Of Madore and Mayor Leavitt

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Published:

 

OK, let’s get this party started.

I’m in a Q & A mood, so here are some questions I think you might have.

Yo, Lou. I see that David Madore took a little swipe at the media the other day. Your thoughts?

Yes. And it was covered in our political blog on our website.

A little background first.

Madore, who is a very successful local businessman, is also the no-tolls-on-the-bridge guy.

So if you’re in favor of a new bridge, you’re probably not in love with Madore. Put County Commissioner Steve Stuart in that camp.

With a reporter present, Stuart blurts out that Madore is a “crackpot.”

Yikes!

We reported it on our political blog.

Stuart quickly apologizes, and Madore — who, I happen to believe, is a truly nice guy — accepts it.

But then Madore goes on to say:

“The press will make news of our worst moments.”

Huh?

Now I’m not suggesting the media doesn’t cover worst moments. Clearly when someone screws up, we report it. But to suggest we’re somehow wrong in doing so is to suggest we shouldn’t be covering the conflicts that make up our world, our everyday life.

Madore’s statement also suggests that worst moments are all the media covers. And that’s just silly.

Our newspaper — like most newspapers — has plenty of good news. I’m beginning to suspect that readers simply don’t remember the good news we report.

Next question.

Before we get off the subject of Mr. Madore, wasn’t he the guy who posted that “gavel down” video on YouTube?

Insightful observation. Madore did indeed push Vancouver City Councilwoman Jeanne Harris’ ballistic moment into viral status. As many of you recall, Harris came unglued at a city council meeting and kept insisting a citizen who was speaking should be gaveled down.

And (here comes the money line) Madore did the exact same thing he is accusing us of doing:

Making news out of someone’s worst moment.

Let’s be clear. I think Madore’s posting of that video was the right thing to do.

But it’s a little unbecoming to take a shot at the media for covering a worst moment when he’s doing the exact same thing. (I think I already said this but it was worth repeating.)

Madore, who one day hopes to be a media mogul, should remember that old saying.

What is it? Something about glass houses?

Next question.

Any quick observations about Mayor Tim Leavitt’s State of the City speech?

Putting aside its content, let’s discuss how it came across.

Last year, his speech — the first one he delivered — was borderline brutto. This year, he improved!

But hold on. Was it great? Sorry to say, not so much.

The engineer by trade was still mostly deadpan.

Give him credit. You can tell he was coached up to vary his speech pattern, get loud at the designated times and go off script. All good things!

But he has yet to learn to be engaging. He still can’t hold your attention. Especially in a way-too-long speech.

It was also a bit scattered and lacked a real focus.

Before doing a speech, one should ask, “What’s the main thing I want to get across and how can I tie multiple topics together?”

Hey, he could use an editor and a speech coach. Or he could take my advice … for free!

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505 or lou.brancaccio@columbian.com.