April 02, 2014
Danny Westneat, Quasi-Official Democratic Party Spokesman

Last year, I described Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat as a "quasi-official Democratic spokesman".  I should have added "Party" to that description, since Westneat is more interested in speaking for party leaders, than for party voters.  (Which is unfortunate because those voters could use someone to speak for them, not just to them.)

By using that phrase, I don't mean to imply that Westneat is taking money, or even directions, from the party, but that his columns — with an occasional exception — read as if he were working for Jaxon Ravens, rather than Frank Blethen.

Feel free to use this description.  Perhaps we can even popularize it, so that it pops up when people search on his name.  Think of it as similar to the labels we see on most of our food.

His role as quasi-official Democratic Party spokesman does pose some dangers for Westneat, long term.  It is possible that the people who run the Seattle Times will notice that they can get the same opinions from the party — without paying for them.  Possible, but, as far as I can tell, not likely.

(I've often wondered whether Westneat is capable of writing a critical column on elected Democrats.  If, hypothetically, the publisher of the Seattle Times were to call him in and ask him to criticize Barack Obama, or Patty Murray, or Jay Inslee, would Westneat be able to write such a column?  Whenever I think about that problem, I picture Westneat sitting down at his keyboard to type a rough draft — and when tries to type that first critical sentence, his fingers become paralyzed, and he is unable to type a single letter.

Exception:  Westneat, like most other local journalists, can criticize elected Democrats when there is no possibility that they will face a serious Republican challenger.  So, I can imagine him saying something critical about a mayor of Seattle.)

Posted by Jim Miller at April 02, 2014 01:54 PM | Email This