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December 08, 2006

Anti-transit whackos lose (again) in State Supreme Court

The State Supreme Court voted 8-1 to uphold Sound Transit's car tab taxes.  It turns out that you can't write law that nullifies a contract you'd already entered into, in this case a contract with bondholders to collect car tab taxes to repay the loans we've taken to finance our light rail system.

Shame on the reporter Mike Lindblom and the Seattle Times for quoting Tim Eyman in the story.  (He's the only person quoted in the story, in fact!)  Tim Eyman is not a significant part of the story.  The parties involved in this case, according to the Supreme Court Opinion, were:

PIERCE COUNTY, GLORIA IRENE THEIN, CITY OF TACOMA, WILLIAM LaBORDE, KING COUNTY, KAREN UFFELLMAN (Respondents)

and                                

SOUND TRANSIT, THE SIERRA CLUB, 1000 FRIENDS OF WASHINGTON, KING COUNTY LABOR COUNCIL, WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL, CITY OF KENMORE, TRANSPORTATION CHOICES COALITION, AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION LOCAL 587, and AEROSPACE MACHINIST UNION 

V.

STATE OF WASHINGTON (Appellant) 

and

SALISH VILLAGE HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION, and G. DENNIS VAUGHN (Intervenors-Appellants)


How come Lindblom couldn't get a quote from any of those folks (or their attorneys?)   Why did he have to provide yet another opportunity for liar/huckster Eyman to shoot his mouth off in the media? 

Just because Tim is always ready with another lie for reporters doesn't mean they have to act like his personal stenographers.

We deserve better.


Posted by Jon Stahl on December 8, 2006 at 10:47 AM in Ballot Initiatives, Media | Permalink

Comments

Obviously it has never occurred to Jon Stahl that Lindblom might have been assigned by his editors to get a quote from Eyman.

But why should Stahl care? It's much easier to assume that Lindblom is a steno for Eyman than it is to pick up the phone, call Lindblom, and ask him: "Mike, I'm curious why you quoted Eyman here."

We deserve better.

Posted by: ivan | Dec 9, 2006 10:29:34 AM

You are indeed right that I should have called out the editors of the paper as well, but surely you aren't implying that Lindblom shouldn't be held accountable for the content of a story that bears his byline?

Posted by: Jon Stahl | Dec 9, 2006 12:51:19 PM

Reporters have less control over what appears under their bylines than people think, and many times they are the scapegoats for editors' decisions that might be made at any of several levels, for any number of reasons.

For instance, the reporter might have talked to the people you wished he had talked to, and those quotes might have been trimmed for space considerations. This is a common daily occurrence.

It's always best to call a reporter and find out what happened before jumping to the conclusion that the reporter bears the sole, or even the principal responsibility, and criticizing like this. In Lindblom's case, he is a stand-up guy and a conscientious reporter, and he would have given you a straight answer.

Posted by: ivan | Dec 9, 2006 1:23:42 PM

I am entirely certain that Lindblom, like most reporters I've met -- is indeed a stand-up guy whom I would probably enjoy drinking a beer with.

I try very hard not to engage in pointless ad-hominem attacks. In this case, I strongly criticized Lindblom's actions, albeit with a somewhat mocking metaphor. (Hey, this is a blog, after all!)

I don't have to call him for an explanation before criticizing something that's in the public record. The article speaks for itself.

Whether his editors mangled his story is irrelevant -- it appeared under his byline. I'm sure that bad editing happens all the time, but I do think it's fair to hold the guy with the byline accountable.

If you're right that the decision to quote Eyman wasn't Lindblom's doing, then he'll be able to use my public criticism of the final story as ammunition next time he has to defend a better version with his editors.

If quoting Eyman was Lindblom's idea, then his actions have been noted and criticized politely - if strongly -- in a public forum. That's what bloggers do. We criticize in public about what's on the public record. :-)

Posted by: Jon Stahl | Dec 9, 2006 3:27:05 PM

If accusing a reporter of acting like a personal steno for Tim Eyman, based solely in this article, is not a pointless ad hominem attack, I suppose my threshold for what constitutes a pointless ad hominem personal attack is lower than yours is.

Posted by: ivan | Dec 9, 2006 5:38:50 PM

If accusing a reporter of acting like a personal steno for Tim Eyman, based solely on this article, is not a pointless ad hominem attack, I suppose my threshold for what constitutes a pointless ad hominem personal attack is lower than yours is.

Posted by: ivan | Dec 9, 2006 5:39:22 PM

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