’t know. Seems equally egregious to me, especially since he was criticizing Shabazz for calling Michelle Malkin a prostitute.

    There’s a huge difference here. The average person in the news business should be able to distinguish between John Conyers and William Jefferson (both Congressmen). I’ve never even heard of the two people you just mentioned. You’re welcome to believe all you want that what Fox News did there was a mistake (as was clearly the case with the Olbermann gaffe), but you’d be quite naive.

    I thought Bernard Goldberg did a pretty good job exposing the bias at CBS with his book, “Bias.”

    I think that there is bias in every single media outlet. The problem arises when the facts are compromised for the sake of the bias. Olbermann does not do that, and I will challenge you to find a single instance where he has. Fox News has done it on a number of occasions (for instance, by calling Mark Foley a Democrat). Although the worst offender of all may be Lou Dobbs, and he’s on CNN.

  36. 38

    Don Joe spews:

    @31

    In any event, the injuries caused by Szwaja’s domestic abuse are much more serious and much more documented than the allegations Goldy made against David Irons. Szwaja was immediately arrested and charged with a crime, and basically pleaded guilty. He also admitted it to the police.

    I’m having difficulty imagining how this could have been any more vapid given that it was penned by an attorney. About the only accurate statement of fact in the entire paragraph is the documented nature of the injuries in Szwaja’s case–a fact which is entirely unsurprising given that the issues with David Irons involved verbal abuse as well as physical abuse. That the injuries were more “serious” is another one of those statements of opinion being passed off as a statement of fact.

    Even more egregious, however, is the statement that Szwaja, “basically plead guilty.” He plead no contest, which, as Mr. Pope well knows, has less to do with the actual facts alleged in the arrest as it has to do with the facts which may or may not lend themselves to being proved at trial. We really have no idea what facts led to Mr. Szwaja’s decision to plead no contest. Of course, one primary object of a smear job is to get people to make precisely this kind of assumption.

    If your contention is that there is some double standard as to the reporting of facts, then you cannot reasonably support that contention by, yourself, being so careless with the facts.

  37. 39

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    Don Joe says:

    @ 33

    Hearsay and uncorroborated? Goldy talked to people who were involved in the incident in question. When you speak to the people who witnessed the events in question, what they tell you is not hearsay. That’s a first-hand account of the incident.

    Also, when the stories of the people involved jibe with each other, then you’re talking about information that is corroborated.

    So, how do you justify your claim that Goldy’s post was both hearsay and uncorroborated?

    06/07/2007 at 3:00 pm

    I was incorrect in using the word hearsay.

    As far as corroboration goes, Janet A. Irons backs up her brother but she wasn’t there. Hence, no corroboration (but definitely hearsay!). If you want to show me anywhere else where the stories “jibe”, please do. There were two parties involved, their stories differ, unless someone else was witness to the incident there can be no corroboration. So it’s “he said/she said”.

    Compare that do Szwaja who admitted to throwing a plate at his girlfriend, and took anger management classes to have the charges dropped after pleaded no contest. That’s clearly more than an allegation, and despite Goldy’s rationalization, clearly shows the double standard here. If you are a lefty and abuse someone you receive forgiveness and understanding, if you allegedly abuse someone and you are a righty, then you are the object of scorn and derision.

  38. 40

    joe is toast spews:

    @ 38

    Are you actually Joe Szwaja? His wife? Attorney?

    I’m trying to figure out a motive for why you would spend so much time defending the reprehensible actions of this guy.

    And while you’re at it, please defend this too:

    “A Wisconsin court issued a judgment against him in 1994 to pay more than $5,100 in costs and garnished his wages, according to Courtlink.”

    There is no mention of this in his press release. And I’m trying to figure out how such a reputable and integrity-filled man would fall so far behind in child support payments and then, despite the fact that he was employed, not pay them off until 2000. Hmmm.

    I still can’t believe that this guy is being defended on this progressive blog. Bizarre.

    What would he have to do to get you to stop supporting him even though you support his political rhetoric? Kill someone? Rape? Remember that he was 33, the father of a 7 year-old, and an elected official when he had the good judgment to put his girlfriend in the hospital.

    Real impressive credentials.

  39. 41

    spews:

    A big difference between the Irons story and the Szwaja story is in how they resolved it with their family.

    David Irons never managed to make amends with his mother, little sister, and father. If he had, Goldy never would have noticed a newspaper article that reported that Mr. and Mrs. Irons refused to vote for their son.

    Szwaja did make amends. Besides his girlfriend refusing to press charges, she was a political supporter (based on her reaction to the fliers).

    BTW: I lived in Madison through much of Szwaja’s time in office (I left in late 1990). I didn’t live in his district, but I worked in it. I don’t recall there being much of a fuss, perhaps because he made good by his family. That’s where Irons failed.

  40. 42

    spews:

    Richard @ 31

    “In any event, the injuries caused by Szwaja’s domestic abuse are much more serious and much more documented than the allegations Goldy made against David Irons.”

    Your statement is completely incorrect.

    Goldy did not alleged that Irons beat his mother. He reported that this particular allegation was made by Iron’s mother and little sister (i.e. the victim and a partial witness).

    Goldy did allege Irons had a pattern of abuse and dishonesty, based on multiple accounts. As far as I know nobody has made, let alone documented, such allegations (habitual lying and abusive personality) against Szwaja.

  41. 43

    Don Joe spews:

    @39

    Goldy’s post about David Irons involved more than just the incident where Irons allegedly hit his mother. I suppose one could say that, with respect to that one incident, the facts might well be “uncorroborated,” though Goldy did lay out all of the facts available.

    For your second paragraph, see my response to Richard Pope. Your on paragraph is even more careless with the known facts as Pope’s, and you really can’t try to make a case about double standards when you’re going to be that careless with the truth.

    @40

    Nice retort. You can’t address the points I’ve raised, so you start attacking me. At this point, I could well just claim victory and leave it at that, but you really do deserve to be smacked down for being so careless and downright stupid.

    First, I don’t recall ever defending Szwaja. The issue at hand is whether or not the P-I piece represents a resonable piece of journalism or is properly thought of as a political hack job penned by a couple of reporters who are more interested in arousing people’s sense of the salacious than they care about reporting the facts. I think, on it’s face, Geov is quite correct. The P-I piece is just plain crap.

    Second, your own carelessness with the facts is beyond depolorable. You began by claiming that Szwaja smashed a plate in a woman’s face. When I pointed out that your own statement wasn’t corroborated by the known facts, you backed away from that, and started looking for other ways to slam Szwaja.

    So, now you’re claiming that Szwaja doesn’t address the judgement for non-payment. This claim is flat out false. I quote from the press release, which can be found here:

    That Joe had been cited for failure to pay a judgment regarding medical and legal bills associated with birth complications when his son was born, which involved medical complications at a time when Joe did not have health insurance… Joe maintains that this was due to an incorrect mailing address for notices that were not received. Subsequently, a payment schedule was established, and Joe discharged his obligations.

    Looking at your behavior, and using the logic behind your attack on me, one might resonably conclude that you’re nothing more than a political hack for Jean Godden. Since that would entail some unsound reasoning and a particular carelessness with the facts, however, I won’t advance such a claim.

    I’ll just content myself with having demonstrated that you, sir, are just another liar trying to defend someone else’s distortion of the truth. Birds, feathers and all…

  42. 44

    Don Joe spews:

    As a follow-up to my last comment, it occurs to me that some might think I smacked “joe is toast,” because he questioned my character. Hardly. My skin isn’t anywhere close to be that thin. Hell, I’ve stood on the floor of several Macintosh trade shows wearing a Microsoft t-shirt (to thwart our wingnut friends, no, not the same t-shirt every time).

    No, my reason for being so harsh with mr toast is because I really do think the P-I article is a piece of crap. Unfortunately, bullshit floats. More importantly, that kind of bullshit wouldn’t float if people like mr toast didn’t thoughtlessly give it credence.

    As much as I believe in a full democracy, there are times when the stupidity of others seduces me into thinking that a republican form of government might not be such a bad idea after all.

  43. 45

    spews:

    Conservativefirst @ 34

    “I never made the claim Geov was you or you are Geov.”

    Hey squirt, you missed the point completely. You said:

    coughcoughDoubleStandardcoughc ough

    This same blog was relentless in tarring David Irons as an abuser in a case that happened “a long time” before… Yet, Irons’ alleged abuse wasn’t deemed “irrelevant” by Goldy and the rabid left wingers here.

    Goldy’s point is that there are different writers, who are able to offer different opinions here. There is no “uniformity” requirement, no “Goldy-approved” process, no marching orders or directions from on high. For this reason, lack of a high level of consistency among writers is an invalid criticism. (Hell, even on uSP the writers are not completely consistent).

    “The “facts” you presented were hearsay and uncorroborated.”

    You are lying to yourself, squirt. We’ve been through this before…the “motherbeater facts” were previously reported in the MSM. Most of what Goldy’s said were, by definition, facts if only because he was reporting what Mom and Di said to him. (Or are you trying to claim that Goldy never interviewed Ms. Irons? She, of course, was on the Radio saying the same thing, so that defies logic.)

    Other fun-filled Irons Jr. facts were things like copies of his Resume, followed by specific quotes from Mom and Di about how misleading it was.

    “You had the opportunity to follow up on the Szwaja story but chose not to. I think that’s because you (and the bloggers here) are more idealogically aligned with Szwaja.”

    Something (anger??) is clouding your ability to think clearly. Did you notice that:

    • Will wrote a post poking fun Szwaja for his traffic record
    • Geov wrote this post criticizing the PIs coverage of Szwaja’s past
    • Goldy wrote a post saying he was backing off on blogging for awhile

    In other words, a variety of views have been presented about Szwaja, and Goldy hasn’t weighed in at all (except very briefly in the comment threads). And the story is pretty fresh, so I’m sure other opinions will be offered as well.

    “The P-I printing facts about Szwaja doesn’t seem any more “slimy” than your “muck raking” in writing about similar allegations about Irons.”

    You are mistakenly equating an unabashedly political blog and a non-editorial article in a newspaper. They ain’t the same thing, squirt!

    “… You have admitted that you don’t know much about Szwaja’s behavior, because you have looked nearly as hard at him as you did Irons. So you can’t rationalize away the double standard here on HA so easily.”

    But Goldy has not posted on the topic at all, so you have absolutely no basis on which to evaluate a “double standard.” And, again, you making the mistake that “this blog” puts forth a unified, consistent position.

  44. 46

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    So the righties were okay with Publican David Irons beating his mother, why should they care about other alleged cases of domestic violence?

  45. 47

    Richard Pope spews:

    Goldy & Darryl:

    I am trying to be objective, in spite of the fact that David W. Irons, Jr. believes that I am going to burn in hell forever, or words to that effect. I don’t want to hold the fellow’s religious beliefs against him. At least he thinks I am going to burn in hell because of specific conduct (reporting the PDC violations), instead of because of what my own beliefs are.

    Whatever happened between David Irons Jr. and his mother, nobody went to the hospital or doctor and apparently nobody called the police either. Irons Jr. was also an elected official (school board) at the time. His parents supported him for re-election in 1995 and he supported his father for state senate (against Dino Rossi) in 1996. So apparently everyone made up — David Jr. apparently even forgave his mother! The rift that presently exists with the Irons family apparently was caused by political violence, instead of physical violence. David Jr. decided to run against his sister’s employer, Brian Derdowski, for King County Council. That really wasn’t a very nice thing for him to do.

  46. 49

    Richard Pope spews:

    So what are the chances of Brian Derdowski making a surprise late minute filing for King County Council this year?

  47. 50

    Puddybud Who Left the Reservation spews:

    Goldy says: Just to back up Geov here on his explanation of the process, the story on Szwaja was fed to me a few days ago, so it was clearly being pushed to reporters and bloggers. Though I was a bit surprised to see it appear so quickly in the P-I.

    Wait a minute… The Peee in your Eye is your favorite paper of record to quote from for all things Moonbat!tic..

    Waaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa

  48. 51

    Don Joe spews:

    Richard,

    Whatever happened between David Irons Jr. and his mother, nobody went to the hospital or doctor and apparently nobody called the police either.

    First of all, Richard, I’m the one who called you out for stating an opinion as if you were stating a fact.

    Second, would you sustain or overrule an objection based on a question that calls for a conclusion on the part of a non-expert witness, and why?

  49. 52

    I'm Andrew spews:

    I’m sitting here tying to imagine what I’d be writing in this thread if the same issues were describing a strong Republican opponent against a weak Democrat. Would I reflexively jump on the bandwagon against the Republican just to bolster that Dem’s candidacy?

    Would I find a two-decade old charge to be enough red meat for me to manipulate the elective process? I’d like to think that I’d pass the integrity test to deal with the candidate’s qualifications, and not this two-decade old story.

    Form me, two main points remain, ‘Is Godden at all qualified to continue her post on the King Country Council?’ And, ‘Is Joe more qualified than the current council member?’

    *I hope that I’d not try to re-create an ugly old story for my partisan agenda.

    *Godden is in no way qualified for another term, nor has she earned the right to continue in her position.

    *Joe is eminently qualified for this position. His community bona fides are unquestioned, and his future, surely filled with decades more of civil service, is starting with this race which I absolutely believe that he will rightfully win.

    I’m a Joe Szwaja fan. I have known Joe for a number of years now, and while this ugly story surely is unpleasant, it is the one unpleasant element to what otherwise is an exemplary life of selfless devotion to his community.

    The most shameful part about this whole story to me is the reality that the Godden campaign is shopping this story around. Want to question someone’s integrity? There’s a good start…

  50. 53

    wtf? spews:

    @ 43

    “I think, on it’s face, Geov is quite correct. The P-I piece is just plain crap.”

    Which you argued by claiming the facts were incorrect or simply allegations. They aren’t. The PI piece is wholly accurate. Deal with it.

    “You began by claiming that Szwaja smashed a plate in a woman’s face. When I pointed out that your own statement wasn’t corroborated by the known facts, you backed away from that…”

    I have no idea where you got this idea. He DID smash a plate in his girlfriend’s face. He admitted it back when he was arrested. Now he has changed his tune.

    “So, now you’re claiming that Szwaja doesn’t address the judgement for non-payment. This claim is flat out false. I quote from the press release…”

    Either you are dumb, cannot read properly, or you are intentionally distorting the facts here. If you would have read the article you would see that there are TWO, count ‘em, TWO, cases of failing to pay child support costs.

    From PI

    “In 1988, Szwaja was arrested for failing to cover $2,584 in costs that he said were associated with his son’s birth and medical complications. In what he said was a separate matter, a Wisconsin court issued a judgment against him in 1994 to pay more than $5,100 in costs and garnished his wages, according to Courtlink.”

    The press release issued by Szwaja addresses the 1988 arrest, it fails to mention the more recent 1994 judgment against him.

    If you want to hate the PI for printing facts, fine, but don’t question the validity of what they printed when it is well documented and corroborated.

  51. 54

    Interesting Omission spews:

    @ Geov

    Just for full disclosure you probably should have included in this post that you staunchly supported Szwaja in his failed race in 2000 and have been a hardcore Green Party support for years.

    So maybe you aren’t the best person to make the case that the PI isn’t being objective.

    Just a thought.

  52. 55

    Richard Pope spews:

    Goldy’s ex-wife is running for Mercer Island City Council this fall for Position 3, which apparently has no incumbent:

    http://www.maureenjudge.com/

    If you look at the “About Maureen” link, she is claiming that their daughter lives with HER.

  53. 56

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 53

    “I think, on it’s face, Geov is quite correct. The P-I piece is just plain crap.”

    Which you argued by claiming the facts were incorrect or simply allegations. They aren’t. The PI piece is wholly accurate. Deal with it.

    To be precise, I argued that the piece is crap, because it does a poor job of distinguishing between alleged fact and established fact. At no point did I claim that the article was incorrect, but all one has to do is read some of the misstatements that were made in comments in this forum to reach the fairly sound conclusion that the article fails to properly make that distinction.

    As for dealing with it, I thought that’s what Geov had already done.

    either you are dumb, cannot read properly, or you are intentionally distorting the facts here. If you would have read the article you would see that there are TWO, count ‘em, TWO, cases of failing to pay child support costs.

    There’s another possibility: when a piece looks to be crap from the outset, I tend to not read it all that closely, which wouldn’t mean that I’m incapable of reading very well. It’s a failing of mine, I admit it. For some reason, I had understood the judgement to be an extension of the health matter.

    Whether or not that makes me dumb is an opinion to which you’d be entitled, but, should you endorese that opinion, one would wonder if you’ve ever made a similar mistake in your life.

    Nevertheless, you are correct, and I retract the statement that mr toast is a liar.

    That does, however, raise the question of why a $5100 judgement from more than a decade ago in another state even merits mention now and why anyone would deem it necessary for Szwaja to have to explain it. The existence of the judgement and the particulars thereof would be far less relevant than whether or not he’s made good on the debt, no?

  54. 57

    WOW spews:

    Man, you would think that Maria was sleeping with Ron again…..

    Except this is the wrong blog for defending Maria, is it not???

    OOOPS, she did sleep with him before HIS wedding night didn’t she?? Like a week before??? It was in COURT papers???

    Doesn’t matter, wrong blog….

  55. 58

    Libertarian spews:

    Joe Klien said in the recent Time Magazine article of blogs, both left & right:

    “The smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere. Anyone who doesn’t move in lockstep with the most extreme voices is savaged and ridiculed.”

  56. 59

    spews:

    Libertarian,
    Joe Klein is one of the many journalists who hasn’t reacted well to the fact that a group of committed people have started doing the critical free press function of government oversight better than he and his buddies have. As a Libertarian, I would think that would make sense to you, but I’m slowly learning that you don’t really understand what that word means…

  57. 60

    Libertarian spews:

    thehim,

    Maybe you should read Klein’s quite again. I don’t think you got what he’s saying there.

    BTW, I actually met Joe Klein once, on Cape Cod, just after he was unmasked as the author of “Primary Colors.” He and his family were in the next cottage at Brewster Park on the Cape. He seemed like an OK guy. I think what he’s saying is that bloggers aren’t journalists but promoters of viewpoints, be they left-leaning or right-leaning views. The treatment of anything other than the “official” viewpoint is not tolerated well.

  58. 61

    Manu spews:

    The Jean Godden campaign staff (or those recruited by them) who’ve posted virulent attacks on Joe Szwaja here have been very misleading in their choice of sources. It doesn’t take much – maybe under a minute’s time – of using a Google search to find the article, Campaign Brochure Infuriates Alderman, Saturday, March 30, 1991, By Michael Stone The Capital Times http://www.madison.com/archives/ read.php?ref=/tct/1991/03/30/9103300407.php).

    The article points out, among other things, that the woman involved in the incident stated that what happened was a freak accident; she never wanted Szwaja arrested or charges pressed; she threatened to sue Szwaja’s opponent at the time who was making insinuations of domestic violence, calling his literature “slanderous” and “sleazy”; and she complimented Joe as a very responsible parent and even went on to sign a sworn statement stating that the incident was an accident.

    The Godden camp on this site has tried to portray Joe as some kind of serial abuser on the basis of one – exactly one – incident. There are no others, either before or after; go look. He’s been a school teacher for the past 14 years and worked with many women with no problems, and been happily married for many years with no problems. I’m sorry, but before you portray someone as a chronic abuser or a woman as having battered woman’s syndrome, you need a heck of a lot more evidence. There is none, leading me to believe that the one-time incident probably was an accident. A likely accident from 17 years ago should be a non-issue. The issues in this race are as stated on Joe Szwaja’s site,joeforcouncil.com/2007_06_01a.html and are precisely what Godden wants to divert the public’s attention from.

    I hope the Godden supporters will choose to take a better road from now on and actually talk about the issues of relevance to the people of Seattle, instead of engaging in deceitful and sleazy tactics of character assassination.

  59. 62

    Paddy Mac spews:

    The original point of this post was that someone at the P-I seems to be doing the bidding of the Godden campaign. We’ve seen nothing to disprove that. Mr. Connelly, whose work I read and normally respect, jumps in with a howler of a non-denial:

    “In discussing motives of the P-I, you are not just paranoid, but surpassingly dumb. This paper endorsed Judy Nicastro against Godden in the 2003 elections. The blog is classic example of how the looney left abuses peoples motives and races to conclusions.”

    The single entity known as the P-I has different sections. Modern American mainstream newspapers publicly claim to maintain separation between the news, advertising, and editorial sections. The difference between the editorial of 2003 and the news story of 2007 shows that this division exists (or that an entity can have different opinions at different times).

    The P-I’s news section just published a hit piece on a political contender for Council Member Godden’s seat. We have circumstantial evidence that Council Member Godden used her influence to have this hit piece published. That is our concern. (I have never voted for either candidate, nor have I ever endorsed or supported either of them.) We’re expressing concern that someone at a trusted news source (I subscribe to the P-I) is taking orders from the very same government we need the P-I to scrutinize. One needn’t be a screeching leftie to worry about this!

  60. 63

    Vladmir Putin spews:

    Lee,

    Remember that lady that was shot at the U-Dub a month or so ago? Well, the guy that shot her was an illegal alien from Britain. The Seattle cops stopped the guy for durnk driving, knew his immigration status, but didn’t turn him over to the Feds due to Seattle’s “sanctuary” policy. He went on to shoot the por lady at ther place of work.

    The news media from Seattle appratenly thought that little tidbit of info about the cops having their hands on the guy wasn’t newsworthy. After all, maybe if the cops had turned this guy over to the Feds the shooting wouldn’t have occurred. But that doesn’t jive with the Seattle policy.

    The Seattle news folks didn’t lie, but they sure as hell omitted the truth in telling this story.