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Memo to Patty Murray: You misquoted me

Post by Kim Bradford on Sep. 29, 2010 at 4:58 pm with 17 Comments »
September 29, 2010 5:02 pm

For the record: I never asked Dino Rossi if if he thought Boeing workers should have a level playing field.

Patty Murray’s campaign has been making hay for more than a week now about Rossi’s response to a question I posed during the Senate candidates’ joint appearance at The News Tribune last week.

I have resisted weighing in until now. I have my own theories why Rossi answered the way he did, but it’s not for me to try to explain his answer. Only he knows what he was thinking.

But last night, I caught Murray’s new ad that includes footage of our endorsement interview – and puts words in my mouth.


Jordan Schrader puts the ad to the smell test over at Political Buzz. I won’t rehash his analysis, other than to emphasize that the suggestion that Boeing should have a fair playing field came from Rossi, not me.

I merely parroted his words back to him in an attempt to stop his dancing around the original question – which was: Do you think World Trade Organization rulings about illegal subsidies should play a role in the Air Force’s decision about whether to award a contract for aerial refueling tankers to Boeing or Airbus?

It is quite possible that Rossi misunderstood what I was asking, as he has claimed. I readily admit that it wasn’t the most articulate question (the transcript is a painful reminder why I work with the printed, not spoken, word). We had run an editorial on the subject just that day, so I figured the candidates would be ready to give their views. Because of that assumption, I didn’t explain the question as fully as I perhaps could have.

Bottom line: We’ll never know exactly what Rossi meant to say. He didn’t seek to explain his answer, and the editorial board didn’t press him further on it.

But the way Murray’s folks have latched onto this one sentence makes it clear they feel they’ve hit campaign gold. What a pity if an election could be won or lost with eight words.

Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. hortonpeak says:

    I am quite confused. There are “unbiased” reporters or “participants” in a forum or debate. If you are a “participant” then you cannot cry about being misquoted when you have the pulpit from which to cry about being misquoted. As for the last sentence, yes it would be a pity if an election could be won or lost with eight words. But that is only an election how about a war in which folks are coming home in body bags or as wounded that was only about a few words.

  2. hortonpeak says:

    Oops, forgot to add:

    “Bottom line: We’ll never know exactly what Rossi meant to say. He didn’t seek to explain his answer, and the editorial board didn’t press him further on it.”

    Then, what is your purpose as an “editorial board”? Participant or unbiased seeker of information and facts. I would use the word, “reporter” but I feel as if my definition may be much different than the modern definition.

  3. Even being charitable and with the different context than the Murray ad shows, it’s really hard to understand what he could have meant. I would expect pretty much everyone running for any elected office in Washington to know the correct answer… and yes, this is the rare example of a political question with a right or wrong answer. Of course illegal subsidies to foreign manufacturers should be taken into consideration when awarding government contracts. Not doing so would be utterly foolish and destructive to our industrial base.

    If we can’t get a sensible industrial policy in this country, at the least we should not reward those nations that do at the expense of our own.

  4. gerry0416 says:

    This is an example of Patty Murray’s desperation. I find it interesting in her add about the Air Force Tanker contract that she is only concerned about where the tanker is made. Shouldn’t we be more concerned that our service men and women have the best equipment available despite where it is manufactured. But then, Patty has been collecting funds from Boeing and the Machinist Union to try and steal a contract that was already awarded to someone else. Even though I don’t always agree with him, my vote will be for Rossi. It’s a matter of ethics and Murray has none.

  5. So if Airbus didn’t receive illegal subsidies everyone would be cool with the competition from them? If they made a better plane and for cheaper I’m sure everyone here would still be protectionist as usual.

  6. hortonpeak says:

    Perhaps, if our “news” media really did their job. Oh wait, it is not about news, it is about their profits or lack thereof why we have no idea as to what is really going on. Quite frankly, I feel the Airbus is producing a better plane than Boeing. Why, because Boeing lost its mind after being bought out by McDonnell Douglas (yes, they bought the Boeing name). Ii is Boeing the company, not Boeing the workers who are to blame. The entire debacle cannot be reduced to a campaign ad. But, I for one will go with Murray for her record that is open to all to see if they go beyond campaign ads (of both sides) than for Rossi who is well shall we say a bit circumspect of his record.

  7. scott0962 says:

    I’ve seen Murray’s ads and knew they were an attempt to smear her opponent as soon as I saw them. No Washington politician running for office is going to slam Boeing as Murray’s ad alleges Rossi did–it’s political suicide. Rossi may be many things but I have yet to hear that he’s completely insane.

    Patty Murray is mounting the most scurrillously negative campaign that we have seen in Washington politics in a many a long year and it’s all because her guilty conscience tells her that if she runs on her record her goose is cooked. Too bad she didn’t think of that when she was rubber stamping Sam Reid’s and Nancy Pelosi’s agenda.

  8. Has the anyone else and editorial board noticed that Patty Murray’s television ad in which she misrepresents (basically an outright distortion of Dino Rossi’s statement) Dino Rossi cites as it’s source the “editorial board of the TNT” which implies you are the source AND the confirmation to the lies she is broadcasting in her desperate attempt at re-election.

    Not only is she trying to mislead uninformed voters, she is throwing the TNT under the bus at the same time by citing the TNT as the “source” of her lies.

    It will be interesting to see if the TNT is willing to recognized they are being used by a dishonest politician AND if they will give adequate consideration of this lack of integrity when they publish their endorsement in the WA senate race.

    The TV ad in question is blatantly dishonest and Patty Murray is too. Why won’t the TNT write a front page article on this news story – (you were there to witness this) instead of continuing to burying any negative press about Murray on the inside pages, like this story and the story about how Murray has gotten earmarks for her 17 former staff members who are now lobbyists while at the same time trying to claim it is Dino Rossi who is influenced by lobbyists in other TV ads?

    Come on TNT – quit slanting the news and defend yourself from this manipulation. Dumb Patty is pulling a fast one on voters and unless you decide to protect your own integrity, she will have been successful in manipulating the editorial board too.

    How does it feel to be tricked by a dim bulb like Patty, editorial board?

  9. Please excuse the typo’s above. I type too fast sometimes.

  10. BigSwingingRichard don’t worry about the spelling, we know the truth when we read or hear it , Murry and that other one, whats her name, oh yea Can’tDoNothingWell are a disgrace to the state of Washington.

  11. d237154 says:

    BigSwingingRichard – it’s ok, you spelled Dumb right. Oh, maybe you were going for “Dim”. Either one works when the next word is “Patty”.

  12. whittlekaren says:

    Wow! I have to say that I am more then a little taken aback by this “reporters” statement here, and I am sure Ms. Bradford is likely pleased that she is not only being used as part of Patty Murray’s ads, but now Dino Rossi’s; and yet I am left with one incredibly simple question. If you knew that Mr. Rossi was not answering the question, why did you not continue to ask it until he did? And understanding that you didn’t feel the need to get the answer to the question, why do you now feel the need to make sure everyone knows that Patty Murray is “dishonest”?

    I’m sorry, but the more I read the new details of this story, the more something is starting to smell here, and I am beginning to wonder just how unbiased Ms. Bradford truly is? I suppose we may never know, but stay tuned folks. There is still plenty of time for Ms. Bradbord to appear in an ad for Rossi!

    I have pasted a link to this ad on my Facebook page as I think people should be allowed to decide for themselves, but as someone who has never taken a single journalism class, I think I could handled all this a heck of a lot better than Ms. Bradford!

  13. whittlekaren says:

    Yes, insults are the way to win or lose an election. Why ever worry about presenting facts, right folks?

    No matter what anyone things about Patty Murray or Maria Cantwell, I would like at least someone to realize that the one interesting thing aobut Dino Rossi’s ads, is that they never talk about what he would do for Washington or our nation….and from what I see of the posts here, that apparently is of little importance when there are insults to be hurled!

  14. hortonpeak and whittlekaren: I am an editorial writer, not a reporter. Nothing I write is “unbiased” given that it’s written for the opinion section. My colleagues and I do shoot for fairness, but bias is part of every editorial. You can challenge us for having the wrong bias, but not for having one. Opinion writing is all about bias.

    whittlekaren: I did press Rossi. After he dodged my first question, I repeated it. He answered – it just wasn’t the answer he now claims he meant to give. But the fact remains, I did not ask the question that Murray’s ad purports. I’d encourage you to read the reporter’s analysis of Murray’s ad — it’s at the link I provided above.

  15. whittlekaren says:

    I will read the link you provided, and I appreciate both the fact that you provided it, AND the fact that you are making it clear that you were not in he least bit required to be “unbiased” in your questioning. That is something I think everyone should keep in mind and should know when they decide if Patty Murray’s campaign misrepresented what was said. Oh, and as I respond to people who bring up your attempt to now smear Patty Murray, I will mention it then as well.

    Having said that, I would also like to point that that Patty Murray’s campaign posted the video of the question and answer session on her Facebook page, leaving it up to the viewer to make up their own mind.

    So, you shoot for “fairness” but “bias” is something that should be considered on the table? Gee, perhaps I need to put my name into the hat next time you all run one of these things. I most definately would not have allowed Dino Rossi to, as has become his usual style, slither out of answering a question as you did. Nor would I make an excuse for having done so.

    I don’t read your paper, so I suppose it is up to your readers to decide whether or not what you did meets the standards of jouralism the paper you write for should aim to achieve. What’s funny is that having you around reminds me of the Republican Party requesting that MSNBC bar Keith Olbermann from moderating any more debates, during the last Presidential primary season. They didn’t think he could be “unbiased” and it is clear you don’t try to be either.

    Thanks for responding!

  16. As I just told whittlekaren in an email message, our editorial board, of which I am a member, has endorsed Murray every time she’s run for Senate. But just because a candidate has our support doesn’t mean he or she gets a pass when it comes to questionable campaigning.

  17. Yes, I’ve seen the ads and knew right away several of them were false. Then after some research found the others were either false or deceptive as well. I’m so disappointed to see Patty Murray acting this way. Maybe I never knew what she was like all along. But I know people like that should not be representing honest people in this state – or any state.

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