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Posts published in “Day: October 5, 2010”

Tuning out

Aaron Brown, the former CNN reporter now teaching journalism in Arizona, had some crisp things to say about the state of TV news when he returned to his old haunt in Seattle. Brown, who used to work for KING-TV and KIRO-TV, spoke this week to the Municipal League of King County.

In his column on the speech, Joel Connelly (of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) quotes him, "Do you realize that 90 percent of what's on news today is embarrassing, not only to Mrs. Bullitt [long-time owner of KING] were she still alive but to those of us who worked in the business."

And: "How should viewers respond to demagoguery on their screens? Turn off your TV, Brown advised."

That advice gets some space here whenever it is made.

Common sense?

common sense
In the mail

It says important, highlighted in red, so it must be. Now if only they'd tell us why.

It's an unusual come-on. It breathlessly urges the recipient (our household got two, one for each registered voter) to detach and return a card showing which of our two local state House candidates we'd support. The two in our district are the incumbent, Republican Jim Weidner, and Democratic challenger Susan Sokol Blosser. (An analysis aside: In this year, Weidner has to be considered the favorite, but Blosser is well-known and has run an intensive campaign, so the contest has to be considered competitive.)

The sheet says, "Your opinion matters. That's why we're asking you to review your two choices for State Representative and send in the card of the candidate you favor. It only takes a few second and postage has already been paid." Well ... my opinion as a voter may matter, but what follows from that is that I should vote. Our first question was, how many people may think that in doing this, they've already voted?

The other immediate question was, who is Common Sense for Oregon (their logo but not their mailing address calls them a political action committee) and what do they want the cards for? They don't say.

There are clues.

One is in the description of the two candidates, which is a work of some subtlety. The first sentences describing Weidner and Blosser are bland family statements. But Blosser's goes on to say she is "endorsed" (not nominated, which would be the correct term) by the Democratic and Independent parties; that she "supports abortion and same sex marriage" without qualification; supports a string of tax increases; that she has hired illegal immigrants; and so on. Weidner, in the description, opposes tax increases and abortion and illegal immigration, supports "traditional marriage," and "owns a small business that helps large production plants run more efficiently." You get the idea.

The second is the filing in the Oregon Secretary of State's office for Common Sense for Oregon PAC, which lists as its directors Ross Day and Kevin Mannix. Mannix is the former Republican candidate for governor, attorney general and the U.S. House, and former state GOP chair. Day previously led Oregonians in Action, which (like Mannix) was heavily involved in conservative ballot issues, most notably the land use Measure 37. Its web site emphasizes opposition to government waste.

So back to the questions: What does this partisan group plan to do with the cards? Why did it send out the mailing with no indication of what its leanings or intentions were? Why this race? What's going on here?

Among others ...