Politics, Media, and Who Said What


The GOP's wooing of George Nethercutt continues. Last week, Republicans kept pushing in their effort to get the U.S. representative from Spokane to take on Washington's senior senator, Democrat Patty Murray, in 2004. A poll conducted by the Tarrance Group for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Nethercutt was leaked to the Hotlinethe National Journal's Web site of daily political briefings. The poll showed that only 41 percent of Washingtonians think Murray "deserves re-election," while 39 percent want someone else. Washington's GOP seized on that low "deserves re-election" number, pointing out that it was identical to the findings of a Democratic firm's poll on former Sen. Slade Gorton the year before he lost. Washington's Democrats fired back that last week, a poll by Andres McKenna Research found that only 40 percent of Americans thought President George W. Bush deserved re-election. Is it time to update the old saw? There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies, and polling numbers. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.


Every May, local publications cast aside fairness and thoroughness to brag about how they kicked butt in the annual five-state journalism competition sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, based on results announced at an always-interminable weekend awards banquet. In Sunday's Seattle Times, we see that Washington's biggest paper won 53 awards, more than anyone else in the universe, including 12 for first place, and that soon-to-retire managing editor Alex MacLeod won the June Anderson Almquist Award for Distinguished Service to Journalism. Oh, and by the way, says the unnamed Times writer in paragraph eight: Sharing the award with MacLeod was retiring Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorial page editor Joann Byrd. Not to be outdone, and proving that there's always a way to spin the numbers, Monday's P-I informs us that the we-try-harder paper won 34 awards, including 15 for first place"more first-place awards than any other Washington newspaper." The P-I addsalso, and possibly coincidentally, in paragraph eightthat the Times won the Sweepstakes Award for receiving the most awards overall, although the actual number of Times awards seems to elude the anonymous P-I writer. Seattle Weekly won the Sweepstakes Award itself in the weeklies category, with 22 awards, six of them for first place. But none of this means anything when you consider that P-I editorial cartoonist David Horsey, who won a Pulitzer Prize last month, could only muster third place in the regional competition, losing out to artists at the Anchorage Daily News and the Oregonian of Portland. CHUCK TAYLOR


The most memorable quote from last week's $16 million Hollywood-style staging of a dirty-bomb attack on Seattle had to be either Mayor Greg Nickels' announcement that "homeland security begins at home" (a TV clip of which made it onto the Comedy Central channel), or Deputy Police Chief Clark Kimerer's lament over the journalists portrayed by actors who grilled city officials with tough, aggressive questioning: "It made me miss our local reporters," Kimerer said in a lap-dog kind of way. RICK ANDERSON


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