by Goldy, 11/27/2006, 1:03 PM

Hmm. I originally wrote a lede to this post in which I accused the Seattle Times editorial board of flat-out “lying,” but I’ve decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and accept the possibility that they may have only been inadvertently, but flat-out wrong.

In an editorial today advising state legislators to exercise fiscal restraint — a sentiment with which I don’t necessarily disagree — the Times characterizes our current state budget as the largest increase in spending in over a decade… technically accurate, for whatever it means. But then the Times slips in a totally gratuitous piece of GOPropaganda:

[The budget] followed the 5-percent increase of the previous two years presented by Sen. Dino Rossi.

Yup. There you have it: the Times editorial board echoing the key Rossi campaign talking point that he authored the 2003-2005 budget. Only problem is, this talking point was directly contradicted way back in 2003 by Dino Rossi himself, and in the Times’ own reporting:

The Republican budget has much in common with the all-cuts plan that Democratic Gov. Gary Locke unveiled in December. In fact, Rossi opened a press briefing yesterday with a PowerPoint presentation titled: “Following the Governor’s Lead.”

That’s right, Rossi was only “following the Governor’s lead.” And in fact, according to the Times’ reporters, he actually presented a 1-percent (not 5-percent) increase in spending, which would have been largely achieved by leaving 46,000 children without health coverage.

The myth that Rossi authored the 2003 budget is largely that, and while I suppose its inclusion in the unsigned editorial may have been an honest mistake, the total irrelevance of its inclusion to the subject at hand suggests otherwise. Fresh on the heels of a campaign season in which Times editorialists aggressively and intentionally misled readers about the facts pertaining to the issues and candidates endorsed, the Times seems to be already gearing up for the 2008 season.

Dino Rossi authored the 2003 budget the way, you know… Dave Reichert caught the Green River Killer. But considering how unremarkable Rossi’s legislative career really was, prepare to see the Times repeatedly trumpeting this fictional accomplishment over the next 23 months.

Of course the Times has the right to use their op-ed pages to present their own opinions — opinions with which I often agree — but they do not have the right to present their own “facts.” Even if you buy into the argument that there is a wall between editorial and news that protects the ability of reporters to remain objective, it is a wall that is entirely invisible to the readers. The average reader may understand that editorials represent the opinion of the publisher and the editorial board, but he also expects that the information used to back up these opinions is as factually accurate as that presented in the rest of the paper. Thus when an editorial misleads the readers either through a lie of omission or through a deliberate or accidental misstatement of fact, it diminishes the credibility of the publication as a whole.

Today’s editorial is filled with hard numbers that one assumes have been appropriately fact checked, and then almost as a non sequitur it throws in the factoid that Rossi deserves credit for authoring a fiscally responsible budget… an assertion that is refuted by the Times’ own reporting. It is this type of blatant electioneering that made the Times op/ed page a laughingstock during the 2006 campaign and which threatens to carry our state’s largest paper further down the road towards irrelevance. Eventually, we’ll just come to the point were the only people who bother to read Times editorials are the copywriters putting together Republican political ads.

38 Responses to “The Seattle Times: following Rossi’s lede”

1. ArtFart spews:

Ha! When Rossi dumped on her in the first place, refusing to meet face-to-face and trying to dictate orders over the phone, Helen Sommers should have just said, “OK, know-it-all, do it yourself!” We all would have likely suffered, but Dino wouldn’t have dared show his face the next year, much less run for governor.

2. cb spews:

I was working on a Dem campaign, and we got hit a lot on this whole “largest spending increase,” issue as well. We had our people look into it, and it’s total nonsense.

15.3% increase in spending? Yeah, maybe if you count the $1 billion set aside in a rainy day account. The fact that “spending increases,” means absolutely NOTHING if taxes aren’t raised and if the money is used responsibly and if debt is not increased aside, the only way to even get this bogus number is if you somehow confuse “saving,” with “spending.”

Utter poppycock.

3. Roger Rabbit spews:

Opinions are like rabbit holes — every bunny’s got one! Frank Blethen already proved, via his bleating about the estate tax, that his fish wrapper is merely a vehicle for his personal opinions. Why should we be surprised that a guy who lives in a $4 million house and runs a $900 million company is a Republican — and a Rossi supporter? Bottom line, who gives a fuck what Frank thinks?

4. Roger Rabbit spews:

I’m sure not gonna spend 50 cents to read Frank’s latest opinion.

5. ArtFart spews:

I don’t know what to think about the prospect of Blethen being the moderator of the upcoming “town meeting” about media consolidation with the two remaining non-Bush-appointee FCC commissioners in attendance. In theory, Frank should be in league with the good guys on this one. I’d like to hope, though, that he won’t keep trying to steer the discussion towards killing off the “Hearst-owned” P-I. We have greater collective concerns, such as the likes of Clear Channel licking their chops over the financially struggling KOMO.

6. Truth2006 spews:

Well the market lost 158 points today. I guess the reality of Democrats taking over is finally starting to set in. Get ready to eat beans and rice from now on – if you can afford them under the Demo-taxic takeover.

7. Nindid spews:

2006@6 – Yeah… that is it. We all know how the markets react to things a month late. And never mind how the market jumped immediately after the Democrats won Congress. The whole thing is ridiculous but if you want to make market-based arguments here the “conservatives” are going to lose this one on the evidence.

8. Roger Rabbit spews:

The truth about state spending is there’s a very poor match between revenue and needs because of the revenue stream’s high degree of volatility and dependence on economic cycles.

The truth about state spending is that a large backlog of unfunded needs built over over the years the GOP controlled the state senate and refused to invest in transportation or education.

In addition, state employees went for 6 years with only a 2% pay increase, while eating increases in health insurance costs, and a state pay increase was overdue.

The truth is, the “fat” was cut from the state budget years ago, and neither Rossi nor anyone else can make budget cuts without cutting essential services and hurting people.

The truth is, Rossi’s “solution” to the budget was to take basic health care away from 40,000 of our state’s poorest kids. Is that the kind of government we want? Part of the increase in Gregoire’s first budget was restoring those health care cuts.

The truth is, medical costs are growing at double-digit rates for the private sector as well, and state government is not exempt from medical inflation. The single largest non-education item in the state budget is nursing home care for indigent elderly people. The state also provides medical care to thousands of prison inmates, and like most large private employers, pays part of the cost of health insurance for state employees.

One thing never changes, though — Republicans game the numbers and tell outright lies about the budget and everything else.

9. Roger Rabbit spews:

6 The market gave up 158 points today because the dollar is weakening as a direct result of Bush’s inflationary borrow-and-spend policies, but is still ahead of where it was before the election as Wall Street capitalists and investors all over America celebrate the end of the GOP corruption that has bled our economy white.

10. Roger Rabbit spews:

6 (continued)

A cheap labor conservative telling us the Democrats will make us eat beans and rice is like Gary Ridgway complaining about his parking tickets to a prostitute while he’s strangling her.

11. Roger Rabbit spews:

For a definition of “cheap labor conservative” click here:

http://tinyurl.com/lnzs3

“When you cut right through it, right-wing ideology is just ‘dime-store economics’ – intended to dress their ideology up and make it look respectable. You don’t really need to know much about economics to understand it. They certainly don’t. It all gets down to two simple words. ‘Cheap labor’. That’s their whole philosophy in a nutshell … cheap-labor conservatives are defenders of corporate America – whose fortunes depend on labor. The larger the labor supply, the cheaper it is. The more desperately you need a job, the cheaper you’ll work, and the more power those ‘corporate lords’ have over you. If you are a wealthy elite – or a ‘wannabe’ like most dittoheads – your wealth, power and privilege is enhanced by a labor pool, forced to work cheap.”

12. Yossarian spews:

Jeez, and all this time I thought the “cheap labor conservative” stuff was your own words. You can cut and paste very well.

13. Daddy Love spews:

6 Truth2006

So the next time the market rises will you attribute that to the Democratic Congressional takeover? Of course not! We have a word for people like you.

That “takeover” is still 2 months away, BTW. Why would the market not be reacting to the continued disaster news in Iraq, the news that the highly-anticipated “Iraq Study Group” recommendations will probably be so watered down and I-don’t-dare-take-a-stand-Bush-doesn’t-approve-of that it will likely do b>nothing to get the troops out of there as ther vast majority of Americans wishes, or the news that the Bush twins are getting thrown out of Argentina? Or why, indeed, couldn’t we say that the market is reacting to the prospect of two more months before a fucking thing gets done in government?

14. Daddy Love spews:

The last Brits will soon leave Iraq.

It’s over. Get used to it.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061127/ap_on_re_mi_ea/britain_iraq_2

15. Daddy Love spews:

12 Yossarian

He and others have linked to it on nearly every mention. Where have you been?

16. Goldy spews:

Truth2006 @6,

See, that’s exactly what I was talking about on the show last night. It is so hard to tell the difference between reality and satire these days. It’s almost like you’re trying to be a parody of yourself.

(And ironically, I’m cooking rice and beans for dinner tonight. Just put a couple of cups of pintos in the pressure cooker.)

17. Tree Frog Farmer spews:

Goldy, I would submit that she is more caricature of herself than a parody. The distortion from reality detaches itself from affection.

18. Dalton Bucklew spews:

“Cheap labor conservative?” So what is the opposite? An “expensive management liberal?” I think somebody else may have asked that question several months ago.

19. Daddy Love spews:

The Republicans are punting their spending bills until the next Congress, more or less admitting that they don’t give a damn about governance now, if indeed they ever did.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=a6EilU9Mhcls

How different from the 1994 Republican takeover, when the Demcorats PASSED all their spending bills (like they’re fucking well supposed to!) before adjourning for 1993.

Bastards.

20. Daddy Love spews:

Those who read might think that the professional financial analysts have a somewhat different take on today’s stock market performance from Truth2006′s inimitable well of truthiness.

Wal-Mart, dollar plunge slam stocks
Stocks sell off after Wal-Mart says same-store sales declined in November. The Nasdaq has its biggest one-day loss of 2006 as the dollar’s decline prompts broad profit-taking. Crude oil moves over $60.

So oil’s back over $60, and gas prices are rising? What a coincidence…

22. ArtFart spews:

18 American business used to be run by industrialists. Now it’s run by capitalists.

What’s the difference? An industrialist defines a corporation as a collection of people striving to prosper by working to make goods and provide services that benefit others enough that they will buy them. A capitalist defines a corporation strictly as a collection of money seeking to replicate itself.

23. Mark The Redneck KENNEDY spews:

Here’s Barelli’s comment from Sunday that puts an end to the “poverty” argument:

John Barelli says:

Let me help with this. From the current Seattle Public Schools budget ( http://tinyurl.com/ta5uu – in current dollars)

SPS 06/07 student population – 43,322

SPS 06/07 budget – 489,993,677

Dollars per student – 11,310.51

11/26/2006 at 3:20 pm

24. ArtFart spews:

The rise in the stock market in recent years may be attributed to the Federal Reserve running the printing presses at full speed and doubling the money supply over the last six years–with nothing to back it up except faith that either something of value will magically be created by what’s left of our industrial base to back up all that paper, or that the neocons’ move to military backed dominance of the world and its resources will succeed. Seeing as the latter is turning into a fizzle as we remain stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan, we’d better hope someone invents the Next Big Thing….oh, yeah. That’d be outsourced anyway. Never mind.

25. proud leftist spews:

Dino Rossi would need help to reconcile his family’s bank statement. Giving him credit for writing this state’s budget is silly. What the hell is wrong with the Times editorial board? The paper seems to be consciously marginalizing itself.

26. Libertarian spews:

ArtFart,

I agree with you that the Fed is more responsible for the stock market than anything in the govenrment. The Fed is a corporation wholly-owned by the government, but not a government entity like the Justice Department, for example.

The Fed’s goal is stable prices and economic growth. They have actually done a pretty good job over the past 25 years of managing these conflicting goals. Had a decent bunch of guys been running the Fed back in the Twenties, the Depression may have been avoided.

Politicians like to claim reponsibility for the good times and blame the bad times on the other party, but they’re effects on the stock market are only very short term. The real force in the American economy is the Fed.

27. rhp6033 spews:

The “Iraq Study Group” is a joke. I heard “leaks” of their draft report, prior to today’s meeting, on the radio this morning.

The only meaningful thing the study group could say is that there should have been an Iraq study group prior to March 2003.

At this point, with Bush already promising to rely upon the recommendations of the study group, and with the process being so public, the group has lost any ability to offer candid advice. At this point the study group’s only real option is to issue a report which is carefully crafted to dovetail with what Bush already plans to do, thereby giving some degree of “credibility” to his future actions – he can argue that he is just following the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations.

28. Heathen Sinner spews:

Mike Vick flips the bird to Atlanta Fans after being insulted and booed, and he ends up having to apologize. Fuck the Fans, tell them to go to hell. Booo hooo hooo, I’m crying like a little baby again.

29. headless lucy spews:

re 12: Yossarian is the Liberal. Milo Minderbinder is the Republican. “Everyone needs to support the syndicate because what’s good for the syndicate is good for everybody. Would you care to try some of this chocolate covered Egyptian cotton, Yossarian?” Milo Minderbinder.

30. Truth2006 spews:

All you liberals said happy days were here again and attributed market gains to Democrats. Now that the market is tanking you want to blame Bush. You are certainly a dishonest lot.

Clownstein already knows we’re screwed, He’s stocked up on his beans and rice!

31. John Barelli spews:

Mark The Redneck KENNEDY says:

Here’s Barelli’s comment from Sunday that puts an end to the “poverty” argument:

Uh, Mark? I realize that any time you and I agree on anything, it’s a red-letter day, but what does that quote have to do with this thread?

Apparently, the Seattle Times has difficulty figuring out who proposed which budget, but they are in favor of cutting taxes regardless of what programs might get cut.

Republicans often look at the old Roman Republic and claim that the reason for its downfall was that the plebes discovered that they could vote themselves “bread and circuses”. That is only partly correct.

What actually happened was that the rulers discovered that they could spend money that they didn’t have. Essentially, they increased the services (bread and circuses) without raising the taxes to pay for them.

Neither party is immune to this temptation.

Essentially, we, as citizens, can decide what level of services we are willing to pay for. If we want more services, we pay more taxes. If we want lower taxes, we get less service. As long as we recognize that essential truth, we will not go too far wrong.

32. Particle Man spews:

All Dino did was play a good game of chess. For him it was an easy game. As a senator he stood for nothing and thus was tied to nothing. So give him his little chess trophy and lets send him on his way.
We are lucky to have a real leader in Governor Gregoire and are state would be well served by electing her for as many terms as she is willing to serve.

33. Jenna Bush spews:

Daddy’s drunk again. I think he may not stay the course.

34. Jenna Bush spews:

Yo, Truth06!! May the blood of Jesus be with you!! We’re counting on great minds like yours to run the Rossi campaign, ‘cuz Daddy’s gonna be too drunk for the next two years.

35. Mark1 spews:

Still beating the dead horse soreness of Rossi, huh there Goldy? Still mad like an angry little child that the Times usually endorses the better candidate,; which more times than not is not a whiney liberal Democrat-much to your dismay. Go ahead, hold your breath like a kid-no one cares. Enjoy the cold and stay warm.

36. Yossarian spews:

headless lucy says:

re 12: Yossarian is the Liberal. Milo Minderbinder is the Republican. “Everyone needs to support the syndicate because what’s good for the syndicate is good for everybody. Would you care to try some of this chocolate covered Egyptian cotton, Yossarian?” Milo Minderbinder.

Stick the cotton up your ass, lucy!

37. YOS LIB BRO spews:

HEY MARK1,

YOU’RE SUCH A:

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSER!!!

38. Get Real spews:

First let me start by saying I’m a Democrat, a democrat who work in Gov. Locke’s administration and worked in Oly for years. Goldy, give it a rest. Dino was the Ways and Means Chair so he did technically “author” the budget and since the budget was different from Gov. Locke’s (I’m sure you can go to OFM and find the different versions) he does get credit for writing the budget. I enjoy your site and we have similar values but your tone is part of the reason discourse in and around politics has become so bad. I know that the bastards like Rush and Hannity started first but the reason we’re better is because we don’t jump in the mud like they do. Try to show some high mindedness and stop getting stuck in the muck, you’re better than that.