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Herald runs a beautiful smear of Rossi

By On

Today's Bellingham Herald Headline:

Rossi was fan of pork

And there follows a long article by Les Blumenthal, a reporter on the Herald staff, that rips U.S. Senate candidate Dino Rossi for his positions on spending bills in both the state and federal governments. The "reporting" is very much slanted against Rossi and includes quotes by leading Democrats.

Gentle reader, this is a perfect example of a smear. This information has been available to the Herald for months, yet it is run on the day voters are mailing their ballots, allowing no time for rebuttal by Rossi. The very same article could have been printed two or three weeks ago, allowing Rossi to respond. And it brings up issues the Herald has hardly touched on during the past months of campaigning.

This was an opinion piece, not reporting. The headline is damning. So damning it is not repeated in the online version at the Herald website. Online the headline is totally different. And, while it is the bold top headline in the newspaper, online the editors buried it - not even putting it on their home page. After the fact, some editor at the Herald realized what had gone to press. Very poor editorial control at the Herald - probably due to the fact they have hardly any editors left.

A smear is an attack made too late in a campaign to allow a rebuttal. A smear may be true, partially true, or it may be irrelevant to the campaign. Reading just a smear, a person is given only one reasonable conclusion: that the candidate is guilty. The intention is to harm, with no time left for rebuttal. It is underhanded and cheap. A smear does not have to be false - it just has to lose votes for the candidate it attacks.

Oh, I know - Rossi will probably survive the primary. That does not excuse the Herald. We should keep this in mind as we read the Herald "reporting" over the next few months. We cannot even blame Les, the reporter, as he may have submitted this article to Herald editors days or even a couple weeks ago. We do not know. This smear goes right to the desks of the Herald's editors.

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About John Servais

Posting Citizen Journalist • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Ham Hayes

Aug 16, 2010

Good call, John.  A sad day for the Herald…they may not be able to get up.

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David Camp

Aug 17, 2010

I’d call it rather an exposure of Rossi’s hypocrisy. Good job, Herald! About time.

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John Servais

Aug 17, 2010

And, David, what do you call it when a last day article exposes something about your preferred candidate?  My guess is you would call it unfair - at the least.

And that is the point.  We liberals are supposedly more ethical than our conservative friends - or at least that is what I always hear from my liberal friends.  And - yet - it seems not - as evidenced by your comment.  Good that we got that hypocrite - regardless of how unethically we did it. 

I wonder if the Herald smear article on Rossi had any factual errors.  Maybe - maybe not - but no error could be corrected before the election.

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David Camp

Aug 18, 2010

John,

My point is that exposing hypocrisy is a good thing.

Your characterisation of the Herald’s article as a “smear” depends on its timing - you say that it is late in the campaign and there is no time for rebuttal.

However, by ballot run-in day, the County auditor has normally received most of the ballots from voters - which means that the Herald’s article was too late to influence the vote in any event.

I could just as well argue that the Herald withheld crucial information on a candidate for months, releasing it only when it was too late to influence the vote. Those dirty Rossi-lovers!

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David Camp

Aug 18, 2010

That’s “ballot turn-in day”. Yet another typo courtesy of Dell’s race to build the flimsiest keyboard.

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