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The Seattle Times stepped over the line | Letter to the Editor
The Seattle Times has announced quite a remarkable decision, to spend newspaper money to place ads in their paper in support of Rob Mckenna’s candidacy for governor. Over the history of newspapers, there has always been a careful division between at least an attempted objectivity in reporting news on the one hand, and on the other, announced editorial page opinions favoring one candidate or another. Their decision strikes me as dissolving this line.
I feel I will no longer be able to trust the objectivity of their news reporting, but will feel the intruding pressure of opinion everywhere. I think Times staff writers have already expressed an awareness of, and unhappiness with, this situation.
In The Beachcomber’s Oct. 17 issue, Greg Wessel noted how the world is coming to see our country as governed from behind the scenes by corporations: corporate money and corporate will. I don’t and won’t watch television news for just this reason: The aura of opinion is everywhere in any news hour. The Times is a “family-owned” newspaper, but is behaving like a corporation, its corporate self-seeking overriding a long, fine history of ethical journalism. I expect soon the day when actual news writing will have shrunk to a few paragraphs and the “newspaper” will be made up of opinion-filled pages full of slanted information purchased by wealth and directed to its purposes. Time for those of us with some principle left to express distress?
I will be reading The Times from now on with great caution and distrust.
— Cal Kinnear