Okay, I’ll try my best to maintain my journalistic “objectivity” so as not to offend any of my friends in the traditional media, but the contrast between today’s Seattle Times and Seattle P-I present one of those classic illustrations of how the local electorate benefits from having two major daily newspapers… and engaged bloggers prepared to critique them. Both papers feature articles covering the current state of the 2008 gubernatorial campaign, but if you didn’t know better, you’d think they were writing about two entirely different races.
The P-I pastes its four-column headline across the top of the fold, boldly declaring:
Rossi run for governor?
All signs point to yes
A photo of Dino Rossi accompanies the headline with a caption quoting a party insider as saying close advisors “feel 100 percent confident that he is in.” And Neil Modie’s lede is equally blunt:
He doesn’t admit it, but Dino Rossi seems to have made up his mind to run again for governor.
Even as the 2004 Republican nominee faces an investigation of whether he illegally used his public policy foundation as a front for a 2008 campaign, he reportedly is moving toward an announcement of his candidacy sooner than he has indicated. Some of his 2004 campaign operatives have been touting his 2008 prospects.
The story? Everybody who is anybody says Rossi is running for governor… except for the candidate himself, who continues to officially hide behind his so-called foundation. The race is on, and “officially,” probably sooner than later.
Ralph Thomas’ story in the Times, on the other hand, appears on B1 (I haven’t yet seen a print copy,) and presents an entirely different take on the governor’s race:
Gregoire gearing up for ’08
OLYMPIA — If money matters — and who in politics would suggest otherwise? — the state Republican Party has a problem.
Though the 2008 election is more than a year away, Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire already has raised nearly $2.7 million in campaign cash. The Republicans, meanwhile, still don’t have a candidate for governor.
The story? Gov. Gregoire is raising big money, but the Republicans… they don’t even have a candidate yet!
It’s not until more than halfway through the article that Thomas even mentions the status of Rossi’s efforts, and when he does, he initially allows Republicans to characterize it in their own words:
Like most Republicans, Esser is hoping former state Sen. Dino Rossi — who barely lost to Gregoire in the 2004 election — will soon announced a rematch. In their last race, Rossi matched Gregoire nearly dollar for dollar in fundraising.
Rossi has said he will decide by the end of the year whether to run.
486 words into the 600 word piece — well beyond the attention span of many readers — Thomas finally mentions that Rossi has not been “sitting idle,” but again allows him to characterize his own efforts:
For months, he has been traveling the state, giving speeches and raising money on behalf of the Forward Washington Foundation, a nonprofit group he formed last year.
Rossi says Forward Washington is simply an effort to engage the public in finding solutions to the state’s biggest problems.
It is only in the closing paragraphs that Thomas briefly presents what “Democrats contend”….
But Democrats contend it is a de facto “Rossi for Governor” campaign. They point out that, at his Forward Washington gatherings, Rossi uses many of the same pitches that he used in 2004.
In July, the state Democratic Party filed a complaint accusing Rossi of using the foundation to sidestep state campaign-disclosure laws. That complaint is being investigated by the state Public Disclosure Commission.
Compare that to Modie, who spends the bulk of his P-I article — and nearly 600 words of bullet points — laying out the evidence that Rossi is in fact running for governor, including a rather definitive quote from Tacoma News Tribune editorial page editor David Seago, who blogging after “an informal ed board” interview with Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, wrote: “McKenna said there’s no doubt Rossi’s going for it.”
Notice that like Thomas and Modie I have up until now attempted to avoid editorializing. As far as I know, neither Thomas nor Modie got a single fact wrong; likewise, I have made a sincere attempt to present an accurate and neutral close reading in an effort to understand how a typical reader’s perception of the governor’s race might be shaped, depending on which paper they read. I do not believe that my characterization of the two articles was any more consciously biased than the articles themselves.
That said, no doubt I prefer Modie’s take, and believe it presents a more accurate, nuanced and useful understanding of the current state of the governor’s race. It probably could have benefited from a paragraph or two on Gregoire’s fundraising lead, but “Incumbent raises buckets of cash” is not exactly a “Man bites dog” sorta headline… which I suppose explains why Thomas’ money-focused article ran on B1 instead of A1.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not intending to impugn Thomas’ motives or his reporting skills, and the Democrats’ impressive statewide money lead is certainly newsworthy; these are two different articles focusing on two different aspects of the same race. But the fact that the Times and the P-I, on the very same day, would so dramatically diverge on the status of Rossi’s candidacy, gives lie to the traditional paradigm that proclaims objectivity as even a possible, let alone worthy journalistic pursuit. Modie’s lede claims Rossi has “made up his mind to run again for governor,” whereas Thomas’ lede says Republicans “still don’t have a candidate.” Both are technically correct, but I’d wager political insiders from both parties would privately acknowledge that Modie’s take is the more accurate characterization of Rossi’s intentions.
Think about it. Rossi will certainly generate obligatory headlines when he finally and officially announces his candidacy, and I suppose the event will be at least as newsworthy as the first half-dozen or so of Mike McGavick’s many campaign kickoffs. But should Rossi shock the political and media establishment by announcing that he will not seek the governor’s mansion, well, that would be a huge story. Modie’s lede acknowledges this on the ground reality. Thomas’ lede does not.
Two newspapers, one governor’s race, two very different takes on Dino Rossi’s intentions. Objectivity just isn’t all its cracked up to be.
Who gives a shit…The PI won’t be around long enough to see the end of the governor’s race, lmao!
Dino is Washington’s answer to Fred Thompson.
Except one is a bad actor, and the other is running for President.
“Dino is Washington’s answer to Fred Thompson.
Except one is a bad actor, and the other is running for President.”
Don’t quite understand what the question is.
Daddy Love spews:
I got yer objectivity right here!
The challenger is raising bucketloads of cash too – from BIAW.
The drumbeat should be: Rossi open the books of your “foundation”. The people have a right to know how much you are bought and paid for by BIAW.
I picked up a copy of the Kitsap Business Journal last week to read on the ferry, and found it has a whole multi-page center section ballyhooing the BIAW…talking about how its members are building “green” houses, and also crowing about how they’re fighting “massive voter registration fraud” in King County.
eponymous coward spews:
I wonder if a souffle is going to rise twice. I don’t think the Gregoire campaign is going to treat this like a victory lap, or let Rossi paint himself as a moderate.
That being said, Jeb Bush needed two bites at the apple to win HIS governor’s seat, and my guess is that Rossi’s campagin is going to be a rehash of “hey, we need a counterblance to 20+ years of D’s in charge”… which may work reasonably well if, say, the RTID ballot melts down from attacks from the left and right, 99 and 520 are still being talked about endlessly with no resolution in sight, the Sonics are in the middle of leaving, and so on. Rossi will do a “where’s the leadership” theme, and it might strike a chord.
Gregoire doesn’t strike me as very bold, and a big problem that I see is that she and the Ds in the Leg are very incrementalist. Yeah, we have parental leave, but it’s not paid for yet. We haven’t tried dramatically expanding health care. WTF is the point of a big majority if all you’re going to do is chip away at some things?
WTF is the point of a big majority if all you’re going to do is chip away at some things?
Exactly – the next things Dems should tackle with their supermajority is significant tax reform. The Dems should CUT all REGRESSIVE taxes and pay for it with an income tax that is in the mainstream of the 43 other states with the same thing.
However CG must be re-elected for this to happen.
proud leftist spews:
This state’s media gave Rossi a pass the last time around. Gregoire ran a poor campaign. Hopefully, neither will occur again. If Rossi is the best this state’s GOP can come up with for governor, then those folks are in a sad state of affairs.
“If Rossi is the best this state’s GOP can come up with for governor”
It may be more a matter of the neocons and the BIAW. That’s pretty sad, considering the past. I’d be happier with John Carlson running again than I would with Rossi.
Paddy Mac spews:
“…continues to officially hide behind his so-called foundation.”
Hey, his (unnamed) advisers claims that he’s really, like, totally considering maybe following the law! That’s so kewl!1!! After Nixon and Watergate; Reagan/Bush and Iran-Contra; G.W. Bush, the neo-cons, and everything they’ve done, it’s rad to have an ‘R’ who even considers that he might possibly think about considering the idea that a law — an actual law — might have some slightly tangential application to his royal self. How totally, like self-effacing of him!
Bill Anderson spews:
Seems like a non story. Gregoire is running and so is Rossi. Big deal.
To win, be the better candidate…get more votes.
My Left Foot spews:
Fer sure, man. Right on.
Broadway Joe spews:
Dino has no chance whatsoever. Hell, the R’s in general have no chance whatsoever. Mike the Mover has a better chance to win the Governor’s office than the R’s.
Deal with it.
Steve Zemke MajorityRulesBlog spews:
The BIAW has already spent some $125,000 this year through their “Walking for Rossi” PAC. They are paying people to go door to door asking voters a series of questions to help microtarget their interests for select door drops and targeted mail like in 2004. Their first question is “Who would you vote for to be Governor – Rossi or Gregoire?”
The BIAW spent lavishly in 2004 helping Rossi and succeeded in electing Rob McKenna as AG with their independent expenditures. McKenna afterwards thanked them for their efforts.
Amazingly this year they claim to the PDC that they are not making any independent expenditures for or against any local or state candidates.
They are as truthful as Rossi when he says he has not yet made up his mind to run.
The truthfulness and honesty of candidates while they are running is a good indication of just how truthful they will be once they are elected.
Elect Rossi and you’ll have the BIAW at his side in the Governor’s office tearing down growth management and repealing environmental regulations.
Particle Man spews:
This race will not be a blow out. Dino has been in for months and almost everything has been funded by one or two large “partners” who have given far more than the legal limit. Dino has been given a free pass on so many ethical issues over the years and the press continues to hold back while salivating over the prospect of his 2nd run.
Well, I say screw the free pass. It’s game on Dino. It is time for you to sit your family down and tell them the truth so they can hear about all of your lies from you first Dino old buddy. Tell your kids how daddy leveraged his office as Senator for personal gain and tell them about thousands of dollars in commissions daddy never really earned.
And how about being honest with the people of this state you act so concerned about. Why bend and break every rule Dino? When will it be enough for you? Eventually you will bring shame on our state and your family?
So where did the 2.5 million that Gregoire has in her treasure chest come from? Labor union pacts, Indian gaming areas, State and government hacks, and you are complaining about the BIAW. I though they only put blinders on Jackass’s..
It will be a damn fun race to watch, and Rossi will run in 2008. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain!
It will be a damn fun race to watch, and Rossi will run in 2008.
Wonder of wonders! I agree with Gassy Poopyhead. It will be damn fun to see that BIAW bought and sold real estate hack have his ass handed to him by voters that are sick and tired of Republican lies and corruption.
If you really want to know where Gregoire’s money came from, all you need to do is check her PDC reports. Rossi’s money on the other hand… not so much.
the fact the PI prints the Dem party leaning story is not news to any of us on the right…
PI a low grade lefty organ. Times almost as biased.
Facts Support My Positions spews:
Just remember, the only voter fraud in the ’04 Governor’s election…… was Dino Rossi.
Anyone thinking “any” Republicon is good for government should seek help immediately.
Tell you what “values party” folks. See how many pages you can seduce, or cops you can solicit sex from. How many 5 year old girls you can “go easy” on.
How many gay hating gay Talibangelical meth heads you can get advice from.
If the Repuclicons could turn hypocrisy into a campaign theme, the could easily win it all!
Like the small government (sic) conservatives who doubled our national debt….. Ignored dozens of warnings, and allowed 9-11 to happen. Filled every single post with political hacks bent on destroying government.
Republicons are a disease, and the sooner their party dies off the better. You are bad for Washington, The U.S. and the world.
By the way. How is the Abramoff gang doing these days? Duke? Ney? Stevens Jr. Soon Sr. I hear Foley will get off scot free since the statute of limitations for soliciting sex from a minor over the internet lapsed. Good for him!
The cons are only good at one thing. Ignoring reality. Maybe they can run on the fantasyland platform. Government in the shape of Brownie’s FEMA. Gonzales’s Justice Dept. Rumsfeld’s military.
Facts Support My Positions spews:
Pooooor Dino. Maybe he will pretend he is not really a Republicon like Mc Gavick tried to do.
I just can’t wait till the Talibangelicals try to form their own party, and pull out from the hypocrite party.
It seems the Talibangelicals are pro life, and the Republicons are into corpse creation above all else. Hell, they even want to bomb Iran. Corpses, corpses, and more corpses. Go Cheney Go! Soon they will have to start burying all the Iraqi men women and children in mass graves because it takes too much time to dig all those holes.
Particle Man spews:
GS @ 18 you are missing the legal issue all together. Campaign contribution limits and full disclosure laws are designed by a bipartisan commission in the interest of taking corruption out of politics. The forward Rossi campaign has collected $70,000 to $100,000 from single contributors (this is 14-20 times the legal limit) and has failed to reveal the contributors name and political interest to the public.
Dino’s intent is to evade the law and this follows a long pattern for him. A candidate having a proclivity toward corrupt behaviour is an important issue.
Daddy Love spews:
Yeah, printing that a candidate/non-candidate who is pretty clearly running for governmor is pretty clearly running for governor is SUCH an example of the left-wing bias…of REALITY.
Anybody who employs Lou Guzzo to speak for him comes to the gunfight with a water pistol.
Why is the Greogire campaign spending so much money so early? She only has 1.7 million of the 2.6 million raised!
Hello? Why? She will need the money to stop the nuts later.
@23, Evangelicals leaving the Republicans???
What a cheering concept.
Go, theocrats, go…..