Sunday, December 26, 2004

Welcome to the Sunday Spin Zone

The "conservative" right wing amps up the rhetoric against an immenent Gregoire victory with, "The Democratic Coup in the State of Washington." The headline tips its wacko thesis. Expect more of the same in a variety of media and contexts. For example, having just recently discovered the "irregularities" in Ohio, the New York Times now trains its investigative eyes on the Evergreen State this morning with, "Recounts and Partisan Bickering Tire Washington Voters." This one irks me more, because of its veneer of credibility. Here's my beef: The article claims "Other voters said the close results and newly found and erroneously rejected ballots here in King County, the state's most populous and strongly Democratic county, made them deeply suspicious of the integrity of the election process and left them wondering if the results from previous close elections were accurate." So, who are the "others" cited? ONE VOTER, age 23, who voted for the first time for Gregoire and says "Democratic Party election workers had tried to contact her five or six times to have her complete an affidavit showing her signature was valid." And based on this, the article can claim "others are deeply suspicious?" I smell blatant spin, something the New York Times has been accused of with increasing frequency of late: Florida 2000, Iraq war, Dean candidacy, etc. On Sunday, Seattle becomes a one newspaper town, perhaps giving us a glimpse into the post-Joint Operating Agreement future. The news story from the Times, "Votes tallied for governor, but what's next is unclear," gives us a milder, Seattle-style hatchet job on Gregoire and the possibility of her ascension to the governor's office. It raises all kinds of questions, including a critique of Gregoire's campaign and manages to say not one positive word about her, while describing Rossi as an "affable and accomplished campaigner." They also could have said he ran from his legislative record and was purposefully vague about his stands on a range of issues from abortion rights to social services. Finally, the Times article claims "no one is sure about what happens next," when, in fact, their own story on Friday described the position of this state's Secretary of State, the elected official with the legal responsibility and authority to oversee and certify this election, thusly: "Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican, said he considers the race over." This would seem to completely contradict their own headline in today's newspaper. Can an ad from "Washington Voters for Truth" be far behind?

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