Monday, December 22, 2008

Will you help encourage Quality NEWS COVERAGE of Alaska?

Please join me in an effort to encourage reporters and media outlets to do news on real issues in Alaska. There has been tremendous coverage of Governor Palin, her candidacy for Vice President and much about her family, personality and new found fame. In the meantime, Alaska has many issues of importance that are rarely seen in the media.

So, rather than writing lengthy blogs about these issues, I would like to encourage you to use your power of the keyboard to encourage news coverage of substantive issues in Alaska. If you see a story that covers real news - such as a recent story in the Wall Street Journal on the Alaska state budget, encourage the writer to follow-up on the success of the budget in making its way through the legislature. In this case, Palin's budget has already gotten a response from a Republican legislator from Anchorage who asked her to redo the budget with a more realistic eye on projected revenues. The reporter didn't mention this in his story, but I am hoping that next time he might.

COMMENTS - are a good place to mention news related issues, especially when the stories center only on topics such as Palin family matters, etc. This is where I have been inserting information on the suicide rate in Alaska (third in the nation), the number of reported forcible rapes (first), or the severe problems of rural Alaska, for example.

I will post quick info tidbits here that you can use as examples if you are willing to join me in this effort. Perhaps we can budge the news coverage to look at the viability of our current administration and what it may mean for the future of Alaska and the country.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pre Election Posts -

I had taken all of these articles down after the election was over, but in light of the new story that has broken about racist jokes circulating on Alaska state government emails, I am putting up several of the original posts as they may yet again be of interest.

I do hope that we are headed to a bright and better day.... and that Alaska will be one of the places that leads the way, not one of the places that causes us to drag our feet and become lost in the haze of narrow thinking and pettiness.

When the first post went up, it was linked from several sites, eventually made its way to the Associated Press, picked up by the Washington Times and was mentioned on NPR. So, I had felt that the mission was accomplished as far as moving the discussion along.

For ongoing coverage of Alaska issues in a well-written blog, I refer you to The Mudflats. For general sanity, I refer you to Factcheck.org. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

No Alaska Natives for McCain??

Another note on Alaska and the campaigns - there has been a a very active Native organization within the Obama campaign, First Alaskans for Obama. They are accessible, communicative and enthusiastic. After interviewing several members of the Obama organization, a news reporter called the local McCain campaign office twice, two weeks apart to talk to someone with their office from the Alaska Native community. Response to first call - a return call telling saying that info on Native issues is on the national website, and no, there is no organization of Alaska Natives working on the McCain campaign in Alaska.
Second call - after leaving a message, the campaign staffer who returned the call wanted to know what questions the reporter wanted to ask. The staffer never did call back with the name of someone who the reporter could contact. Just a note.... to take note of....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What happened to Sarah Palin? Reality Disconnect.

Anchorage Daily News headline Sunday, October 12 - Palin says report vindicates her
Say What??

According to this story Palin was thoroughly briefed on a report from Steve Branchflower into her abuse of power in office, but her response leads on to wonder, was she briefed on the findings of the report, or only on what to say? The report clearly states that ethical violations took place. According to the Branchflower who authored the report at the behest of the Alaska State Legislature, Todd Palin, and very possibly the governor herself took numerous opportunities to pressure subordinates to help remove a former family member Mike Wooten from his position with the state patrol. The Palins have made several allegations against the trooper. As a result, he was put on leave and was already been subjected to discipline as deemed appropriate by the Alaska State Troopers. As far as is known at this point, no further accusations have been reported to justify additional action against Wooten.

The only portion of the report that could be considered vindication is the clarification that Walt Moneghan, the former State Safety Commissioner, could be released from his position by the governor for any reason whatsoever as he served 'at the pleasure of the governor'. Palin could, legally, release him from his position if she didn't like his tie. However, the report does indicate that Moneghan's failure to assist in firing Wooten was likely a contributing factor to the governor's decision to remove him from his position.

While Palin takes the findings as vindication for her actions, she also insists that the investigation itself was politically motivated. This is contrary to her original attitude, before being picked as McCain's running mate, of welcoming the legislature to 'hold her accountable' when the investigation was first proposed.

All in all, her recent vitriolic comments and attacks on the campaign trail, her disjointed answers to the Anchorage media about the Branchflower report and her apparent disconnect with its findings leaves one wondering, what is happening to Sarah Palin? Though she has her failings, one is left to wonder, why not just admit that a mistake had been made and move on. Why all this posturing and obfuscation? What does her behavior indicate for her actions as a potential vice president?? And, perhaps most interesting of all, what will her political future be if and when she returns to Alaska?

Added note: October 14, 2008
Last night's news coverage on the local CBS affiliate did a story about Palin's allegation of partisanship on behalf of the legislative investigation. She has charged that there was enmity and past disagreements between her and legislators involved in the investigation. To verify whether or not this might be true, they checked into how many of the legislators in question had agreed or disagreed with Palin on one of her major proposals, the AGIA plan. Turns out the split was about half and half, with many of the Democrats voting with the governor on this major piece of Alaska legislation.