The Anchorage Press has it wrong. There's been no shortage of praise for Ted Stevens in the ADN over the years.
I like Brendan Joel Kelley and I consider him to be a friend, but his most recent piece in The Anchorage Press regarding my "Community Voices" column on Ted Stevens is way off the mark.
It's not completely his fault. It just shows that he doesn't know the history of the multi-decade "dance" between ADN and "Uncle Ted."
I'll never forget the most memorable use of of that "endearment." It was between 12 and 15 years ago when now-Democratic-State-Legislator, Mike Doogan was my favorite columnist. He wrote a piece on how he wanted to know when Ted Stevens was going to retire because he was leaving Alaska...the state's income would dry up and blow away.
Everyone laughed because we agreed it was probably true. Ted could do no wrong back then.
However, in the last 10 years, things have changed. I don't know if Ted's faculties have been slipping (watching his decline on video is downright painful) or if all these years have given him such a sense of entitlement he doesn't feel like he has to try anymore. At the very least, he tells fairy stories and the media sucks it up like pablum:
- "Once upon a time, Uncle Ted took good care of Veterans!" (He's voted against funding the VA system over 26 times since 1990...I will happily email the 26 links to anyone who wants proof.)
- "Uncle Ted was responsible in part for the success of the 2001 GI Bill" (He was against it before he was for it before he was against it before he was for it again.)
- "Uncle Ted has taken good care of his constituents." (Ted Stevens has consistently approved tax cuts for the wealthy and has repeatedly voted against tax relief for Alaskan families...again, I will happily email the info to anyone who wishes.)
The part that most disappointed me was the fact that Brendan totally bought the myth that "The ADN only prints bad stuff about Ted Stevens."
First off, all one has to do is go to the online ADN "Local Columnists" link under "Opinion" to find Dan Fagan's June 28th rah, rah article on Ted Stevens' accomplishments. Contrary to Mr. Crawford's claim, had they posted his Compass piece when he wished, it would have seemed a veritable Stevens love-fest.
Secondly, there has NEVER been ANY story written by a Daily News reporter specifically focusing on any of the issues I mention above...never. Like John McCain, the press seems to give Ted a pass.
Thirdly, on the issue I brought up in my column--of Ted Stevens touting Mark Steyn's book of prejudice, there was NOT ONE DAILY NEWS STORY written on this other than to mention it on the Alaska Politics blog and in "Alaska Newsreader" in passing and point them to Phil Munger's and my blogs. There was also NOT ONE MENTION ON ALASKA TELEVISION NEWS of this issue AT ALL.
This was not an "I hate Ted Stevens" story...this was a damn "Holy crap, what is my Senator doing?" story. If anything, the Daily News used me to get the story out.
If it had been a controversial book suggested by Barack Obama or any other Democrat, we'd still see it every waking moment discussed ad nauseum on the cable news channels.
Also, Brendan, comparing the "Community Voices" columns vs. the "Compass" pieces is NOT a subtle difference. I had to apply for the Community Voices position and was selected from a number of applicants as were my other four "Community Voices" compadres. We hold our positions for six months, where we get approximately six columns of our own. Compass pieces (which I have also had published before) are longer versions of Letters to the Editor. One submits them and hopes they get picked.
If Mr. Crawford wants a little more leeway in his writing, he should apply for the next round of "Community Voices" selections which I believe will be in September.
I look forward to reading his columns.