Letter: Claims of objectivity are unconvincing



As reported in the Sept. 4 story, “Candidates decline to do video for rivals’ funder: Wealthy activist says his website is a fair venue,” Vancouver City Council incumbents Larry Smith and Bart Hansen and candidate Anne McEnerny-Ogle indignantly refuse questioning from conservative political activist David Madore’s website, Couv.com. While they are free to do so, those observing this kerfuffle are also free to draw conclusions from it.

McEnerny-Ogle presents entities like The Columbian and League of Women Voters as admirable “public forums” — neutral, fair, balanced. Meanwhile, Madore’s venue is branded disreputably partisan. But those unprivileged with McEnerny-Ogle’s presumptions of impartiality can reasonably doubt verdicts about the objectivity of this newspaper and the league.

The Columbian is supported with advertising from enterprises controlled by local elites who, if dissatisfied with its editorial content, will reduce, or even eliminate, these publication-sustaining ad buys. Its news often comes from civic, political and governmental organizations influenced by those same oligarchs, who can curtail such access if insufficiently deferential coverage is given. Objectivity? Pleeeese.

Regarding the league’s pretenses of Apollonian detachment, consider this telling detail: Until beginning her most recent campaign, The Columbian reports that McEnerny-Ogle sat on the league’s board. While she surely thinks that bespeaks disinterestedness, those unbeguiled by such luring bait think differently.

John Burke