Given the abysmal standards of modern political campaigning, it is certainly quite rare for major newspapers to bother devoting their lead editorials to stinging denunciations of a particular advertising campaign, using words like “lies,” “ugly distortions,” “reprehensible,” “false and inflammatory charges,” and “ethnic prejudice.”
Now consider the implications if that major newspaper is directing those words at a political campaign supporting that newspaper’s own announced editorial position.
The advertising campaign against our Amendment 31 in Colorado is THAT bad.
Tuesday’s editorial from the Denver Rocky Mountain News, attached below, constitutes an effective point-by-point refutation of nearly all the disgusting advertising attacks on Colorado’s Amendment 31, which arguably contain clear elements of anti-immigrant fear-mongering, and are receiving 99% of their funding from an eccentric white billionaire heiress named Pat Stryker.
As mentioned, the credibility of this editorial analysis is surely enhanced by the fact that the Rocky has already published two previous editorials opposing Amendment 31, though based on grounds that I would regard as somewhat vague and dubious.
Then on Wednesday, Denver Post editorial writer Al Knight launched a similar attack on our opponents, his second in barely a week, describing the No campaign as “setting records for deceit and distortion.” Again, Knight’s own Denver Post has also officially taken a No position on Amendment 31 post.
Unfortunately, paid advertising influences votes far more than newspaper columns, and although we have now begun airing our first radio spots in Colorado, with a link to the text and streaming audio attached below, our advertising budget is utterly dwarfed by Pat Stryker’s \$3.1 million check, by far the largest in Colorado history. Victory or defeat for “English” in Colorado is very much unclear at this point.
Meanwhile, in liberal Democratic Massachusetts, home of Michael Dukakis and the only state to support George McGovern, a state with not a single Republican holding federal office, the campaign opposing our similar Question 2 is following much the same tactics and receiving much the same editorial condemnation for dishonest fear-mongering; but without (as yet) any backing from the bottomless wallet of an eccentric billionaire to overwhelm the truth.
A powerful column in yesterday’s Boston Herald, attached below, has been typical, bearing the self-explanatory title “Foes of Question 2 take the low road.”
A few days earlier, New England’s moderate Providence Journal became the latest paper to endorse our “English” measure, describing it as that “rarity in modern politics, real reform,” and endorsing it unequivocally.
This paper adds its voice to the strong previous endorsements of the Boston Herald and the Worcester Telegram. As yet, no significant New England newspaper has announced opposition to Question 2, though this may certainly occur before Election Day.
Certainly Question 2 does have considerable opposition, including virtually the entire local political and educational establishment, ranging from elected officials to teachers unions. But this opposition seems either obviously self-interested or completely perfunctory.
Just yesterday, the President of Lesley University, reportedly the largest annual producer of bilingual education teachers in America, denounced the measure in remarkably harsh terms, desperately urging the presidents of Harvard, Boston College, and Boston University to join with her in what would amount to almost a holy crusade to combat this monstrous evil on the ballot.
But although the political arguments being made against these two virtually identical measures are virtually identical in the two states (with the sole exception being anti-immigrant fear-mongering, an obvious non-starter in immigrant-friendly Massachusetts), the Massachusetts media has largely dismissed them as complete red-herrings from Day One.
Yesterday’s Boston Globe and Boston Herald each carried front-page stories on our campaign, with a total of nearly a dozen different articles and columns appearing during the last two days alone. All the coverage has been reasonable and fair, providing Massachusetts voters a wealth of accurate information from which to draw their political
They appear to be doing so. The latest Suffolk University poll, released yesterday shows that Massachusetts’ well-educated and liberal voters support us by a very wide margin of 68% to 25%, almost unchanged from two months earlier.
To date, our campaign has not spent a single dollar on advertising in Massachusetts.
As Daniel Weintraub, one of California’s leading political columnists, notes below, it will be
rather ironic if liberal Massachusetts votes overwhelmingly for “English” on November 5th, while an unprecedented advertising campaign, funded almost solely by an eccentric billionaire and partly relying on distasteful anti-immigrant fear-mongering drags down to defeat a virtually identical measure in conservative Colorado.
But as we all know, politics—and life—is filled with frequent ironies, if sometimes unfortunate ones.
- The lies told about Amendment 31, Editorial
Denver Rocky Mountain News, Tuesday, October 22, 2002
- Unz crusade faces tests in Colorado, Massachusetts by Daniel Weintraub
Sacramento Bee, Tuesday, October 22, 2002
- Campaign against 31 based on distortions by Al Knight
Denver Post, Wednesday, October 23, 2002
- Bilingual deception by Al Knight
Denver Post, Sunday, October 13, 2002
- Foes of Question 2 take the low road by Thomas Keane Jr.
Boston Herald, Wednesday, October 23, 2002
- Mass. ballot questions, Editorial
Providence Journal-Bulletin, Friday, October 18, 2002