Thank You to the Anchorage Daily News.

13 11 2008

I would just like to say, “Thank you Anchorage Daily News.” Not a surprised happy thank you, not a gushy appreciative thank you, but the kind of thank you that you say to the dentist that fixes a painfully absessed tooth. Or when your neighbors with the compulsively barking dog finally move. Or the kind of thank you you silently whisper to a sleeping infant who’s been screaming for the last hour and a half.

I say this kind of thank you to the Anchorage Daily News for removing the “Sarah and Me” online photo gallery that has been plastered on the front page for way way too long. Readers were encouraged to post photos of themselves or friends with the Governor. We were treated to an endless parade of people cheek to cheek with Sarah, and leaning into the camera with big toothy smiles. Here we are at the Governor’s picnic! Here we are at Fur Rondy! Here we are at the Miners and Trappers Ball! I couldn’t believe I ran into her at the hockey game! Wow!

So it was with great joy that I noticed that, despite the fact that I still see three images of Palin on the home page of the Daily News, our newspaper at least no longer looks like a fan-zine. I’m not exactly sure when they removed the gallery. It’s kind of like having a headache for a really long time, and then suddenly realizing it’s gone, but not quite knowing when it happened.

Whenever it was…..thank you Anchorage Daily News. Thank you.

Anchorage Daily News Endorses Obama!

25 10 2008

Holy Cow.  Alaska’s largest newspaper has endorsed a candidate for president, and it isn’t the guy that shares the ticket with our own Maverick Governor!  As irritated as I have been by the sometimes cloying, often gushy coverage of Sarah Palin, it is inconceivable that any thoughtful person or entity living in the state of Alaska, could possibly think that she is the best choice to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

The Anchorage Daily News Endorses Barack Obama. (I just felt like typing that again.)

Here are the highlights:

Alaska’s founders were optimistic people, but even the most farsighted might have been stretched to imagine this scenario. No matter the outcome in November, this election will mark a signal moment in the history of the 49th state. Many Alaskans are proud to see their governor, and their state, so prominent on the national stage.

Gov. Palin’s nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency — but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.


Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.


Gov. Palin has shown the country why she has been so successful in her young political career. Passionate, charismatic and indefatigable, she draws huge crowds and sows excitement in her wake. She has made it clear she’s a force to be reckoned with, and you can be sure politicians and political professionals across the country have taken note. Her future, in Alaska and on the national stage, seems certain to be played out in the limelight.

Yet despite her formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.

And to further redeem themselves in the eyes of the Mudflats Editorial Board (me), they have coverage of today’s Obama rally right there on the front page online, with a nice write-up and a picture.  I had given the first ever “Moose Nugget Award” to the paper after their heavy coverage of the meager pro-Palin rally, and hardly a mention of the gigantic pro-Obama rally happening at the same time right down the block.  Now, I would like to acknowledge that they have tried to make amends, and upgrade them to the coveted “Gilded Moose Nugget!”  (Loud applause, and caps tossed in the air!  Approving snorts from polar bears, wolves howling and chasing their tails!)

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And the Moose Nugget Award Goes to…..

5 10 2008

I attended both Presidential candidates’ rallies in Anchorage yesterday.

Obama-Biden rally – Approximately 1200 rally-goers, lots of homemade signs, voter registration, postcard writing, live band, t-shirt/button sales with long lines, lots of families and dogs (some with signs), outside on the Park Strip.  Noticeable racial diversity in the crowd.

Focus of rally:  Hope, change, moving forward, getting out the vote, labor, women’s issues, health care, the economy, veterans, Alaska natives.

McCain-Palin rally – Approximately 250ish rally-goers, hundreds of empty chairs, pre-printed campaign signs, t-shirt/button sales, high school band, very few kids, no dogs, inside in a cavernous convention hall.

Focus of rally:  Terrorism, military, fear of those who “hate us”, Obama rally is angry and filled with hate, think of all that Alaska will get if Sarah is elected, oil, get out the vote, war.  Noticeable lack of racial diversity in the crowd.

The front of the room at the Palin rally.  Slideshow at right.

Yes, I am an Obama supporter.  Yes, I had a rollicking good time at the Obama rally.  Yes, I found the McCain-Palin rally empty (on many levels) and depressing.  But trying really really hard to be “objective”, that was my take of what I observed.

Here’s my beef.  The Anchorage Daily News covered the McCain-Palin rally, as you would expect they would.  But, they did not cover the Obama rally.  The article on the cover of today’s Anchorage Daily News entitled Pro-Palin Rally Gets Surprise Guests had 535 words.  489 of them were about the McCain-Palin rally, the surprise pop-in from Todd and Piper Palin, and included quotes and observations from the rally-goers.  44 of those words were about the Obama-Biden rally….the rally with four times as many attendees; the rally that flew in the face of Sarah-mania on her home turf; the rally that showed the rest of the country that there is significant support for a Democratic candidate in the state of Alaska.  There were no quotes or interviews.  Here are the 44 words:

The Saturday [Palin] rally had plenty of competition downtown as Alaska supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama held a rally and voter registration drive on the chilly Delaney Park Strip nearby.  Hundreds of Obama fans crowded sidewalks and waved signs as cars streamed by.

Two sentences.

The Obama-Biden rally was the largest rally for a presidential candidate in Alaskan history.  There were similar rallies held all across Alaska, with hundreds in attendence  in Fairbanks, on the Kenai Penninsula, and even in Juneau!  In a state where it can be politically risky to “out” yourself as a progressive-sympathizer, a Palin opponent, or…(gulp)…an Obama “operative” as the McCain campaign is fond of calling anyone with a sign, this was incredible.  It was, I would argue, the biggest political news of the day.

Alaskans know Sarah Palin, and they just voted with their feet, and their Saturday afternoon.  Where did they go?  4 to 1 they went to the Obama rally.  Now, don’t get me wrong, McCain and Palin may still win this state.  She’s got the “home team right or wrong” vote, she’s got the “Alaska will get more stuff” vote, she’s got the “underinformed voter” vote, and she’s got the extreme Evangelical vote.  But she does not have the enthusiastic, engaged, willing to turn out, get off the couch, and do something vote.  And those are usually the people that actually make a difference.  So kudos to the Alaska Obama campaign for pulling it off, and doing it with positive energy, hard work, and style.  So, in my world, here’s the headline in the Anchorage Daily News that you deserve.

Obama Rally Dwarfs Palin Rally in Anchorage. Surprising Lack of Support for Governor.

In closing,  my newly invented “Moose Nugget” award goes to the Anchorage Daily News.  Not because they didn’t do their job, but because they only did half of it.