Behind the scenes of USSM, I’ve been having deep doubts this year about writing about baseball at all. I like writing about baseball, certainly, and I love it when people tell us that we’re the reason they’re educated baseball fans, but if I had to make a list of the most important things to people in Seattle’s actual lives and our city’s long-term future, they’d be
– global warming
It’s far more important that next Tuesday Darcy Burner get elected than it is that the Mariners bid on Daisuke Matsuzaka, because Dave Reichert’s done a horrible job as a Congressman, and I’m particularly ticked because I thought he’d be a better choice than Dave Ross but he went on to support the Republican leadership over and over on things like “Should we suspend ethics rules that would force DeLay to step down when indicted?” and “Can the president do whatever he wants, regardless of constitutionality?”
I wrote him a couple of times, and I know he probably gets a ton of email, but here’s my experience writing to my different Congresspeople about things like domestic surveillance.
Patty Murray: Well-written (probably form) response to exactly the thing I was worried about, including her position (etc). I don’t know if they’re assembling these from parts or they’ve just got a million templates, but Murray’s responses were quite complete. Maybe I’ve just been lucky.
Maria Cantwell: General form response
Dave Reichert: Flat form letter that he’s concerned too about the issue and supports hearings but also supports the president’s war on terror, and ignores whatever points I raised or concerns were in the mail that might not be covered by “terrorism response 1-a”
Even more than that, the thing is, while he said he was concerned, and supported hearings, he didn’t. He didn’t do anything. He didn’t call for hearings, he didn’t support calls for hearings, he didn’t do anything but lie to me. It’s like his supposed stance against ANWAR drilling, where he’ll tell you how he’s against it, but when it comes time to vote on something that actually contains ANWAR drilling, he’ll go right ahead and do it. If I tell people I’m against puppy killing and then I go around helping people kill puppies, it’s pretty clear that my opposition, if it really exists at all, is pretty weak.
After a couple of tries, I stopped writing. At least someone at Murray’s office was reading emails and working to get her position clearly stated and out there.
But my Congressman, who represents little more than my district, lied to me when he responded to me at all about supporting my civil rights, or the rule of law.
Enough about Dave Reichert, though. I’m a little shocked to see how much I just ranted about him lying to me. That really ticks me off.
At USSM we’ve made a conscious attempt to keep our politics off the blog as much as we can manage. The best argument for doing this (to me) was reading other people’s team blogs, where the posts would go
– Why Derek Jeter’s limited range to his left requires infield adjustments
– Hilary Clinton is the bride of the anti-Christ
– Odd waiver transaction of the day
As a result, I try not to fly the black flag on USSM, and sometimes that means a bit of tongue-biting. It’s probably for the best, in terms of our baseball readership and influence. If you reveal you’re a Democrat or Republican in these dark times, there’s a good chance you lose at least 30% of your audience, and I’d rather talk to them all.
Anyway, during the outage we’ve received a lot of email from people about taking ads, or thoughts about how we could make money, and so forth. Today I got one that suggested an ad layout that wasn’t too intrusive, so I checked it out, and it was one of those Drudge Report-like sites that has little log lines of things to read, and they were all… lies. I don’t know how else to put it. Links to things Rush Limbaugh had said that were provably false, the worst kind of strangeness and alternate reality conservative stuff where the terrorists want Democrats to regain control of the House.
I never know what to think when I come across this kind of thing, and I feel like in a larger sense, it means that USSM is failing in a wider way. We may be trying to educate people to think critically about baseball, and to read baseball coverage carefully, because the Times is in the team’s pocket and so on, but for at least some of our readers, they’re reading us and then not applying the same tools anywhere else. They’re reading the sports page thinking “okay, Steve, you think David Bell should have stayed, but there’s no evidence for that and you’re full of it” and then reading a different story that makes a far more ludicrous assertion and, because it fits their worldview or comes from a source that’s endorsed by their side, nodding and welcoming it in.
That’s really depressing. I don’t know what’s to be done about it.