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Spin Control

Posts tagged: governor race

Gov debate Tuesday in Yakima

Gubernatorial candidates Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee debate tomorrow evening in Yakima.

The debate is being co-sponsored by the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, and is happening during their convention. The other co-sponsor is KCTS-TV, the public television station in Seattle.

It will be carried live in Spokane on KSPS-TV, channel 7.

This debate may seem like an appetizer for the first presidential debate on Wednesday evening. The next gubernatorial debate, however, may be more of a dessert — it will take place right after the Oct. 11 presidential debate.

That Seattle debate is being described as unprecedented because it will be simulcast on all four Seattle broacast stations — KING, KIRO, KOMO and KCPQ — as well as Northwest Cable News and other stations across the state.

It may also have an unprecedented number of Seattle news-types, a total of four reporters or anchors, on the stage with the candidates along with the moderator, Glenn Johnson of Washington State University's School of Journalism.

“This is a rare moment for competitors to set aside rivalries and work together as colleagues,” Mark Ginther, executive news director of KING and NWCN, said.

That, plus the rest of network programming on Oct. 11 is shot, anyway, because of the presidential debate that will happen during the previous 90 minutes. So it was either this or reruns of “Jeopardy” and sitcoms.

Sunday Spin: Is Internet making politics better?

It’s not clear yet whether this year’s campaign staffs are hell bent on testing Marshall McLuhan’s theorem that “the medium is the message” or are so enamored with high tech that they think it’s the be-all and end-all of politics.
Last week, a member of Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna’s campaign went from paid staffer to suspended staffer to fired staffer in the span of three days. Kathlyn Ehls had typed messages into Twitter that called for Asian Americans to “learn English” and senior citizens who walk too slowly across the street in front of her vehicle to “get a wheelchair.”
Ehls had tweeted these uncharitable thoughts months before going to work for the McKenna campaign. But the recent college graduate apparently was unaware, or forgot, the cardinal rule of venting in cyberspace: things on the Internet have a nasty habit of living forever and surfacing at inopportune times. These did, last Monday, on Seattle blogs.. .
  

New media ways to get into trouble

OLYMPIA — All of the “new media” opportunities for candidates in their staffs have a downside, the Rob McKenna campaign discovered this week. There are now more ways to do something stupid, and get caught at it, and have it come back months later to bite you in the posterior.

So it was that Kathlyn Ehl, a policy staffer for the Republican gubernatorial candidate's campaign, had to apologize Monday for sending out Tweets that disparaged Asians and seniors, before she was on the McKenna staff.

Seattle area blogs like Slog and Publicola reported that Ehls had tweeted in January that Asians should “shut up and speak English” and in November that anyone so old that it takes an entire light to cross the street should “GET A WHEELCHAIR”. Not good for a campaign that would like to get votes from one of the state's largest minority communities or the state's most dependable voting block.

By 5 p.m., McKenna had issued an apology. Unlike some political apologies, it didn't include a series of equivocations:

“The tweets sent by a member of my campaign staff, Kathlyn Ehl, which were reported today were offensive and inappropriate.  I am glad to see that she has apologized for her actions.
The fact that she made the comments before joining my campaign does not make them any less hurtful to Asian Americans and the elderly. They were insensitive and wrong regardless of their context.
She has done the right thing by apologizing.  I am hopeful that she has learned a humbling lesson that will give her greater perspective about having charity in her heart when considering the challenges faced by others.”

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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