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Posts published in “Day: September 23, 2007”

Craig in review 2: Rights and wrongs

On Wednesday, Idaho Senator Larry Craig's disorderly conduct case will return to a Minnesota courtroom; there, he is attempting to withdraw his plea of guilty, and service of his sentence, on the charge. Within a few days after that, the Northwest's senior senator (and its second most senior member of Congress) may - or may not - resign from the Senate. This the second of four essays considering the case, its causes and its effects.

Larry Craig

Larry Craig

We've spoken over the years from time to time with Roll Call, the newspaper which covers Capitol Hill, about Northwest politics and politicians - members of Congress and their doings are Roll Call's subject matter. Vastly less well known than the Washington Post, it is much more focused, closer to - but still less known than - the Congressional Quarterly, but more immediate in its reports. it may be closest in feel to The Hill, also a newspaper focusing on Congress.

All of these publications are professional, solid and serious. They are not supermarket tabloids, and none of them are where you ordinarily would expect to see an expose about bathroom sex. Yet there it was, on August 27 - Roll Call breaking the political story of the week (month? season?). When it did, it did so not the way some others might: It arrived with police and court reports in hand. This was a story about a senator's run-in with the law, a run-in hidden from view for more than two months.

But the intersecting subjects of Idaho Senator Larry Craig, gay sex and news reporting has a long and varied history, fit for consideration in college journalism schools coast to coast. (College preferably, since some of the details probably are R-rated.) Eventually, and maybe not too far off, we'll all see lots of hand-wringing by the usual hand-wringers about how the Craig story was handled over the years, then days and hours after it hit. While events still are fresh, let's check off a report card on the rights and wrongs.

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Baird at Olympia, etc.

Not long after our first post on Washington Representative Brian Baird's August 27 town hall meeting at Vancouver, we fielded a comment from a reader questioning whether the local response there - to Baird's urging for more time for the troops in Iraq - was as harsh as we portrayed it. (We weren't clear in reading it whether that person had attended or not.)

We definitely think it was. Today, we saw an item in the Olympian, about a Biard town hall at Capitol High School at Olympia on Friday, that sounds like a rerun of Vancouver.

The Brad Shannon article started: "It started with a few chants of 'bring them home.' And for most of the next four hours, U.S. Rep. Brian Baird did what he could to explain to a sometimes-boisterous crowd why he favors keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for a longer term. . . . Several people in the crowd of more than 200 at a town hall meeting at Capital High School said they had supported Baird but probably won't in the future. And they weren't convinced Baird had outlined a valid, continuing U.S. interest in Iraq."