None of the official spokesmen/spokeswomen could spontaneously cite a source, but an Anchorage Tea Party member, who happened to also be the flag bearer for the event and thus was there in some official capacity, responded to the question. This member stated, “Lisa Murkowski’s campaign website is where you can find the information. She has links to the various blogs that have written on the subject, so her website is a good source for the answer to your question. “
Today, a couple of days removed from the press conference, a visit to the Murkowski campaign website to confirm the sources reveals that the Murkowski Alaska Web Digest page does in fact provide links to stories from various media. Although the majority of the links are primarily from local legacy media sources such as the Anchorage Daily News, the Fairbanks Daily-News Miner and the Juneau Empire, there are also links to national legacy news sources, as well as to various local and national new media sources.
Among the new media sources credited for stories linked to by the Murkowski campaign is the Alaska Dispatch, Andrew Halcro, the Daily Kos, Progressive Alaska, and the Huffington Post. A citation from the AFL-CIO blog is also among the sources linked to on the Alaska Web Digest page at http://lisamurkowski.com.
The Alaska Dispatch, for whom Mr. Saul reports, published a commentary dated 2 Oct, 2010, “Outing Joe Miller” by Doug O’Haara, in which the author asserted, “The anti-federal money Miller enjoyed a military career, a professional education and gig as a magistrate that were all paid for by federal money. All these are honorable pursuits in their own right, but most definitely subsidized by the very government Miller purports to despise.”
Since he is a hard news reporter, no one should expect Mr. Saul to be aware of off center opinions, even if one of the opinions happens to have been published in the publication that employs him. Mr. Saul’s question was a valid question that received a valid response.
On the other hand the Murkowski campaign, the target of the accusation, did choose to link to the article. While it is true that a responsible reader would easily conclude upon visiting the article that it is an opinion article, rather than a hard news article, the fact that the Murkowski campaign linked to it in the first place does not reflect favorably upon the campaign, or the candidate, who is ultimately responsible for the content included on the web site.
Here is the teaser as published on the Alaska Web Digest of Murkowski’s official site -
“The anti-federal money Miller enjoyed a military career, a professional education and gig as a magistrate that were all paid for by federal money. Source: Alaska Dispatch”
It appears as though the Alaska Web Digest page had its debut at the Murkowski campaign home page Oct. 1, 2010. It is interesting that the Dispatch commentary cited above had strikingly similar content to an article published on the 27th of Sept. by Andrew Halcro, a blogger who happens to be an avid Murkowski supporter.
Comparing the comments about subsidies in the Halcro and the Dispatch articles, the language might not be judged similar enough, but the theme is strikingly similar.
First, from Mr. Halcro on 27 Sept.:
“From farm subsidies in the late 90's he willingly accepted from the federal treasury, to subsidized education and drawing a government paycheck for years, Miller is a fraud to be railing against government spending.”
Now again, from Mr. O’Haara on 2 Oct:
“The anti-federal money Miller enjoyed a military career, a professional education and gig as a magistrate that were all paid for by federal money. All these are honorable pursuits in their own right, but most definitely subsidized by the very government Miller purports to despise.”
Using the Dispatch article has the advantage of making the same point in a current publication, but it has an additional advantage as well. Halcro is a Murkowski supporter, while the Dispatch has some semblance of being non-biased. The Dispatch, after all, does have a disclaimer at the end of Mr. O’Haara’s column that reads in part, “The views expressed are the writer's own and are not endorsed by Alaska Dispatch.”
Here is what Mr. Saul wrote in his 4 Oct update to Tea Party Express releases new ads, “But a search through Murkowski press releases and public statements showed no evidence of her attacking Miller's military record. Various left-leaning blogs have done so, but as far as I can tell Murkowski has not done so directly.”
Parsing words are we Mr. Saul? The Dispatch should have published the facts, not covered for the senior senator.
The senior senator might have learned her lesson by labeling several thousands of her constituents as extremists. So, you are correct to say that she has not directly disparaged her opponent’s service. No Dispatch, she has not directly done it herself;but she has linked to those who have on her web page.
That after all, was what that white, female, flag-bearing Tea Partier extremist said is it not?