It was one of the great lines of the year from a Northwest political figure, and on Monday morning it came from Tim Eyman:
"Feel like you've been duped this morning? Well, you have."
There were two levels to this.
One is the truly jokey side. Hisotircally prone to dressing up in costumes when delivering initiative petitions to the Secretary of State's office (is there some comment here on Eyman's psyche?), Eyman turned himself into Darth Vader as he walked up to the office. His organization had let out that he would be carrying petition signatures with him. He was - but he wasn't turning them in. The petitions he was carrying had to do with the $30 car tab issue, and the reporters who glommed on to him and gave him loads of air time and print space had been gulled into thinking (Eyman hadn't said so specifically) that he would be bringing petitions on an anti-gay rights initiative. No, they weren't (and evidently he doesn't yet know whether he'll be able to collect enough signatures for that effort).
No, it was all in the interest of getting himself and his cause another day's worth of free news media attention.
Fair enough, from his point of view.
So, on the second level: How many more times will the news media allow itself to be conned, and used, this way?
UPDATE: We wrote too soon on suggesting that Eyman's ploy was harmless. Consider this from David Postman's Seattle Times blog:
"The secretary of state's office had brought in two temporary workers in anticipation of processing petitions a day before the referendum deadline. Those workers were then sent home, though by state work rules, each were paid for two hours of work. A third worker was taken from other chores to stand by for the petitions that Eyman told the office he was bringing down." So much for the advocate of cutting government spending.