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.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Objectivity is apparently not important to the Seattle Times

On Tuesday, the Seattle Times ran an article by reporter Andrew Garber about five proposed ballot measures (four of them right wing) which have active campaigns behind them (I-937, I-917, I-920, I-933, R-65).

The article, which wasn't very long, included a summary of the five ballot measure and the website address for the each of proponents - but not the opponents, even though there are in fact websites online opposing all but one of the measures mentioned.

In response, I wrote a letter the same day, on behalf of NPI, which the Times has not printed. (Maybe they will print it, but I'm guessing they probably won't):
Editor, The Times:

Recently, The Times ran a short article about statewide initiatives with active campaigns [An initiative sampler, Local News, May 9th] by reporter Andrew Garber. I was disappointed to discover that The Times chose to promote the websites of the various initiatives’ proponents – but not their opponents. For a news organization that values objectivity, I believe that is a serious oversight.

For the record, here are the addresses of known opposition websites to all but one of the initiatives in the article:

No on Initiative 917
No on Initiative 920
No on Initiative 933
Yes on Referendum 65

The Times owes it to its readers to carefully present both sides of an issue – not just one side. I hope such an oversight will not occur in the future.

Andrew Villeneuve
Executive Director, Northwest Progressive Institute
By pointing readers to proponents' websites (and thereby aiding proponents' efforts) but not doing the same for opponents, the Seattle Times is sending the message that objectivity and quality journalism - which it claims to value - are not important.

Websites for different sides of an issue can easily be found through a search engine. Google "No on Initiative 917", for instance, and you'll find Permanent Defense's website on the first page.

There is no excuse for this careless oversight.

If the Times is indeed a respectable news organization, they would acknowledge their omission by printing my letter. But I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

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