Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thoughts on the Election...

The one thing that has struck me like a 2x4 to the side of the head about this election has been the decided mean spiritedness, as well as the blatantly naked partisanship shown by the news media. The notion the news media is anything even close to neutral, and reports in a fair and unbiased manner so voters can make informed choices based on facts, and not political prejudices, is the biggest lie ever perpetrated on American voters.

To say John McCain — and especially Sarah Palin — received anything even close to neutral coverage from the TV networks is absolutely laughable. The national media clearly supported Barrak Obama and endured John McCain. Since the media couldn’t make any mud stick to Palin, it criticized her for absurd things — her wardrobe, and for getting a makeover. Judging from past photos and news footage, it’s obvious Hillary Clinton has had some serious cosmetic surgery. Did we hear anything from the media about that? Of course not. That wasn’t “relevant.” But that kind of thing sure was when it came to Palin.

Frankly, I admire Palin for enduring all the vicious personal attacks with a patience and graciousness I’m not sure Hillary would have been able to pull off.

Another example: Joe Biden predicts within six months one of America’s adversaries is going to “test the mettle” of Obama. But when Sen. Joe Lieberman said essentially the same thing in July, he was vilified by both Obama supporters and the media.

What I found most appalling was the lack of media coverage of Biden’s statement. I believe that’s because it came so close to election day, it had the potential to scare presumed Obama supporters into voting for McCain. Had Sarah Palin made that statement, it would have been front page news. Yet Biden gets a free pass. Go figure.

And then there was that whole Saturday Night Live parody of Palin that ran ad nauseum on the news shows and late night talk shows. Perhaps the Republicans should have demanded equal time.

You just have to wonder about the outcome had the coverage been absolutely unbiased and facts reported unfiltered by personal opinion.

Locally, there wasn’t even the pretense of neutrality. In fact, someone on one of the Kitsap Sun’s blogs suggested the paper rename itself the Kitsap Democrat in order to reflect its obvious political bias.

Another poster went as far as to offer the paper’s blog readers a bet — that the Sun would endorse every Democrat from Obama, and Christine Gregoire to Charlotte Garrido. I found it especially telling that not a single reader challenged that possibility. In the end, except for a lukewarm, token endorsement of Republican Jan Angel over Kim Abel — but stating clearly it wouldn’t discourage voters from supporting Abel — the Sun endorsed every local Democrat. Why bother even trying to hide bias behind tokenism?

Finally, our governor’s race was the dirtiest, nastiest, most vile political campaign I’ve ever had the personal displeasure to cover. Christine Gregoire couldn’t run on her record of massive taxation and creating the largest deficit in state history, so she and her supporters unleashed a relentlessly coordinated series of ruthless attack ads assaulting Dino Rossi’s character, and outright lying about the budget deficit, his voting record as member of the legislature and his positions on stem cell research, the minimum wage, insurance deregulation, congestion relief, and a host of other things.

Gregoire lied to our faces in a TV commercial about supporting an income tax. She lied about those 1,300 missing sex offenders as well as her law enforcement endorsements — even enlisting Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Hague to do a commercial perpetuating that lie. The truth is, almost every police officers union in the state endorsed Dino Rossi.

Gregoire said during the campaign she has never supported a state income tax. Yet there’s video taken during her April 24, 2007 interview with the Spokesman Review in Spokane clearly proving her to be a liar. It shows her stating we need a partial conversion over to a state income tax and that. "it’s a good idea."

The day after, the paper quoted her as saying this during that interview about an income tax: “…it’s just not the right time to push for it, because the public hasn’t sufficiently been educated on the merits.”

She clearly supports an income tax, and her own words have once again trapped her in yet another blatant lie.

Gregoire supporters funded attack ads centered on Rossi’s relationship with the BIAW, drawing heavy media coverage of two PDC complaints and two lawsuits filed based on those complaints, in an obvious attempt to discredit BIAW and forcibly sever its relationship with Rossi. Yet the media failed to report the outcomes — both PDC complaints were dismissed, and both lawsuits were thrown out of court.

Meanwhile, most of the local media neglected to even report on a PDC complaint filed against Gregoire’s campaign over out-of-state PAC money she accepted that was deemed illegal, or the $1+million in illegal money from Evergreen Progress that had to be returned, or even follow up the the tribal gaming issue and that $140 million giveaway, plus the $650,000 in tribal contributions funneled to Gregoire's campaign by the state party. There’s clearly a double standard at work here.

A lawsuit filed by two former state Supreme Court justices and Gregoire supporters — Faith Ireland and Robert Utter — by attorneys Robert Withey and Knoll Lowney, who have a history of filing frivilous, politically-motivated lawsuits, indicate Gregoire may challenge the election in court if Rossi wins. The lawyers say their on-going efforts to find BIAW and Rossi guilty of something, could serve as the foundation for a legal challenge should he win. How lame.

Using the court system as a last ditch attempt to stay in office, shows the absolute depth of Christine Gregoire’s desperation — even after months of failed attempts to scam the courts into defunding and silencing BIAW’s opposition. Personally, I think she should just accept the will of the voters.

But I have to wonder if the media’s blatantly irresponsible bias in this election hasn’t polarized us as a nation to the point of no return. As a member of the Fourth Estate, I’m ashamed to admit, I’m afraid so.

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