Sunday, April 29, 2007

The scoop on Don Young

On April 23, I wrote a note about Don Young in which I said, “The Jack Abramoff/Tom Delay scandal relating to the Northern Mariana Islands, has Don Young’s fingerprints all over it,” and then I went to sleep.

The next morning, I woke to learn that “one of Young’s aides will be pleading guilty to Abramoff related corruption charges,” and I duly reported it in a note called Who knew? giving credit to the Anchorage Daily News.

Today, the Anchorage Daily News took up the challenge of linking Young to the Abramoff/Saipan scandal. Hats off to their reporter, a guy named Richard Mauer, pictured, who recently returned from Baghdad.

There’s another story here, one which is percolating up on Bill Moyers Journal. Why are we reading this kind of story in McClatchy papers but not in the the New York Times and the Washington Post?

In a nutshell, the New York Times and the Washington Post are hugely influential newspapers because every decision maker in the nation’s capital reads these papers. But this influence has a price. All of the Washington bureau reporters for these papers know that their subjects will read what they write. The cost of pissing off these insiders might be paid in restricted access. And so, the nation goes to war based on the uncritical reporting of folks like Judith Miller.

But McClatchy (f/k/a Knight-Ridder) doesn’t have to play that game. John Walcott, a skeptical reporter of the run-up to the war explains it this way on Bill Moyer’s Journal:
Our readers aren’t here in Washington. They aren’t up in New York. They aren’t the people who send other people’s kids to war. They’re the people who get sent to war.
And so, they can afford to dig deeper and question the official line.

Or it could just be that the McClatchy chain has reporters with shoe leather and balls. Guys like this Rich Mauer. Go get ’em Rich!

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”

No comments: