Morning Fizz: Lots of Other To-Dos
Caffeinated news and gossip featuring new candidates, new roles, and new media.
1. We came up with an SAT word—insouciant—recently to describe the Washington State Democratic Party's unimpressive effort to hold on to the state senate seat in the 30th Legislative District (Federal Way, Des Moines). Last month, longtime state Sen. Tracey Eide (D-30, Federal Way) announced, apparently without giving the party much advance notice, that she was retiring right after formidable candidate and former state rep Mark Miloscia announced he was running for the seat as a Republican.
(Miloscia, a serious labor liberal and serious social conservative, represented the district as a Democrat in the house for 13 years, before running and losing a race for state auditor in 2012. Feeling jilted by the party—he lost that primary largely because of his anti-choice, anti-gay rights positions—he's now back as a Republican, claiming the GOP has a bigger tent. Hmmm. Has he looked at the racial makeup of the Republican caucuses in the state legislature?)
The Democratic nonchalance about losing even more ground in the senate (the GOP is on the brink of not even needing dissident Democrat state Sen. Rodney Tom anymore) is formally over: This morning, real estate broker Shari Song, the onetime president of Washington state's Korean American Coalition and also the founder of the Federal Way Mission Church Learning Center who ran and lost a race against Republican King County Council member Reagan Dunn last year, announced she's running against Miloscia.
In a statement, Song said: “I want to continue my community service by working for the values we all care about—educating our children, protecting our seniors, and honoring our veterans. In Olympia, I’ll fight for jobs and a stronger economy, improvements to our transportation system, and bolstering women’s rights.”
2. A little follow-up to yesterday's Fizz item about Tina Podlodowski, Mayor Ed Murray's lead policy adviser on police reform. (Although Murray has said SPD reform is the top issue of his administration, Podlodowski is on indeterminate leave right now. Mayor Murray told us she was stressed out and needed R&R.)
But given that Murray also told us SPD reform was moving too slowly, we had a follow-up: Who's heading the effort now?
Murray's office says the task has fallen to Murray's new chief of staff Chris Gregorich and Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim—two staffers who have a lot of other to-dos on their plates right now.
3. The Washington News Council, a media watchdog group that fielded public complaints about inaccuracies, bias, and ethical missteps in the news media, announced that it's closing shop "after 15 years of holding this state’s news media publicly accountable."
The group's board took up complaints against news outlets, held public hearings, and issued findings; their most recent hearing involved forensic psychologist and regular trial witness Dr. Richard Wollert's complaint against the Seattle Times. Wollert believed the Times unfairly belittled his credentials.
Longtime WNC Executive Director and Board President John Hamer, an earnest and tireless champion for ethical reporting, who co-founded the group in 1988, had been looking for a new ED since announcing his retirement in January, but the interview process led the group to reconsider its very existence.
In an announcement on the group's website, Hamer explains: "The news media have changed tectonically since we began. The eruption of online digital news and information made our mission of promoting high standards in journalism much more difficult, if not impossible. How can anyone oversee a cyber-tsunami? Who can oversee ethics on blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all the other social media platforms? We’re all deluged daily with factoids, sound bites, rumors, opinion and commentary. Citizens just have to make up their own minds about who can be trusted in the media today."
Fizz would argue that on the flip-side, the explosion of online journalism has also added a level of media accountability—through commenters, mass access to documents, and media sites watch-dogging other media sites—that has made WNC less necessary.