Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Call to Arms!

The most chilling paragraph in the unfortunate Anchorage Daily News editorial on May 3rd, that criticized citizen activists for filing ethics complaints against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was this one:

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.

First of all, the entire editorial was one of the most unprofessional ever penned by the ADN editorial staff. Its research was incredibly faulty. It endorsed a position of less strenuous ethics laws in a state that is in the midst of sending ethically challenged politicians to prison at a rate of about 2.7 per year, in spite of state laws that are so weak the Feds have to step in to bust our political crooks.

Secondly, it seemed to indicate that the writer (anonymous, at that) knew something about what is going on here that the complainants didn't. But its lofty tone disallowed the readers from being in on the "goodies."

Is the ADN stretching the story out to build readership in the narrative of the editorial? Or, more likely, are they having to creatively deal with their latest harangues from state employee Bill McAllister and Palin employee Meghan Stapletongue?

The McCain-Palin 2008 campaign forever changed Alaska politics. Until September 2008, we were mostly an under-informed state. Politicians took advantage of that. Since then, as the nation looked at our ways in a manner that was glaring, some took their responsibility more seriously than others.

As the crowds outside of Palin appearances were documented by Alaska bloggers and Outside bloggers for their racist, millennialist and anti-science makeup, we challenged local media to cover that. They didn't.

As Palin became the biggest American political joke of the 21st century, Alaska bloggers challenged local media to cover that. They didn't.

When, after the McCain-Palin ticket's historic loss, Alaska media failed to gauge it for what it meant in terms of Palin's role, and Alaska bloggers challenged our media to assess that, they started to turn on us.

When the major failures of Palin during the 2009 legislative session became clear, Alaska progressive bloggers told a far more accurate and comprehensive story of that, and of the emerging rural Alaska food and fuel crisis, than did Alaska's established media. During that time, the resentment of some organs of Alaska's traditional media toward emerging media has grown, though it is sometimes subtle.

Alaska's progressive bloggers' role in covering most of the ethics complaints against Gov. Palin is common knowledge among people who closely follow Alaska politics. But, just like the Anchorage Daily News, for instance, has never given a fair assessment of Ray Metcalfe, they aren't even close to considering giving us one. Nobody is holding their breath waiting for a fair evaluation, though.

Instead, they couch their resentment against our increasing role in Alaska media with veiled stuff hidden in exceedingly poorly written editorials, like their paean to Wayne Anthony Ross' Attorney General confirmation, their endorsement of Anchorage Mayor-elect Dan Sullivan, and their uninformed bullshit about ethics law.

While the ADN calls for more protections for our governor, Alaska's bloggers are helping to create the ADN's and other media outlets' successor formats. Monday, Alaska progressive icon Jeremey Lansman put Camille Conte back on the air. Briefly. But more may come from this.

Lansman's operations need a better signal on the FM airwaves. This potentially new paradigm needs a comprehensively thought out, monetized and publicized format.

I'd like to see the IBEW have the courage to audit where their money went between Aaron Selbig's termination and last week.

Selbig had a few months that came close to breaking even, one month that may have even done that. From what I hear, that wasn't the case in their KUDO financing since the April, 2008 changes. Why?

I'd like to see something like Lansman's duct-tape, solder, perspiration and quirky genius machinery go up against Alaska's ossifying media empires, head-to-head, face-to-face, hour-to-hour, with good, honest publicists promoting the packages.

Two Updates from the Comments - Wednesday, 3:40 p.m:

Jeremy Lansman wrote:

FYI - I am working on rebuilding the 92.5 KWMD translator. It is broadcasting silence now, but when we get audio back into it it, I hope before Friday, should extend a good signal to Eagle River and much of Mat-Su. As KWMD (FM) is solid in central Kenai, and much of South Anchorage its coverage should be roughly comparable to KUDO (AM). The important question is where is the funding for local hosted programs of a different political outlook than those on KENI, KBYR and KFQD? It would be nice to think that some more progressive business people would support alternatives to the right wing media blasters, but I won't hold my breath.

And commenter Roger linked to an excellent article written yesterday by my firedoglake friend bmaz. It is about other aspects of new media vs. old, particularly, the case of the Boston Globe.

image - Camille Conte & Jeremy Lansman broadcasting on Monday - by Steve Aufrecht


Wolfe Tone said...

If, as the ADN suggests, the law is changed so that any ethics complaints against the executive branch cannot be "blabbed" about or it will be summarily dismissed, how many valid ethics complaints do you think will ever see the light of day?

My guess is somewhere between zero and none.

basheert said...

Wow - the lady is restless. She opened her mouth during the campaign and people ran screaming into the night.

Is it truly possible that SP exposed herself for the pandering political prostitute that she actually always was?

Some dirt just doesn't stand up to exposure to light.

The ADN is not a credible fair-and-balanced media outlet.

SP obviously is in charge in Alaska, big time. It's up to the citizens of her fair state to hold those F*ck ME shoes to the fire.

If she's done nothing wrong, what is she afraid of?

baja said...

ADN serves their corporate masters. Without advertising dollars they cannot survive. No citizen journalism can be regularly exercised there because the owners don't want to cut off the money train.

Selbig on the radio again would be a treat. I would pay for a subscription toward that endeavor!

clark said...

this has been a seriously frustrating week and it's only halfway done.
i'm getting to the point where i wish ADN would just die. they have been very counterproductive and a disgrace to their legacy lately. i hope we'll see some positive developments soon.
i think the alaska report has a pretty solid framework for a news and opinion site. it has interesting video and still photography, as well. i'd put money on him. it might take awhile, though. we're in some in between situation now, where everybody is struggling, the old media and new.

Roger said...

ADN has gone from marginal to useless.

This IS were news is coming from

Jeremy said...

FYI - I am working on rebuilding the 92.5 KWMD translator. It is broadcasting silence now, but when we get audio back into it it, I hope before Friday, should extend a good signal to Eagle River and much of Mat-Su. As KWMD (FM) is solid in central Kenai, and much of South Anchorage its coverage should be roughly comparable to KUDO (AM). The important question is where is the funding for local hosted programs of a different political outlook than those on KENI, KBYR and KFQD? It would be nice to think that some more progressive business people would support alternatives to the right wing media blasters, but I won't hold my breath.

Anonymous said...

Regarding an IBEW audit of KUDO, bring it on! I watched with dismay, expensive ads run on KTUU promote Cary Carrigan's show-and only Cary Carrigans show. Not a single mention of CC's show and CC was the only show worth listening to. Cary squandered the money and local programming. Period.

Mini14 said...

Thanks to Progressive bloggers the battle against W.A.R. was won. I'll take a local hit over an office like AG any day. Besides, progressives will keep on keeping on, ADN will go out of business. Alaska is like that - takes a while, but we'll get there.

basheert said...

Hey I agree - if you really HATE the way the ADN is marginalizing anyone who disagrees with the Iron Maid and her flying monkeys, you have to hit them in the pocketbook.
Cancel subscription or notify the sponsors that you think they are making up the news and you will not support their sponsors.

The ADN isn't even a qualified newspaper - it's simply an arm of McClatchy who believes SP has roses coming out of her a**. The fact is, SP is doing nothing good for Alaska, it's all for her.

clark said...

interesting thoughts, jeremy. too many small business owners around here probably see an association like that as a liability. no idea why... seems like there are plenty of people around here with money who are also left-wingers. almost like you have a built-in audience that's now drastically under-served. successful, educated, imaginative types, you know?
maybe the cause will acquire more urgency, at some point along the way. [when those on the fence realize they've been had??]

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 10:17 am - I'm not asking for a KUDO IBEW audit because of Carrigan's ads, but to determine how the Tati management above and beyond Carrigan dealt with the IBEW's money.

basheert said...

It is very interesting how Alaska is being forced to deal with an out-of-control elected official. She flew (on a broom?) under the radar until she made the huge mistake of saying yes to McCain. Then when Alaska realized how she was perceived during the election, and what has come out since, they are having to face the fact that she is totally unqualified.

When she loses next November, I sincerely hope the State of Alaska will have the brains to audit her Administration to see just how much she's managed to "disappear".

It isn't Alaska's fault - they're stuck with her. And the ADN is her mouthpiece. Maybe when she goes, they will go too?

northofdenali said...

basheert, we didn't even audit Frank Murkowski, undoubtedly the most corrupt pol Alaska has ever known - and Sarah will be a one-term guv with little to no power once she's fired. I seriously doubt that our state will bother to even investigate, let alone prosecute any punishable offenses. Sad, but true.

AKPetMom said...

I work near an established business in downtown Palmer and a few weeks ago the new head of this business was discussing getting rid of the two newspaper vending machines in front of their building. She said because they were "ugly" and didn't fit in with the "aesthetics" of the building.
I replied, "so what, who reads "paper" papers anymore anyway" (or some casual offhand comment such as that).

She replied, well I read "paper" papers, how else do you get news?

I thought it was pretty informing, as I just make the assumption that at this point in time most of us get our news from our favorite blogs online and don't read "paper" papers any longer. I'm no spring chicken recently infatuated w/the internet, but I've come to realize that my daily bloglist supplies me with the current info that I require everyday and I only visit ADN online now to get some laughs from the commenters.

I haven't had a "paper" news subscription since 1998 and really haven't missed it. Thanks to the local bloggers (you know who you are) you have really ramped it up in the last few years and I don't even have to go to anywhere except to you to remain informed. Amazingly, many of you have other jobs that require your attention but still somehow keep us up to date and informed. Thanks for that.
Biggest plus from online fingers don't get all "inky", I hate that about "paper" papers :-)

note: tired and not posting w/great writing skills or grammar, but hope I got my point guys rock!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Philip for a very informative dissection & analysis that truly makes sense. It also answered some of my questions re: progressive bloggers vs. our own Seattle MSM. Sadly, as you know, the Post Intelligencer went out of business recently. I truly miss it, because the PI was a bit more progressive with fewer snarks directed towards the bloggers. Not sure how long I will continue to take the Seattle Times (a Republican rag) which automatically switched our subscriptions over to their paper, to 'save us the trouble'. Thought I would give it a chance. But when I get to the editorial page (my favorite section) it's just still the same old Republican drums. Again, thanks for explaining, seriously helpful!

Kath the Scrappy from Seattle

Anonymous said...

i get kwmd solid on 87.7 in anchorage too.

and what the $#%#$ is that on 95.5 ?

there are pirates lurking in the anchorage bowl again.

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