Saturday, August 8, 2009

Seattle Times, and all local media publish KIRO newsroom dirt, calling it news: Susan Hutchison

Maybe, I see two points where this could be news: Behind the scenes look at media that seldom reports on itself; what kind of person Susan Hutchison might be.

Susan Hutchison, now a candidate for King County executive, was so stressed about having been replaced as a news anchor at KIRO-TV that she took medical leave in September 2002 and never went back to work at the station before she was terminated in December of that year.

Media gawking.

The records show that during a tumultuous time at KIRO — amid low ratings and staff changes — Hutchison's supervisors lost faith in her ability to stabilize the station's viewership. And after being demoted from the anchor's chair, her supervisors said Hutchison's behavior caused her to lose credibility with them.

Media gawking.

King County Superior Court Judge Timothy Bradshaw agreed. "The openness of our courts is constitutionally mandated and is a vital part of state history," Bradshaw said in his ruling.

Ok, but sealing, unsealing records is not news. What is news is that Hutchison has avoided being in open public forums early in her campaign, and has refused to submit questionaires, at least that is the charge from the person hoping to challenge Hutchison in the general election, Dow Constantine.

Dow Constantine is using this subject as a means to present himself as the presumptive opposition, and win the second spot in the August 18th King County Primary Election.

Hutchison had been fighting release of the records.

In a written and videotaped statement after the judge's ruling, Hutchison said her lawsuit against KIRO prepared her for public office:

"There is no doubt that the hard road I chose in fighting against discrimination so many years ago also prepared me for the rigors of this campaign, and the demands of serving in public life."

The "demands of serving in public life" are that you are no longer a limited-private person that can only be reported on in the media in reference to your job reporting the news. You chose to be a public servant, and a politician lives a life that is pretty much an open book. That is the one of the major "demands of serving in public life", and you, of any candidate, must know that as a fact.

We, the people, demand to know what kind of person is representing us (at least your news profession has made that argument). This may be the actual news part of this melodrama, that, and that she is now a Public Person.

Susan Hutchison's court case being opened may be intrusive to her, or embarrassing, or whatever. After many years of reporting the news she, of any first time candidate, must know the limits and demands of private information that has been submitted in court.

She chose to run for PUBLIC office.

Why do you think so many people are not willing to put up with their lives being an open book? It has been news people prying open people's lives, like Hutchison did for twenty years at KIRO TV, that has Hutchison in this position.

Hutchison's statement Friday claimed she is still muzzled by a 2005 confidentiality agreement with KIRO and unable to discuss the case and KIRO's allegations about her.

"My lips are sealed even as these documents are unsealed," Hutchison said in her statement.

But Bradshaw, the judge, said, "As to the muzzling argument, it is sufficiently clear that's not the case."

KIRO's lawyer Bruce Johnson maintained, in a letter to the court, that Hutchison was free to talk about the case; she just can't discuss details of the settlement she reached with KIRO.

After Bradshaw's ruling, Jon Rosen, Hutchison's lawyer, said he expected Hutchison would rebut some of KIRO's claims.

Hutchison's campaign manager insisted that Hutchison was still unable to talk about the lawsuit because of the confidentiality agreement.

"As far as we're concerned she's still bound by it. We don't believe he (Bradshaw) has jurisdiction to release her from the confidentiality agreement," said Jordan McCarren.

Seattle Times: Hutchison had stormy relationship with bosses

The fact that she still refuses to recognize the legal and political situation for what it is, out in the open and being controlled by her opponents.
Not every political novice fails to see the open life they have willingly chosen, in this case Hutchison is attempting to deny information her profession has made a living exposing.

This should not be news, and not controlled by her opponents, and that says more about Susan Hutchison than anything printed in the Seattle Times. She worked for KIRO TV for twenty years and does not know how the manage information others may use against her. Pathetic. How will she advocate for King County in unpopular media environments? Will she depend on the kindness of the media, or county executives of other counties competing for state dollars? Good luck with that, Hutchison.

We need a leader that can manage people as well as sensitive information, personal or public. We do not need a show pony, but a work horse.

Too harsh?

I read in a story about Ross Hunter that he was checked out by his doctor and does not have CANCER.

That is revealing, and that is owning information in the public sphere. Not only did I not have to see a document, but the context that the personal facts were reported were directly from the source.

Own your public life, or somebody else will.

And that is the news.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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