This latest stunt should not have surprised me, but it did. The Times editorial board invited folks to send a tweet about I-1240 to their twitter account @seatimesopinion with the hashtag #I1240. I sent a few. I'm sure other folks sent some in opposition to the initiative.
The Times wrote:
"We asked readers to share 140-word editorials on Twitter about the Washington state charter school initiative on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot, Initiative 1240. Here are some of the tweets you shared with us."Yet the only six tweets to get through their filter were five that were in favor of I-1240 and a cryptic one that appears neutral.
Newspapers have editorial boards and they have opinion columns. We're supposed to pretend that their opinion doesn't influence the news that we see from the reporters. Sometimes that's a struggle. The Seattle Times recently went further than making endorsements and actually contributed full page ads worth $80,000 for Referendum 74 and Rob McKenna. These were in-kind contributions to those campaigns by the Seattle Times Company. It created quite a furor - with the reporters as well as the public - and a number of Seattle Times executives tried to assure people of that the Times' reporting would continue to be fair and unbiased. They asked for our trust.
Now, I know that this thing appears on the editorial page, but for the Times to filter these and only allow those that align with their view is analogous to the Times deleting online comments that oppose their view. For an institution that was asking for our trust last week, they don't seem to know how to demostrate their trustworthiness.