Friday, October 22, 2010

Tony Hopfinger and Handcuffs on Moore Up North

My eyelids are drooping.  I've just erased what I was writing because it was . . . sooo boring.

(double click the photo to enlarge it)

We went to the old Fly-by-Night Club tonight, now reborn as Taproot, where Shannyn Moore has moved her weekly KYES talk show.  Taping was tonight and it should air Saturday on KYES, Channel 5, and on Shannyn's blog soon.  (The link is to the show two weeks ago with Tom Begich and Scott McAdams.  But you should be able to find tonight's show there too in a few days.)

See, it's still boring.  The show wasn't.  Tony Hopfinger, Joe Miller's first notch on his handcuffs, was on, and then there was a panel of journalists - Tom Brennen of the old Anchorage Times and now the The Anchorage Daily Planet on line; Craig Medred of the Alaska Dispatch now, and formerly an outdoor writer for the ADN;  and attorney and former legislator Eric Croft. 

I found the evening depressing.  Gallows humor was the standard as people discussed the man who handcuffed a reporter trying to ask him serious questions that he seriously doesn't want to answer.  Miller's in a dead heat in the polls with the US Senator he beat in the primaries, while Scott McAdams, the Democrat seems to be trailing badly.  Democrats used to win Alaska elections by having the right split the vote.  Murkowski seems to be trying to fight that history by selling the story that McAdams can't win, and if he did, he's not qualified, and that to save Alaska from Miller, they have to vote Murkowski.  Or not vote at all.

l-r Moore, Brennan, Medred, Croft
Then Medred proudly announces that he never votes because he thinks it's a conflict of interest for journalists to vote.  This is the guy who covered bears and backpacking most of the time he wrote for the Anchorage Daily News.  For crying out loud, this is the United States where everyone has the right and duty to vote.  Even judges.

To be fair to Craig, there are people who take his position as seen in these essays on whether journalists should vote at  Politico.  But I come down with Robert Niles at the Online Journalism Review.   Even if you don't vote, your objectivity is a myth.  Even the emotion free Data would be partisan because he'd rationally tally up the pluses and minuses of each candidate and figure out who would be best. Not voting is like academics using 'we' instead of 'I' to make their articles sound less subjective.  It doesn't really change anything except their myth of objectivity.  Better to simply tell readers your bias, write balanced articles, and let the readers judge for themselves. 

I look at everything that comes out as potentially tainted.  It seems like every webpage I opened today had an ad for Lisa Murkowski.  The narrative that a vote for McAdams is a vote for Miller may or may not be true, but it is also the political message the Murkowski camp is using to get Democrats to vote for her.

I wouldn't take anything for granted.  While corporate Native Alaska has ponied up nearly $1 million to support Murkowski, village Native Alaska may not be as ready to buy into this.  And some Alaskan Native youth see McAdams as their candidate and are speaking out about it.   With people hanging up on robocalls and with cell phones not being called by most pollsters, it seems to me people should vote for the person who best matches their values rather than playing voter roulette in an attempt to outsmart themselves. And if Joe Miller wins?  He's one person out of 100 in the Senate.  The world won't end.  (But it will probably be meaner and harsher.)

But I did meet an interesting couple from Homer who sailed the world for 15 years before picking Kachemak Bay as their home.

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