The Columbian: “We Try Not To Be Anybody’s Friend Or Anybody’s Enemy”

by lewwaters

The above words were written Saturday in Columbian editor Lou Brancaccio’s Column, Keep us close. Very close. I have no doubt in my mind they actually believe that. But, apparently it helps to belong to the Democratic Party as they also seem to be just a tad bit “friendlier” to them.

No better proof is seen in their coverage of the abrupt and mysterious resignation of 49th legislative district representative Jim Jacks, a Democrat who resigned suddenly Friday, March 25 giving no reason and saying only he “did not want to publicly discuss the details.” Rumors on Jack’s conduct have been heard for some time and both Clark County Politics blog and my blog reported on word we both received from people up in Olympia about reasons.

Contrasting the lack of interest from the Columbian into Jack’s resigning under cloudy circumstances with how they dug into the misconduct of Republican Richard Curtis in 2007, who wasn’t entitled to a ‘cloak of secrecy’ as they published 14 articles on his inappropriate conduct between Oct. 29, 2007 to Nov. 3, 2007 elicited the to be expected, “The Richard Curtis case was a completely different set of circumstances. (And there were not 14 articles in five days, at least not all from The Columbian.)” from Stephanie Rice, Columbian writer who wrote the article on Jacks.

After listing the 14 articles and the dates they were published, receiving a “sorry Lew, I didn’t know you were counting columns and editorials” (strain the gnat much) from Stephanie, I decided to do some more comparison of the two situations.

The Spokane Spokesman-Review published an article, Police probe alleged attempt to extort GOP state lawmaker October 29, 2007 where we read, “Details surrounding the case remained sketchy Sunday, but authorities confirmed that it involves two-term state Rep. Richard Curtis, a Republican from the southwest Washington town of La Center, and there was some type of confrontation last week at Davenport Tower. The identity of the alleged extortionist was unavailable, though police confirm he is a reputed prostitute,” and “Also unclear is the nature of the relationship between Curtis and the reputed prostitute.”

The same day, the Columbian wrote an article, Curtis denies wrongdoing, says he is not gay where we read, “State Rep. Richard Curtis, R-La Center, caught up in a statewide media frenzy over an ongoing extortion investigation in Spokane, said Monday that he is not gay. ‘I committed no crime,’ Curtis said Monday afternoon. ‘I did not solicit sex. I was trying to help somebody out’.”

By the standard used in the case of Jim Jacks, that should have been the end of it, right? There would have been consideration of the privacy of him and his family, as is being granted Jim Jacks. As Stephanie says in the comments section linked above concerning Jacks, “if there is ever anything credible to report about Jacks, we will report it.”

That wasn’t granted to Richard Curtis. The Columbian acted like real newspaper reporters in chasing the story down and we were soon shown Curtis denies sexual encounter on October 30, 2007, Police report sheds new light on Curtis encounter on October 30, 2007, apparently after they sought out the Police Report, Report: Curtis admitted tryst on October 31, 2007, Curtis allegations ripple through La Center on October 31, 2007, where they sent a reporter to the town of La Canter to interview anybody willing to speak about the allegations against Curtis, GOP discusses possibility of asking Curtis to resign on October 31, 2007, Curtis resigns from Legislature on October 31, 2007, Curtis breaks public silence on November 1, 2007, Embattled Curtis steps down on November 1, 2007, and 5 more by November 3, 2007.

Key in Stephanie’s comment is two words, “ever” and “credible.” As I said, rumors of Jim Jack’s ‘adventurous’ nature have been heard for some time. As soon he tendered his resignation Friday, I began receiving calls from people who work up in Olympia on the reasons.

There was even word of lawyers scurrying all over trying to figure out “how to handle it.”

I also recalled an email from August 13, 2010 just before last year’s primary election that was copied to me and sent to the Columbian saying, “Is The Columbian working with House Speaker Frank Chopp to sweep under the rug the fact that Jim Jacks has been accused of sexual harassment? Obviously they have done nothing to request the records that Chopp is keeping quiet in exchange for Jacks supporting him for speaker.”

What does it take to be considered “credible” to the Columbian? Would they “ever” accept anything as credible?

Are there any reporters up in Olympia seeking out the story as they did with Richard Curtis? Are they calling connections up there to get “credible” news on this?

Not that I can tell.

They didn’t accept Curtis’ word and dug until they got the goods on him, causing him to resign in disgrace. Where was the consideration that he had two daughters as does Jacks? It wasn’t there. Where was any consideration of privacy either for him or for his family? There wasn’t any.

But, Curtis was a Republican who had voted against legislation for gays and here he was caught up in a gay scandal. Who could not go with story like that?

Apparently the Columbian when it is a Democrat accused of wrong doing.

No doubt Lou Brancaccio believes it when wrote, “We Try Not To Be Anybody’s Friend Or Anybody’s Enemy.”

No doubt too, they are definitely friendlier to some more so than others and I doubt it a coincidence that it just so happens to be Democrats.

27 Comments to “The Columbian: “We Try Not To Be Anybody’s Friend Or Anybody’s Enemy””

  1. Did Curtis resign immediately? Dunn never resigned.

    I don’t know anymore than you do, but how about a deal like this:
    “If you resign, Jim, I won’t tell the papers.”

    Doesn’t resigning get you anything?

  2. Yes Martin, it gets you out of office and the public eye, if you are a Democrat.

    Dunn was blasted in the paper for doing less than what I hear Jacks was doing. Curtis was pushed into resignation by the papers and the GOP. So, why should Jacks receive a pass?

    He’s a public figure. He campaigned for office, making promises, asking for donations and accepting support. Constituents are entitled to know the why. Especially if the party and the media have known about his “inappropriate action” for some time.

    Did the party know Jacks was going to have to go when they supported him for office again? Did they cover up activities that would have kept him out of office to retain the seat and then appoint someone after he stepped down?

    No more cover-ups, Martin. Transparency just as we demanded when Curtis was pushed into resignation and Dunn was voted out.

    Also, you might be interested in Republican in trouble for “inappropriate” conduct from the Seattle Times Nov. 5, 2007.

    Why is what Jacks has done any different? If bloggers hear about it from Olympia, you can’t tell me that the media hasn’t.

  3. What are you suggesting Democrats are protecting? If Jim stole money, do you think Dems would keep that secret? If Jim killed someone, or drove drunk, or pulled a GoldSchmidt – do you think Dems (or the paper) would keep that secret? If Jim had a police report, or wouldn’t resign after pulling a Dunn, would the paper keep that secret?

    If all the paper has is the rumors contained in blogs I’ve read, that’s NOT news yet. Lew, though your words have merit, the only way I can see them applying is to dig into the personal aspects of a now private man’s life.

  4. Oh, so no matter what he did wrong, he resigned and it’s all forgiven now?

    All the papers had on John Edwards was rumors, that they didn’t want to follow and the National Enquirer did. Why do they receive passes on bad behavior while in office, Martin?

    I have no problem with canning either Curtis or Dunn, their conduct merited it.

    But, the paper actively sought out what they could find on them and now, turns a blind eye to Jacks conduct.

    That’s a double standard and I do not like double standards. Party affiliation should not give one a pass.

  5. If it is indeed a double-standard then I agree with you.

  6. How can it not be a double standard, Martin? Craig Pridmore told KOMO News they have been discussing this with Jacks over a couple days before he resigned. It didn’t take them by surprise like it did the rest of us.

    Even with the stonewalling, Jim Moeller said, “I think he will be sharing that publicly when the time is right for him,” about reasons why.

    Obviously, whatever has been happening was while he was still in office, prompting the resgination Friday morning.

    And, our “journalists” at the Columbian apparently aren’t interested this time, as they were when Curtis denied wrongdoing. If that is a not a double standard, I’d like to know what it is.

  7. I think the whole purpose was to hang on to the seat, then have him resign when they felt they could slide it “under the rug”, figuring they would do it at a time when there were enough other things going on to keep the public “distracted”.

    The newspapers would of course be complicit in the scheme, because we all know that the newspapers are in the tank for the Democrats.

    The Columbian is quite used to getting beat up for both their double standards and their hypocrisy, and I doubt The Columbian would ever do any investigative reporting on the situation with Jacks.

    The only hope is that something will come out before the next election so the Democrats can be shown to be the scoundrels that they are.

    The Columbian will go on stepping into it’s own buckets of excrement until it finally fades off into the sunset. Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.

  8. Any argument that contains the line, “the Democrats can be shown to be the scoundrels that they are” negates whatever validity this discussion might have had. Partisanship is NOT a reason to be digging around in a private citizen’s personal life.

  9. Martin, it appears to me that partisanship drove digging around in Curtis’ personal life back in 2007.

    I agree that partisanship should not fuel such matters, but it is glaringly obvious that it has played a big role in the disparity between the two situations.

  10. Lew, that may be true but let’s not have our discussions degenerate due to someone else’s bad example.

    I agree with you on almost every point. If former Rep. Jacks did anything more than boorish behavior – no holds barred. (I emphasize the word “former.”) If people are actively trying to cover up criminality at any level, they are just as culpable.

  11. Martin, I was trying to point out how partisanship has contributed heavily to the disparity between the two situations.

    Oh, and neither Curtis nor Dunn were involved in anything criminal, other than Curtis was the victim of an extortion attempt. They too were simply boorish, so to speak.

    Whatever Jacks did, it was done while he was a sitting elected official, not after his resignation. That makes it the publics business, just as much as Curtis and Dunn.

    Sort of off topic, but if I really wanted to stretch it some, I could do a post on the Columbian steretyping gays because they asked Jim Moeller about Curtis’ sexuality back then.

    All I ask for is fairness in how they cover politics. For all of Lou’s many columns (or editorials) on how middle of the road they are, incidences as this shows me the exact opposite. They actively pursued every angle they could on Curtis, not granting him any right to privacy and now, turn a blind eye to Jacks.

    That’s not level reporting.

  12. And, we all must note the absolute silence of the Clark County GOP on this matter.

    What… the cat got their tongue?

  13. Nice “try” Martin, but my comment wasn’t “partisan”. I’m an Independent, not a “Republican”.

    Both Democrats and Republicans can be “scoundrels”. It’s just that the Democrats are far more “elitist” and “sneaky” about it than the Republicans are.

    I think that Democrats are generally more “partisan” than Republicans ever thought of being.

    And Lew is right, there definitely is a “double-standard” in the way these things are dealt with, and it is very “partisan”.

    So to leave “partisanship” out of the equation for the sake of “comity” of discussion really doesn’t make a lot of sense. This is a “partisan” matter and the Democrats are behaving very badly about it and need to be called out on it.

  14. Jack, when you say “Democrats” – does that mean me? I’m an insider, I know less than anybody in these blogs. Does your term “Democrats” mean Jim Jacks, a private citizen – should he be “made to talk”? Does it mean the people he asked advice from, Craig Pridemore for example – should Craig be “made to talk”? How about Jim’s wife – maybe she knows? Who, exactly, are you demanding answers from? Should the Columbian have a reporter ask around at parties to see what Jim’s been up to that would titillate readers?

    You paint with a big brush, Jack. At least Lew and Kelly zero in on a possible double-standard. That’s the only story here – not the human frailties of a disgraced, former public persona.

  15. Martin, it’s really hard to avoid partisanship in such a case of double standards. You are one of the few I can recall who is actually willing to look at it and see it for what it is.

    And, not to forget, whatever it was that he did, he did while an elected public official, not as a private citizen.

    In the case of Curtis, what you describe is what the Columbian did. They did not let it rest and pursued the story. Spokane Police I’m sure are not the habit of forwarding Police Reports to Vancouver, so someone requested a copy of it from them.

    It isn’t a matter of to titillate, it’s a matter of why are they covering it up? A matter of a family members health, or even his own, would not necessitate this ‘cloak of secrecy’ surrounding this.

    If Jacks isn’t willing to state why he resigned so suddenly and mysteriously, a responsible Journalist would be seeking why, just as they did when it was a Republican.

    No double standards. No cover-ups. Jacks owes his constituents a truthful explanation since he left his office suddenly and whatever prompted it was during his time as an elected official.

  16. Martin, the people that are covering this up are Democrats. The people trying to whitewash this are Democrats. The members of the Democrat Party that are not putting pressure on their party to be open about this are equal to the “scoundrels” in the matter. That covers a lot of “ground” and needs to be “painted with a big brush”.

    If more Democrats would demand that their party behave better, then maybe it would. Too many Democrats become “robots” and just “go with the flow”.

    It’s time for Democrats to quit acting like “robots” playing some sort of “team sport” and start acting like Americans for once.

  17. Lew, once again I agree with almost everything…

    I wish Clinton would have resigned after Monica. I wouldn’t have wanted to know about the blue dress – a resignation was enough for me. I suppose it wouldn’t have been good enough for you? That’s where we differ.

    You’ve still got a case on the reporting double-standard so I’ll hold my opinion on that.

  18. Gee Lew. The Columbian is into “censoring” today. Matt must have the day off and Lou must be running wild again. Matt replies to the posters and Lou just sneaks around deleting things.

    Matt isn’t afraid to talk with people like the elitists at The Columbian are.

  19. Funny thing is, they think we don’t notice.

  20. Elitists always think “no one will notice”. They’re as stupid as their “ideas” are.

  21. The left has no real competition in the media, other than Fox News and you see how they act over that.

    As I recall reading, one of the basic tenets of the Bolsheviks as they took over Russia late in WW1 was to own the media and only allow their views published.

  22. Thank God for computers, Lew.

  23. Sometimes, Jack, sometimes 😉

    I still recall thinking learning to use slide-rule was really cool.

  24. Was that back when we still had newspapers, Lew?

  25. As I was 12 or 13, I believe there was still newspapers. It was long before Watergate and they seemed to still act like newspapers then.

    But, like Curtis, Nixon too was a Republican.

    And, what we have come to learn about JFK that we were never told, I’m not too sure any more.

  26. FDR, Truman, and Ike were no “jewels” either, Lew. I’ve often thought what it would have been like if we’d had computers back then.

    Computers have become the “great equalizers”. You might say: “The computer is mightier than the colt .45”.

  27. None of them have been what they are portrayed as. People forget, they are just men, like the rest of us.

    Still, some have been much worse than others nd the media used to hide it. And, in all too many cases, they still do.

    Why do you think they are trying to gain more control of the internet?

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