Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pat Dougherty, the Guy Who Did More Than Any Other Person to Kill Journalism in Alaska, Brags About It

On Thursday, Pat Dougherty, Senior Vice President and Editor of the Anchorage Daily News bragged to a very small audience at Baylor University, his alma mater, about how he killed his newspaper, and did more damage to Alaska journalism than Joe Hazelwood did to Prince William Sound.  Unlike the hapless tanker skipper, Dougherty seems to be proud of it:
The Anchorage Daily News gained widespread attention for its coverage of Palin.

“She has been such a presence for the life of our newspaper,” Dougherty said.

The benefits received by covering Palin were mutual as the “paper was actually very crucial to the rise of Sarah Palin,” he said.

“The relationship between the paper and Palin was actually pretty good,” Dougherty added. “We had a few disagreements on policy, but really we were her strong supporters.”
 They really were.   And Dougherty made sure, every step of the way, that the real truth about Palin's divisiveness was either kept from the public, or attenuated into "he said- she said" bullshit.  According to Dougherty, when he took over the helm at the ADN, "the Anchorage Daily News had 104 employees."  Back then, in late 2007, I took him to task, when he wrote:
We take our responsibilities as Alaska’s largest news organization very seriously. Whether we are covering public corruption or the homefront consequences of the Iraq war, the effort to build a gas line or the effects of global warming in Alaska, we know that if we don’t do the story, it may not get done.
What a lie.  At that time, there were countlss stories being missed by the ADN, which were being covered elsewhere on the web.  At that time, the ADN was just tiptoing into a large on-line presence.  From the start, thanks mostly to Pat's dim understanding of technology, when bloggers scooped the ADN, Pat would whine about our veracity.  But when Palin went mainstream in late August 2008, the veracity of the ADN went down the toobz, mostly from Pat's one epiphany regarding electronic technology - mentioning or covering Palin brings hits to your internet site, which might transate, depending on how your site is configured, into financial benefits.

Dougherty at Baylor:
Everyone in the world was calling because nobody’s ever heard of Sarah Palin. A year after the announcement our paper had 175 million page hits online.
 Dougherty had his staff set up what I called their "Sarah Palin Shrine," prominently placed, so if one came to the ADN webpage, you could see it immediately, and click yourself there. While she was a VP candidate, it seemed unseemly enough, but after she came back to Juneau Wasilla in late 2008, they kept it up, which was poor taste at best.

In January, 2009, when Bob Poe filed for Governor, I asked Pat to either take the fucking disgustingly pandering niche down, or put up a Bob Poe shrine next to it.  In the letter, I listed all the things the ADN then had up that pimped for Sarah, as if they were for Poe's benefit:
There's a picture off to the upper left of this page. The guy in it is named Bob Poe. He doesn't get any free advertising from the Anchorage Daily News.


I'd like to suggest, though, that beginning tomorrow, you incorporate the following new features about him, like the ones you carry for free for his likely 2010 opponent in the Alaska Gubernatorial race at the ADN. You could file it at a place called http://www.adn/bob-poe/ Here are my ideas, so far:


Bob Poe photo galleries
A Bob Poe look-alike contest gallery (ADN readers could submit photos)
Poe and Me (pics of people with Bob)
Bob Poe's Seven Challenges
Poe Background
The Poe Family
Videos of Bob in Action
Bob Poe pardoning some animal while, uh, you know - another one is being.........
Our Favorite Bob Poe SNL skits
Some Recent Bob Poe YouTubes
Crowds Watching Bob Poe
And, of course -- Bob's interviews with French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy


Sincerely,


Philip Munger
Dougherty's response was to move the Palin shrine within a week of my appeals to him.

During the past 40 months, I've written several posts here criticizing the ADN's unwillingness to address Palin's divisive nature, the importance of that component of her personality to her national appeal, or the relationship of that package to her critical fundamentalist beliefs. 

Joe McGinniss wrote about Dougherty's Baylor speech earlier today.  He is as harsh toward Pat as I am:
It’s long been obvious to anyone who’s paid attention to the rise of Sarah Palin from mayor of Wasilla to governor of Alaska and beyond that the Anchorage Daily News was her greatest enabler.

By turning a blind eye to her avariciousness, viciousness, venality and incompetence, the ADN allowed her to inflict herself, first on the state of Alaska, and then on the whole of America.

In an Aug. 31, 2008 profile of her, ADN called her, in a headline, “The Joan of Arc of Alaska politics.”
On Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, in a speech at his alma mater, Baylor University, ADN executive editor Pat Dougherty finally ‘fessed up.

“She has been such a presence for the life of our newspaper,” Dougherty said.
He admitted–for the first time (to my knowledge)–that the ADN promoted Palin out of self-interest.

“Our paper was actually very crucial to the rise of Sarah Palin,” he said.
Lacking context, I can’t say whether he was bragging or apologizing.

But he said, “The relationship between the paper and Palin was actually pretty good…really, we were her strong supporters.”

Dougherty was clearly not apologizing when he said that after John McCain chose Sarah as his running mate, “Everyone in the world was calling…A year after the announcement our paper had 175 million page hits online.”

That was the ADN’s payoff for never telling the truth about Sarah.
 McGinniss quotes some of the same Dougherty statements I brought out above, but they deserve reiteration. 

Their coverage by reporters during the Wayne Anthony Ross debacle was thorough and honest.  Pat's editorial page was disgusting in its conclusion.
As Ross says, the attorney general does represent all Alaskans.

Ideally, Alaska's attorney general would be someone who embodies the best values of society, who respects the inherent worth and dignity of every law-abiding citizen.

Instead, Alaska is about to get an attorney general named Wayne Anthony Ross.
That didn't happen.  Dougherty's part in the ADN's role in Palin's biggest gubernatorial debacle  was somewhere between pathetic and lame, according to what I found out back then from reporters.

Joe McGinniss concludes his assessment of Dougherty's job performance so far with this:
If there were a Pulitzer for Public Disservice, Pat Dougherty’s ADN would have won it in a walk for every year between 2008 and 2011.

From 2005 to 2008, the ADN was merely negligent and incurious in allowing Sarah to rise like a souffle´.

From 2008 until today, the ADN has prostituted itself in pursuit of a better bottom line.
And its executive editor has finally admitted as much.

My concern is that he doesn’t–even yet–seem to see how wrong it was to so cynically betray his readers.

Mr. Dougherty, if you wonder why so few remain, don’t look at the national economy: look in the mirror.

“She has been such a presence for the life of our newspaper,” he said.

He should have added, “But because she cost us our credibility with our readers, she’s now become a major cause of our death.”

The ADN now has 22% of the employees they had when Dougherty took the helm there.  Faced with more layoffs, this zombie of an editor is now reaching for the big oil lifeline, by keeping people as ill-informed about oil pricing as he did regarding Palin's divisiveness. Alaska's most enduring muckraker, Ray Metcalfe, is letting the public know about this latest episode of Dougherty's "crucial role" in efforts to repeal AGIA.

I hope the ADN survives Pat Dougherty.  If he leaves before the new year, we may decide to renew our  27-year subscription when it comes up.

26 comments:

HarpboyAK said...

He sure ain't no Howard Weaver, but then Howard turned into a (now retired) McClatchy corporate shill once he got out of the editor's desk.

It's so sad watching the ADN shrivel up and die. Larry Fanning is rolling in his grave.

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Dead journalism said...

If I could ask Joe McGinniss one question, it would be, "if you couldn't correctly identify the right Palin kid who was in the Homer video, how do you defend your research methods and verification process?'

that is ONE of MANY lies and inaccuracies that fill his book the Rogue. He gives journalism a bad name but he does revive yellow journalism.

I will slightly take pressure off him. as he was at the mercy of others and their lies.

I SINCERELY hope everyone who spoke to Joe is living a hellish existence and continues to.

Give em hell! Liars should NOT be rewarded.

Anonymous said...

Phil, it looks like you got spammed by John Rambo at 1:10M and then at 2:20 AM a tortured soul shows up to vent some pain. I think Mr. Rambo is just spamming but 'Dead journalism' is in a serious state of denial, anger, and rage. It must suck to be a Palin. The Palins live in a world built on lies and deception. It's bound to get out and their tantrums won't stop it.

Anonymous said...

I won't be going to their website any more. The purpose of journalism is not to inform readers, but to sell ad copy. That is all that Pat Dougherty has succeeded in doing. I am disgusted with him and his paper. They are the original Palin Panty sniffers and the smell lingers in all their articles.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Phil. Even sadder is that the MSM is a bunch of lemmings where SP is concerned.

The Alaskan press let her get away with it for years and cheered her on, and that was just picked up by the nationals.

John McCain should burn in hell for dragging that fraud into the national spotlight.

KatieAnnieOakly said...

I used to live near Waco, Texas - in Hewitt. Baylor had an absolute stranglehold on that tiny town. They imposed their will, their requirements on everyone.

Truth was irrelevant - it was all about the money, honey - and the football team. God was waaaay down the list...

I see Dougherty has learned well.

He is a media whore in the truest sense. The more clicks, the more revenue. He enabled the Palin train wreck.

He had a vested financial interest to report everything and anything Palin - the more clicks, the more money he made.

Karma, God's Will, whatever you wish to call it - will take care of those who advance evil in the name of profit and / or recognition.

Satan himself must be very, very pleased with Pat Dougherty.

KaJo said...

This is directed to Ivy Frye/Chuck Heath/Jim Palin...er, "dead journalism":

I'm sure you know that many people who saw that Homer video of Sarah Palin and her daughter mocking and harassing Kathleen Gustafson believed at first that it was Willow accompanying the entourage, not Bristol.

Because, after all, didn't Bristol have responsibilities taking care of a toddler and getting ready for her DWTS debut? Surely she didn't have time to "star" in her mother's self promoting fake reality show.

It wasn't until that halibut-clubbing episode aired in November 2010 that Bristol appeared in the camo hoodie and red jacket in other scenes, that it was apparent viewers like me and many others mis-identified Willow for Bristol.

We should have known. BOTH of Sarah's older daughters have inherited their mother's capacity for mean-girlness snippy, snide, insulting behavior, so it's no wonder even Joe McGinniss made the same mistake the rest of us did.

If you want to criticize an author for errors in a book, why don't you fasten your attention on Sarah Palin's own book "Going Rogue", which has factual errors in every chapter?

http://www.themudflats.net/category/going-rogue-blogging-the-book/

Anonymous said...

Who can forget the ADN's sidebar called "Our Sarah" that followed the Quitter's goings on. It was finally retitled after so many Alaskans insisted it be changed. What a travesty ...

hedgewytch said...

And let's not forget all those "letters to the editor" written by the Palin's but submitted as if written by someone else - and the ADN let those slide right through. You can't tell me Dougherty didn't take personal phone calls from the Gov's office with his marching orders - "got another Letter to the Editor for you to print ASAP!".

I even remember the comment pages being heavily moderated with people who dared to point out that the Empress (and the ADN) had no clothes - loudly and clearly - getting their comments removed and their ip's banned from commenting on the site further.

What is really funny to me is that if they had behaved like a true journalistic paper and wrote actual factual pieces they would have generated many more site hits and upped their readership.

Never ceases to amaze me how people can cut their noses off despite their own faces.

Anonymous said...

Our family cancelled our 20+ year subscription because
of their policy of non-objective palin-loving. The "liberal rag" indeed! That canard is half right...wait,
not just half right; let's say 3/4 wrong.

Anonymous said...

Why did the ADN do such crappy letter verification. This is the first sign the ADN was avoiding its responsibility to its readers. Most newspaper call and verify the letter was written by the person sending it in. If the Palin letter writing campaign was as well organized to attach phone numbers to each letter the campaign was more organized and ethically challenged that we ever imagined. There was a rumor Palin attended editorial meetings at the ADN while she was governor. If this was so the ADN sold its soul long before Palin hit the big time.

I wrote Dougherty immediately when the ADN began reporting Palin’s FaceBook comments. He did not respond.It was a serious clue as to his avoidance of his duties to journalistic standards. It made me absolutely sick for our state to see the state’s major newspaper go off the rails for the $$$ Sarah Palin brought to its coffers. We will pay for this for a long while. He should be fired.

Anonymous said...

The lack of professional journalism in Alaska is due not exclusively to Pat Dougherty. Don't forget Frank "I don't wanna be interviewed" Gerjevic.

It's been a long time since we've had any semblance of journalism in Alaska's largest daily newspaper. The entire matter is just disgusting.

How do we fire Pat and his wining buddy Frank? Alaskans deserve much better.

Lidia17 said...

Good post, Phil.

Wow, this is sad, not only for the ADN but for the concept of journalism in and of itself.

That the rest of the conference audience should sit there and concede that the purpose of fact-finding be discarded in favor of sheer popularity-seeking, "hits" and so forth, is just as horrifying as anything Dougherty has done.

Lidia17 said...

Hey, "John Rambo"… 

KNOCK YOURSELF OUT!

Boycott away!

With my blessing and the hopes to never find myself in the same county as you, sincerely, Lidia



(I'm always asking myself when these people will finally "go Galt", and -dammit- they never do, at least not enough for my tastes.)

Lidia17 said...

Phil, maybe you can comment on this, but… How does toeing the Palin line result in good things anymore for the ADN??

If it's HITS they want, what if they were to seriously go after the Palins and all their "gates", the Trig hoax included? Wouldn't that result in "hits" aplenty?

DobieTracker said...

"I am disgusted with him and his paper. They are the original Palin Panty sniffers and the smell lingers in all their articles."

I could NOT have said it better. Unfortunately Jeanne Devon and Shannan Moore, who I observed quite a few times at Gryphen's early meetings on Palin, choose to sell their integrity for their "careers." I think they have egotistically exaggerated their potential in their own head by their brief acceptance by Oberman and Maddow.

Kudos to McGinness for not selling out.

I am ashamed and so greatly disappointed in both Devon and Moore. They will never be more than local writers and never trusted again.

DobieTracker said...

OK, I HAVE to say this. I intensely dislike comparing anyone to Hitler, but after reading Albert Speers book about his close association with Hitler, and seeing the movie "Good" with Vigo Mortensen, and reading "In The Garden of Beasts" by Larson, the parallels between the politics, narcissism, manipulation and evil of Hitler hit on Palin to too much of an extent to ignore.

The movie ""Good" is a great visual of how the German people thought at first that Hitler was a joke, that he "wouldn't last", that he was an insecure little nothing, and how they ended up betraying their friends, their country and themselves to too much a reflection of what is happening with the ADN, the above mentioned bloggers, and MSM to even joke about.

Hitler at least was willing to work, spend time,energy and thought into what he was doing whereas Palin only wants the title, the attention and none of the work.

Had she fallen through the cracks, her laziness is all that would have saved us.

Joe McGinness is playing a larger role than what he gives himself credit for and Devon and Moore have more to be ashamed of than they now realize.

How does it feel to sell your integrity ladies?

Ruffled Feathers said...

Dobie-- Forgive my ignorance, but how did Devon and Moore sell out?

Dobie Tracker said...

How can you not know? Some time back Devon and Moore stopped talking about Palin with only rare exception, totally dropped "bsabygate issue; THEN Devon, without telling McGinness, co-authored book with Baily and third author. All that time she was conversing with McGinness and did not tell him she was writing a book on the same subject i.e. Palin. Meanwhile McGinness is discussing what he is finding out about Palin, with Devon. Devon likely had a contract to hold secret that she was writing the book, but she should have refused to discuss Palin with McGinness, if that was the case.

Meanwhile Moore does not reveal to McGinness, who she also is in frequent contact and growing a friendship with, that Devon is writing the book with Baily. Now it may be that Moore did not know Devon was writing the Baily book untill it was leaked, in which case Moore was not keeping Devon's secret---BY NOT TELLING MCGINNESS OF THE BAILY BOOK, DEVON AND POSSIBLY MOORE WERE DECEIVING MCGINNESS---however, when the Baily book was leaked, Moore than writes a column a bout "Mourning Joe" and accusses HIM of betraying HER --as well as Devon---by leaking the Baily book.

How Moore figures McGinness betrayed her (Moore) makes no sense, especially IF Moore knew of Devon's secret ( thus betraying Joe) prior to the leak of the Baily book. To clarify, Moore was not an author on the Baily book and if she did not know of it until it was leaked, then all the LESS reason for her to feel Joe betrayed her.

Devon and Moore expressed their feelings a bout Palin at meetings at Gryphens very early on and to join the MSM in enabling Palin to continue "in her evil ways" makes them as much to blame as Pat Doherty with his lack of honest journalism re: Palin.

Phil can give you more inside info on this than I can.

Devon and the other author blamed Joe for the leaking of their book when a manuscript was sent to JOE"S PUBLISHER PRIOR TO HIS BOOK BEING PUBLISHED ! Takes a lot of nerve to then turn around and make Joe McGinness the bad guy. Moore also ignored and continues to ignore the publication of McGinnesses book. The ladies claimed Joe was trying to hurt their sales but the truth was the book was poorly written and if anything, the leak helped their sales.

This is now an old and complicated little soap opera. You need to keep up--too easy to get left behind :)

DobieTracker said...

TO CLARIFY: McGinness had no idea Devon was co-authoring a book on Palin the whole time he was discussing his research on Palin with Devon.

Joe ONLY learned that Devon was writing a book on Palin, when HIS publisher sent HIM a copy of the manuscript.

Joe was being betrayed by Devon the entire time and by Moore also IF Devon had told Moore of the book.

There is some question if Moore found out about the book from Devon or AFTER it was leaked.

In any event she has NO cause to feel betrayed by Joe.

They even threatened to sue Joe over the leak, making themselves sound more and more like the grand hypocrit of all time, Palin herself.

Very disappointed in both these women. Very ashamed for them. Palin posed a very real threat---fate smiled on her the same as it did Hitler by letting them get away with so much( Hitler survived 40 assisination attempts, most by shear "luck--fate")--fate allowed Palin to get within a few steps of a heartbeat of the presidency and Devon and Moore both knew and still know how dangerous this put all of us.

Yet--they put their personal interests first, just as the character in the movie "Good"--played by Vigo Mortensen-- does. This is an excellent movie and I strongly recommend anyone who now understands the kind of person Palin really is see it.

I am 68 but remember the newsreels as a toddler of the liberation of the concentration camps. Hitler is real to me, not just history.

I am still unable to wrap my mind around how the german people could have allowed Hitler to gain, much less remain in power. Remember, Germany had just lost the first world war and Hitler played to their feelings in inferority just like Palin plays to the "paint chip eaters" ( as Gryphen calls them)--people who had no critical thinking skills or who just didnt take the time to think about what was going on.

Even Albert Speers ( the only war criminal at Nuremburg Trials to admit guilt) speaks to how he, as well as the german people, allowed themselves to go along the way they did. In fact, Mortensen (at the end of the movie) reminded me a lot of the passage from Speers book where he confronts himself over his participation in the Nazis war crimes.

Speers was Hitler's architect in case you are wondering, worked very closely with Hitler, became the Director of Armenments, and is responsible for the grandiosity of Hitler' publicy rally spectacles.

Devon and Moore remind me of Mortensen's character in "Good" with the exception that THEY KNEW WAY BACK WHEN THAT PALIN IS DANAGEROUS.

The only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." Martin Luther King.

There are sins of omission as well as commission. When you know better and you do nothing---in favor of your own personal benefit--- you are worse than the evil you know you should be fighting.

Shame on them.

Anonymous said...

Whoa! Came here to post a comment and found myself in a cat fight?

Thanks, Phil, for your most informative and well written post on the state of journalism in Alaska and everywhere else, for that matter. Saw your interview on you tube at occupy wasilla, you and he are examples of the best resource Alaska has- people with integrity, willing to stick their necks out to get to the truth.
I read Joe's book and feel he's not getting judged fairly by the media because the subject of it pre-emptively started the false allegations and nefarious inuendo campaign in her show and the media. Which proves you were right all along.
Thanks Again!

Anonymous said...

While I can't avoid not going to ADN, I have quit checking it out when I am waiting in line or bored. If I want to read about interesting things going on around town, What Do I Know? is great. Political corruption-- Cliff Groh and Wickersham's Conscience. I love Immoral Minority-- Griffin is like a hockey player going for a puck in how he digs for stories!

I think I can reduce ADN visits from 3-5 visits per day to once or twice a week.

Anonymous said...

To Lidia17: Your comment re the ADN about how it is horrifying that the "audience should sit there and concede that the purpose of fact-finding be discarded in favor of sheer popularity-seeking, "hits" and so forth ...

You could be talking about today's 'politicians' and $arah Quitter in particular! Ha!

Anonymous said...

It saddens me to see our AK bloggers taking swipes at each other/by others.

I have been a fan of Jeanne, Shannyn and Gryphen for years and believe each has done a remarkable job in exposing the Palin fraud among other things. (You too, Phil) Their tenacity with fact finding and writing skills are amazing.

I will continue to support our tireless band of AK bloggers. Who else can we rely on to tell us what the ADN fails to reveal.

Anonymous said...

To claim Pat Dougherty did more that anyone to kill journalism in Alaska is grossly unfair to both John Tracy and Steve MacDonald.