Monday, June 23, 2008
MSNBC Continues the Kos Meme on Berkowitz vs. Young
MSNBC did an Ethan Berkowitz the musher story today. It was called Way Up North....
About a musher who doesn't actually exist.
It described two races - not dogsled races - that also don't exist. The Ethan Berkowitz-Don Young race, or - if something the article can't describe happens - the Ethan Berkowitz Sean Parnell race.
Berkowitz has worked with dog teams here and there over the years, from Antarctica to Spenard. But his mushing creds run rather short. Don Young has taken numerous photo ops over the years on dogsleds, with mushers, giving out awards to teams at the ends of races. I'm not aware of any mushing pictures of Sean Parnell out there, but there have to be some, eh?
The MSNBC article, by L. D. Kirshenbaum, fails to mention that Ethan Berkowitz isn't running his dogs against Young or Parnell. He may not get to.
To its credit, the Berkowitz campaign web page hasn't yet linked to Kirshenbaum's piece of failed journalism. Instead, they put up a header on their press page today describing his Sunday debate in Fairbanks with the musher he's got to beat, Diane Benson. The header says:
Democrats Benson, Berkowitz agree on energy, attack Young
It is the first time either campaign has acknowledged their opponent in a campaign page header. Hats off to Ethan's new campaign team. They probably found some new found respect for Benson in the Sunday debate in Fairbanks, hosted by the Fairbanks Democrats.
When I first started volunteering for Diane Benson, two years ago, she described something quite moving. When she got back to Chugiak from attending to her son and other wounded warriors in early 2006, she saw hers and her son's dogs were restless from inattention, lack of exercise. She checked them out, gave them lots of pats and hugs and soft words.
Diane and Latseen didn't have a lot of dogs by serious mushing standards, but she got a good team together, mixing her son's dogs with her own.
She ran them hard. For several days. The dogs loved it!
She cried a lot.
Soon afterward, Diane Benson began her race to truly represent us.
I doubt the Berkowitz campaign has anything to do with the false meme portrayed by Markos Moulitsas at DailyKos and by MNBC's article today, that Benson's campaign doesn't exist. I over-reacted back in early May, blaming part of this myth's advancement on Jake Metcalfe and Ethan, after seeing continuing neglect of Benson's fight, in an injudicious way. I'm learning.
But two things strike me as important, as the MSNBC article continues this false narrative. The first is that Alaskans resent it when outsiders like Moulitsas and MSNBC totally misunderstand what is happening in Alaska. The second is that the Berkowitz campaign may or may not wish to continue taking advantage of this myth, as they did to raise money based on Kos's articles.
Update - Tuesday, 11:00a.m: Steve at What Do I Know? is also piqued by the MSNBC article's errors of omission.
A commenter notes that since PA posted this essay, the Berkowitz campaign has linked to the egregious MSNBC story.