Monday, May 4, 2009

The Anchorage Daily News - Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted

Today's edition of the Anchorage Daily News contained further proof that Alaska's leading newspaper died last week.

Monday's "Our View" editorial seeks to pre-judge some of the known ethics complaints against our governor. Rather than attempt to evaluate some of the better operative ones on their merits, or present some new facts, the editorial states:

State ethics law is not a megaphone for crying foul every time the governor or any other elected official does something someone doesn't like.

The ADN editor is correct. The state ethics laws are meant to help set standards for our elected officials. The governor has done a few things I like, and hundreds of things that I don't like. I haven't filed any ethics complaints against her, though. I don't foresee filing any either.

What some have noted about Palin and the large number of complaints filed is that the complainants, with the exception of the Governor herself, when viewed as a group, seem to be onto a pattern of abuse of the system by the Governor and her husband, of the resources available to the governor and her family. She appears to have taken advantage of state resources, time after time, and used them for personal gain in a way unlike any of her predecessors.

Many of us, upon learning that Palin had set up the Alaska Fund Trust, looked at her move rather cynically. After all:

1) She got her "Maverick" chops by not only filing an ethics complaint, but by then making her act public knowledge.

2) She campaigned for Governor in 2006 as a person who would reform ethics in Alaska.

3) When she became governor, she had Wev Shea and Ethan Berkowitz work up a white paper that looked into legislative branch ethics.

4) When she became a national ticket candidate, she bragged about how she had swept away the good old boys whose ethical conduct had gamed the system.

5) When she became a national ticket candidate, she attempted to derail or defang a legislative council investigation already underway, with her executive ethics complaint against herself.

The ADN editorial fails to note that the people who look into these complaints are Palin appointees. It fails to note that all of the governor's problems were entirely self-inflicted. It fails to make a fair distinction between our rights as citizens, and our duties. Frankly, with the ADN getting more secrecy-friendly every day, we need more from citizen activists, not less.

The ADN's editorial concludes with:

If you file a complaint against a legislator and then blab to the media about it, your complaint is automatically dismissed. That protection doesn't apply to ethics complaints involving the executive branch. It should.

So, when it appears to many citizen activists that we need tighter executive ethics codes, all the ADN can suggest is that we loosen them.

Independent commentator Paul Jenkins, in one of his rare post-Voice of the Times appearances at the ADN, wrote last week that:

It turns out that the embattled and lovely Sarah P. -- her nascent national political career dangling over a cliff -- finds herself increasingly under attack, accused of breaking state ethics law more than a dozen times. (Not counting the one she filed against herself during Troopergate to get the Personnel Board, which she appoints, to handle the case.)

Chief of staff Nizich says the pesky complaints are orchestrated by "opponents," offering entrepreneurs yet another T-shirt possibility to go along with "Haters" and "Lying Blogger." Palin has been forced to set up a legal defense fund, the Alaska Fund Trust, to help defray her rising and significant legal costs (and, dang it, that fund itself now is the subject of an ethics complaint despite its high-falootin' name).

In the face of all that, what does she do? Does Palin loose ankle-biter Meghan Stapleton at SarahPac to joust with "opponents" while she retains her dignity as governor and potential president?

Not a chance.

Somebody decides to beef about the SarahPac ethics complaint on an official state Web site. That is your Web site and mine. It belongs to all Alaskans. We pay for it. It is more than a little disturbing that her office, apparently swept up in some kind of vengeful tizzy, would bring to bear state resources to castigate, harangue, insult and accuse individual citizens who make legal complaints.

I'm no lawyer, but state law seems pretty clear: "A public officer may not ... use state time, property, equipment, or other facilities to benefit personal or financial interests. ..." Without much doubt, state time, property, equipment and other facilities were used to toss that hissy.

Clearly, with Paul Jenkins speaking in favor of the rights and duties of public activists and muckrakers, and the ADN suggesting those citizens go away, we have entered the next stage of the ADN's editorially induced death spiral.


Anonymous said...

The subtle irony most people aren't picking up on is the fact that Palin runs herself as the Maverick candidate, yet her Chief of Staff Mike Nizich prides himself on having served 6 administrations, and seems the ultimate insider.

basheert said...

Look the ADN is proving itself to be a "rag" - it's in the bag for her. They are the "Faux News" of Anchorage.

People do not file ethics complaints for kicks - they put their names on them and ask that whatever they have alleged be investigated.

For a "newspaper" to discuss or make judgments on people's complaints is absolutely out of line.

Obviously Miss I Came in THIRD in a Pageant can't stand the heat - everything that has been alleged must be investigated. And she apparently will control that as well.

The Wicked Witch of the West is now surrounded by flying ADN monkeys - so why would anyone in Alaska or Anchorage even bother to read or subscribe to that paper? It is so biased as to be unbelievable.

Wolfe Tone said...

Good post, Phil.
I'm started to wonder if the eminent demise of the ADN will be a bad thing or not.

Wolfe Tone said...


Make that "imminent."

I'm not hitting on all cylinders this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

The best in-print newspaper in the State is the Fairbanks Daily News Miner. Bar none.

InJuneau said...

Ugh, I always hated the flying monkeys! i'm not any more fond of them now!!

onejrkitty said...

After ther ADN's article, I doubt many will be sad when they finally pass.

While I have no inside info, my long experienced gut instict tells me there is pressure from somewhere and the limp dicks at ADN just are too testicle challenged to stand up to it.

How dispicable ADN has become.

Good riddance when they are gone.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons that people continue to file ethics complaints is to hold the governor accountable for questionable (or not) behavior. One of the reasons this is necessary is that the press has failed to challenge that questionable behavior. And perhaps one of the reasons the press has failed is that the Alaska State Senate has failed utterly to do its job to investigate and report. Item: Either Governor Palin or Walt Monegan is a perjuror, having told diametrically contradictory stories under oath. which is it? Why hasn't the Senate decided to find out? ~Phil Smith, Juneau

the problem child said...

Well, a (pseudonomous AK) poster at c4p who goes by the label upinak has certainly been kicking up a stink. She claims to have contacted the AK dept of law on making complainants pay to file and pay costs (actual costs, not symbolic costs) if the complaint is dismissed.

Given c4p's track record, I would not be the least bit surprised if they are pressuring the ADN as well

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

I left 3 comment on ADN (one next to Andree) and I think my comment are banned or hidden. Phil if you don't mind may I post here?
Who wrote this? This is the most unprofessional piece of journalism I have ever seen. Must of been GINO herself writing it. We all know ADN has caved in to a anti-Truther blog, who makes screen shots and sends to the advertiser's. Blackmail. Didn't know a Huge newspaper would cave to that. Thank god we have Bloggers who aren't afraid to tell the truth.
People have a RIGHT to expect their Governor to act in a responsible ethical fashion. Making them pay to file a complaint is just crazy. Why don't you expect the governor to act ethically? Why did she wear another Acrtic cat jacket last week? Why does the SOA website link to acrtic cat....?????
She's always acted unethically since she stole 50K as wasilla mayor.
"I'm the mayor and I can do what I please until the courts tell me different' I her mantra.
the people are just trying to get the courts to tell her "different"
Well since everyone is so upset by the "ethics complaints" maybe people shouldn't bother with the personnel board handpicked by palin and instead just write the local FBI office or CREW in Washington.
That will solve everything and get a corrupt official out of office finally.
Thanks Phil! I feel much better now!
ADN sux!!!

clark said...

they seem rather curiously unconcerned or even unaware of the many ways they are making a bad situation worse, i'll say.
bizarre editorializing unfazed by logic and investigation, for one. sure, there was halfhearted scuttlebutt about the decision being made from sacramento.
of the small number of people i know who still subscribe, about half of them do so because they use the orange bags to pick up dog poop when they're out in the neighborhood or park. well, the new bags they're using for the smaller newspaper are too small to get your hand in! so there goes half of their remaining subscribers in one fell swoop.

Blue_in_AK said...

I'm done with them. I"m canceling my subscription as soon as I get back to Alaska tomorrow. I've been a subscriber since forever, but I just can't take it anymore.