Wally Wonders Why

No editor, no publisher, you get what you get

Making the grade

I’ll give the Herald an A+ for their choice in front running, both online and in print, an AP story regarding electronic monitoring. However, the A+ grade is not for journalism; for that I’d give them…. maybe a C- to be generous. The A+ grade is for propaganda.

They have done an outstanding job of selling the public an image of a governor who is tough on sex offenders.

  • Gregoire ramps up monitoring of sex offenders
  • Gov. Chris Gregoire is ramping up electronic monitoring of high-risk sex offenders
  • Gregoire says she’s spending $400,000 from her emergency fund for the expanded program
  • The plan is supported by Gregoire’s task force on sex offenders
  • Gregoire says there was a need to take action now

Those 5 hard hitting points are from their online Breaking News article. You can’t get more hard hitting than that. Especially since this article was only about 100 words. The printed article today was a bit longer, but still dense with Gov. Gregoire’s hard hitting, take ownership for the solution, stance on sex offenders. By golly, if those offenders aren’t quaking in their boots they ought to be.

Have you been caught up in emotion and forgot that I mentioned propaganda. No, I’m not disputing what was said in the article, but I will mention what was not said. For it is what is not said, that makes what was said, nothing more than propaganda.

What was not said was that Gov. Gregoire cherry picked one little piece of a Republican program and is running with it. To be fair, the print version had a mention that some Republicans thought the legislation didn’t go far enough, while the online blurb made no mention of Republicans. To be unfair, i.e. propaganda, the Herald did not make mention of these facts whats at all.

House Republicans drafted eight bills for the Legislature to consider during a special session, which were also sent to the governor and her sex offender task force last month. These measures would:

  • Update Washington’s tracking technology;
  • Increase penalties for sex offenders who fail to register;
  • Allow for community notification of all sex offenders who fail to register;
  • Require DNA registration for all sex offenders;
  • Add email and internet address registration for sex offenders;
  • Provide more tools to community corrections officers to better supervise offenders;
  • Help federal authorities enforce immigration laws as applicable to sex offenders;
  • Allow for release sex offenders subject to deportation to federal authorities.

The Herald did not mention this:

House Republicans were surprised today when the governor invited the media to her office to announce that four sex offenders out of almost 20,000 will be monitored with a global positioning system (GPS) device. There are currently 1,300 sex offenders who have failed to register in the state, prompting Republican state representatives to question why only four will receive special attention.

I’m fairly certain that she didn’t word this the same way as this House Republicans news release did, but these are just a few of many facts that were left out of the article. Facts such as the real motivating force behind any of this legislation.

The public needs to know we’re serious, and the governor’s announcement today is not going to make the public feel any safer.”

House Republicans sent a letter to the governor in August requesting a special session to update sex offender laws in an effort to better track sex offenders. Today’s news conference was the only response House Republicans received from their request. No House Republicans were invited to participate in the news conference despite the fact they authored GPS monitoring legislation and seven other public safety bills.

It is highly political when a Democratic Party governor can take credit in public, for work done by members of the Republican Party. It is high propaganda when news agencies and local press accept it without question and spread it without conscience.

P.S.

I would have given the Herald and A+ in journalism if they had refused to carry the AP story and written an article explaining their refusal and printing a few of the facts. I myself refuse to lower my wally-WASL standard on journalism to call what the Herald printed A+ journalism, or even B+, or C+, or D+

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