Thursday, July 3, 2008

Who Are The Real Journalists - Hopkins & Bolstad -- or Zaki?

Some days I learn a lot from the Anchorage Daily News. Today I learned that Kyle Hopkins either doesn't know that Sen. Ted Stevens, along with Sen. Phil Gramm is responsible for about - as Stevens seems to be bragging - "35% of the price of oil," or - he doesn't care.

He made it through yesterday's "press conference" with Sen. Stevens and Gov. Palin, more concerned with gossip about who likes who and how, than asking a couple of simple questions of real interest to Alaska consumers. Hopkins and Bolstad, in their ADN article about Stevens' so-called "energy blueprint" quotes the Begich campaign's concerns about Stevens' role in why so many of us can't even afford to drive the kids to soccer or dance practice anymore. Beyond that, Hopkins doesn't probe, preferring, it seems, stenography to political journalism.

Erika Bolstad, from her sinecure in Washington D.C. - the place where Stevens and his Senate cronies rob us blind - couldn't seem to remember Stevens' role in creating this speculative market, either. Hopkins and Bolstad, in their quotes about the Senator's "concern" over this, completely missed the story.

I reported on this here last month
. Shannyn Moore covered it in early June on her KUDO show. But yesterday, The Alaska Report's Dennis Zaki nailed it. Here's an extended excerpt from his copyrighted article:

In December 2000, as Stevens oversaw the Consolidated Appropriations Act, a provision written by Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), which recently has received quite a bit of negative attention in the presidential campaign, was added at the last minute to the final 11,000 page bill to deregulate the energy markets. Commonly known as the "Enron Loophole," the Commodity Futures Modernization Act exempted electronic energy trades from federal regulation. The provision bypassed the usual committee hearing and vote process and was streamlined into the legislation by Stevens.

Stevens has been a long time advocate for deregulation of energy futures. In 2002, Stevens voted against an amendment that would have provided regulatory oversight of energy trading markets. [Roll Call 61, S.AMDT 2989, 4/10/2002] In 2003, Stevens voted against an amendment to protect electric ratepayers from manipulation and contrivance of the energy market and an amendment that would have ensured that consumers and competitive markets are protected from false and misleading information. [Roll Call 439, S.AMDT 2087, 11/5/2003, Roll Call 436, S.AMDT 2083, 11/5/2003]

Just this month, Stevens continued his streak of voting against consumers by helping to block the Consumer-First Energy Act. The legislation needed 60 votes in the Senate to move forward but only received 51. The Consumer-First Energy Act would have taken several immediate steps to lower out-of-control gas prices, which now average more than $4 per gallon nationwide. [Roll Call Vote #146, 6/10/2008]

Zaki's Alaska Report, quickly gaining a huge internet audience, even as the ADN lays off more and more of my friends, has been hassled lately by ADN staffers. What Do I Know? has reported on the paper's growing dysfunctional behavior. But I find their coverage of this story particularly disturbing:

1) They didn't get the story. Period. The story should read "Senator Who Created the Speculative Bubble That is Impoverishing America Now Tries to Hide The Fact." Doesn't the ADN care that this is happening?

2) They completely missed Stevens' rabidly incoherent endorsement of the loony ideas of a crypto-fascist. Do these reporters not even know who Mark Steyn is?

3) They completely missed the obvious fact that the Senator's grip on the ability to hold a conversation is slipping. And fast. Maybe they do know this last problem, but haven't found a better way to come to grips with it than by just showing Stevens talk.

I don't know which is sadder - seeing a man I've known for 35 years slipping so fast, or seeing a paper I've read for 35 years slipping even faster.

Good work, Dennis. Keep it up!