I've written here about Don Young Bipolar Disorder at the Anchorage Daily News. And I've been critical in the past of some of the fuzzy softballs they love to throw Ted's way in the next few days after they've had to print an article critical of one or another of St. Ted's increasingly serious lapses.
But I had an experience late this morning with Editorial Page Editor Matt Zencey, that has left a foul taste in my mouth.
On July 9, early in the morning, the ADN published a Community Voices column by Linda Kellen Biegel, criticizing Sen. Stevens' endorsement of a book by Canadian author Mark Steyn, that is viewed by many as supportive of eliminationist rhetoric and causes. It is also Islamophobic. Linda's column was very reasoned.
Soon after it was posted, two comments showed up. Here they are:
God Bless Ted Stevens! -- I for one am sick and tired of people pointing the racist finger. Americans should not have to walk on eggshells so they don't "offend" anyone. If you feel so strongly about this I suggest moving to the Mid East and try to fit in. I am sure they will welcome you in with open arms. Especially if your white.
There's a plane leaving -- every few minutes that will get you to some better place where you can live under the laws of the religion of peace. Don't let the door knob hit you in the butt.
Within a few minutes of the second comment's posting, they both disappeared. Comments were then closed on the article until early this afternoon. They appear to once again be "on." That function was probably turned back on in the early afternoon on Friday.
What Matt Zencey told me late this morning, regarding comments to Linda's article and their being turned off was this:
"There was a large slug of racist comments, soon after the article was put up. Technical people had to deal with it in the middle of the night."
I asked Zencey if I could speak at some time to the "technical people." He told me that this would be "doubtful." I asked if there was a way I could see the comments that had been removed. He said "there's no way that's going to happen."
I asked if there was somebody else who could help in my interest in seeing the removed comments. He transferred me to Pat Dougherty's answering machine, where I left a request to obtain more information.
I didn't let Matt know that I had watched the comments being shut down before "a large slug of racist comments" showed up. Along with several other interested people. Nor did I tell him about the information I got from Washington, D.C. yesterday, indicating the ADN had been under pressure from Ted Stevens' office on Linda's article before it was published, indicating the ADN may have sent a copy of the article there before publication.
I feel quite uncomfortable with Mr. Zencey's explanation, which clearly differs from mine and others' experience regarding the handling of the article's comments.
Alaskans need to realize that this is serious.
The ADN's refusal to address the very important issue that Sen. Stevens is painting himself as an advocate for reforming energy speculation regulations that Ted is largely responsible for having created is even more serious. Stevens' advocacy of the legislation that is costing Alaskans millions of dollars per day is the most important story yet of the Alaska Senatorial campaign, yet the ADN and other Alaska media outlets have refused, so far, to cover it.
Update - Tuesday 10:00 a.m: an e-mail I received Sunday, reprinted with permission of the author:
Read your piece on ADN on Ak Rpt suggesting Ted Stevens may have gotten drafts of articles in advance of printing. That's not hard to believe for me because others were doing it too. Stuff I wrote about Ben Stevens was forwarded to Ben even while I was waiting for a printing decision from the Alaska Fishermen's Journal editor. That resulted in a threatening call form Ben before I heard back from the editor who by the way is now a scribe for Trident Seafoods.
And I think the draft went to Ted too because shortly after that I got an invite from a third party for an expenses paid trip to DC to interview Ted. The only catch was that it was suggested the interview might go better if I held off publishing my article until after the meeting with Ted.
photo of Sen. Stevens from the Whittier Historical Museum