Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Tim's multi-paper column spree

Both David Goldstein (Goldy) and I are appalled that Tim Eyman has managed to secure as much free publicity as he has in recent days.

He's played the state's op-ed pages like a fiddle. He has a column this morning in the Seattle Times and yesterday he had one in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Not to mention columns in the Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, and Wenatchee World (subscription required), all in recent days.

Eyman doesn't deserve any of this. He's accomplished nothing during the last two to three years, and yet he is treated by editorial page editors like royalty.

The state's op-ed pages can do better. Tim is less than a mediocre writer - he's a pitiful, lousy writer. His columns are nothing more than recycled talking points from his e-mails coupled with ranting and rambling at the courage of elected officials to do what it takes to tackle our state's toughest problems.

Tim would destroy all of that. If he gets his way, we'll be mired in deficits and stuck in gridlock for decades to come - not to mention our communities will deteoriate.

Unless he is refuted, people will buy his talk because the temptation to think only of one's pocketbook is simply too great. Unless people understand the profound consequences, they will be won over.

Tim has a gift for deception and salesmanship. He'll use that gift to the full extent possible. He's good at getting people to think only in their self-interest and forget about the needs and benefits of living in a community.

The newspaper editors that printed Tim's columns should be ashamed for falling over each other and giving Tim space to write column after column. Three of the papers even ran the same column - one of Tim's rehashed e-mails.

Why reward a paid politician like Tim with column after column when Eyman hasn't even achieved anything? He's 0 for 4 in his last four attempt to pass an initiative. Apparently, his failures haven't affected his media clout very much yet.

The op-ed pages of our newspapers are too valuable to waste on people like Tim. Newspaper editors should get some real local talent for their op-ed pages, or get guest commentary from local officials and state legislators.

While we're on this topic, I thought I'd share this advice from the Seattle Times Company for op-ed writers:
DON'T submit the same piece to different papers at the same time. Editors hate to see a piece on their desk appear in a nearby paper. As a general rule, ride one horse at a time.
Apparently, that isn't true because three different editors for three different newspapers each approved Tim's rehashed email as a column in their respective newspapers.

And then, after Tim had gotten four other columns in four other newspapers, the Times was willing to give him a fifth. It's absolutely ridiculous.

If Evergreen State newspapers are willing to so freely give Tim all this op-ed space, they should allow opponents - including us - the same amount of space for a response. Newspapers are known to pride themselves on allowing both sides of an issue to present their viewpoints and arguments.

If they won't do that, then the current state of Washington's newspapers is op-ed pages is very regrettable.

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