The key word in the previous paragraph is "leading". I have always suspected that ADN was biased against candidates who choose to take the municipal exemption rather than engage in conventional fund-raising and the comprehensive reporting requirements which accompany it. However, that bias appeared very subtle and was never openly expressed.
Until March 21st, 2008. By the editorial staff themselves. Here's their comment, posted to the thread referenced in paragraph 1:
March 25, 2008 - 12:44pm editorial_views
Why the editorial board didn't interview everyone
Note from the editorial staff:
We have limited time for interviews and in this case, Blankenship had no noticeable community or political experience in Anchorage, and indicated he would not be a competitive candidate by declaring that he planned to raise and spend less than $5,000 against a candidate who raised and spent considerably more.
Got you wankers red-handed, didn't I? LOL!
However, the four candidates left out in the cold aren't "LOLLing". One of them, Downtown Assembly Candidate Chris Blankenship, is a bit unhappy, although this time he expressed himself in a much more parliamentary fashion. In addition, Eagle River candidate Anthony Lemons, West Anchorage candidate Bert Hoak, and South Anchorage candidate Jesse Busick fall into this category. All four chose to take the municipal exemption rather than subject themselves to the additional rigours of fund-raising and reporting. Note: I found a Bert Hoak video on a different ADN page.
For those not familiar, in order to take the municipal exemption, a candidate signs a piece of paper proclaiming the intent not to spend or raise more than $5,000 during a campaign. However, there is no penalty if the candidate exceeds that threshold; the candidate merely begins formal reporting at that point.
While ADN may well be accurate about the lack of "noticeable community or political experience" on the part of these candidates, who is ADN to proclaim them not to be "competitive"? Chris Blankenship in particular has been quite competitive. He wasted little time in keeping me up to date on his websites and his projected appearances. He has, by all accounts, showed up at the flagship forums like the Chamber of Commerce and KAKM's "Running". He provided input to the Anchorage Education Association's (AEA) candidate survey while several more prominent candidates couldn't be bothered to respond to them. If this isn't "competitive", I'd like to know what ADN defines as competitive.
I think we already know. ADN's definition of "competitive" is simply the ability to raise money. And that's why campaigns have become so expensive and why corruption has so nakedly permeated Alaska politics. Perhaps ADN believes the ability to raise money is the most quantifiable test of a candidate's powers of persuasion. If so, that may not necessarily be invalid, but why hasn't ADN previously owned up to it publicly and made a case for it?
ADN opines that they have "limited time" for interviews. Gee, KTUU doesn't seem to have that problem. They not only have plenty of time, but they literally begged reclusive school board candidate Toni Truelove for her input on multiple occasions before finally giving up in sheer frustration. You're telling me that the largest and most profitable newspaper in the state of Alaska cannot make the time to do it right? Uh-uh. I'm not buying it.
The larger point is that every other venue in Anchorage (besides KAKM, which hosed Dick Traini) except the Anchorage Daily News has extended EQUAL consideration to all candidates. By only videoing "leading" candidates, ADN displayed unacceptable bias. While this type of egregious behavior by ADN is the exception rather than the rule, it is clearly flagrant and noticeable in this case. Either do it for all declared candidates or for none. No exceptions, no exclusions.
I should note that KFQD's conservative talk radio host Dan Fagan also exhibits bias. However, his program is entertainment rather than journalism and so it is not incumbent upon a talk radio host to abide by the same rules of fairness. And he fesses up to it publicly. That lesser standard can also be applied to any other talk radio host.
If you missed KAKM's "Running", they've archived it. Click HERE to reach their archive page.
All of the Anchorage Daily News' election content can be accessed via this page.