Gridiron West: A Not-to-be-Missed Bipartisan Post-Election Bash

Imagine it’s a few days after Election Day. Your candidate(s) won! You had a big victory party to celebrate. Now what?

Well, one thing you can’t wait to do is see your friends whose candidate(s) lost, right? Come on, admit it: You know you do.

You’ll give them a big grin, slap them on the back and say, “Hey, maybe next time!” You long to rub it in a little, right?

Oh, you’ll pretend to be sympathetic, and say things like, “Well, it was a close race. Two strong candidates. Could’ve gone either way!”

But inside you’re gleeful, feeling triumphant, savoring the win – in a restrained and understated way, of course.

Click Here for Tickets to the Gridiron West Dinner :: A Can't-Miss Post-Election Bash!

Click above for details and tickets!

This is why God invented passive-aggressiveness. You can make nice while your inner dialogue does the gloating: “Yessss! We won! You’re toast! Bwahahahahahahahahaha!”

You lust to see the pained looks on their faces, a wan smile that turns into a pathetic grimace as they avert their eyes and try to change the subject to, like, the weather or something. Sweet.

Am I right? You know I am. That’s your deep-down dream, whether you voted for Obama or Romney, Cantwell or Baumgartner, Inslee or McKenna, Del Bene or Koster, Owens or Finkbeiner, Dunn or Ferguson, Drew or Wyman, Kelley or Watkins, McCloud or Sanders.

Whoever prevails in these tough, hard-fought, deeply felt races, there’ll be winners and losers – feeling happy or crappy, cheerful or tearful, woo-hooing or boo-hooing.

So…what if you could come to a big bipartisan post-election bash, where you could tweak your friends and trash their losing candidates – in an oh-so-compassionate manner, of course. After all, this is Seattle, not Chicago.

You could share a bottle or two of wine with them, and hope they might even tear up a bit. Then you’d console them magnanimously, put your arm around their shoulders, hand them a hankie and feel a thrill run up your leg.

After a few drinks you might even concede that the pendulum swings back and forth in a democracy — the worst form of government except for all the others, as Churchill said. Be the bigger person. Let your friends save a little face. You’ll feel even better about yourself.

Well, this is your lucky day: You’re invited to a big post-election bash where you can do all of the above, and more!

The Washington News Council’s 14th Annual Gridiron West Dinner will be held on Sunday, Nov. 11, at the Washington State Convention Center. This historically schizophrenic, inspiring/depressing, invigorating/eviscerating event will bring together hundreds of folks from all sides of the political divide.

The program will “toast and roast” (ambiguity intended) Governor Christine Gregoire and Congressman Norm Dicks. Both are stepping down at the end of their terms, so it’s the perfect opportunity to cheer and/or jeer two lame ducks. “Toasters/roasters” include Republicans Slade Gorton and Ralph Munro, Democrats Maria Cantwell and Brad Smith, and several others from both parties.

A snap from Gridiron West Dinner 2011

All candidates for statewide offices have been invited, and some of them may actually show up – especially the winners!

But here’s the hitch: You have to bet on the come, by getting your tickets or reserving a table BEFORE Election Day. Yes, you must commit to being there even if you don’t know whether you’ll be cheering or crying. Deadline: Monday, Nov. 5.

Confident that your side will win? Man up! Woman up!

Go to and click through to our “cart” to buy tickets or a table of 10. The room is filling up fast – and so far it’s half Democrats, half Republicans.

A big bipartisan crowd, where we can all “just get along” — at least for one night. Civility, toleration, peace, love and understanding will prevail – on the surface, anyway. Underneath, total war. Is this a great country, or what?

Oh, by the way, it’s Veterans Day, so we’ll honor all the veterans who fought for our right to fight all night, disagree without being (too) disagreeable, bury the hatchet (figuratively speaking), and feel good about our messy, feisty, sloppy, scrappy democracy, where no argument is ever really settled.

Got courage? Got guts? Got cojones/ovaries? Get tix! See you there.


Vitae Foundation v. KUOW – Video of the hearing

On Saturday March 31st, 2012, The Washington News Council had a hearing on the Vitae Foundation v. KUOW case involving a story on Vitae’s website. You can read about the results of the case and watch the hearing in its entirety below. Also feel free to check out some of the “press” surrounding the case.

Part 1 – Opening Statements

Part 2 – Questioning

Part 3 – Questioning (continued)

Part 4 – Discussion

Part 5 – Discussion (continued)

National coverage from CPB Ombudsman Joel Kaplan
National coverage by Mike Janssen of
National coverage by Valerie Richardson of The Washington Times
Local coverage from Mark Griswold of Sound Politics
Local coverage from NW Daily Marker’s Bryan Myrick
Local coverage from PubliCola’s Erica Barnett


Standing Strong: Poynter highlights our future as the last News Council

Media watchdog Craig Silverman is a stickler for accuracy. We’re a big fan of his work, and are pleased to hear his interest in our nation’s last remaining news council. Check out his piece on Poynter:

How the last U.S. news council hopes to survive

Craig let us review parts of the draft for factual accuracy ahead of time, and we found a few mistakes that were quickly taken care of before it went out. Something we’d like to see more of in the journalism world.


News Council Praised at World’s Largest Rotary Club

Paul Ishii

Paul Ishii - President of Seattle Rotary

The Washington News Council received two strong   “testimonials” about our work during Rotary Club of Seattle meetings in recent weeks – one from Rotary President Paul Ishii and the other from former Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Bob Herbold.

On Oct. 3, Rotary President Paul Ishii told the 500+ club members that he had been the subject of an inaccurate story in The Seattle Times alleging that an employee of the Mayflower Park Hotel, where Ishii is general manager, would not be covered for lost wages while recuperating from a gunshot wound received when he helped stop an armed robber.

That was untrue: Paul will cover employee Roberto Sandoval’s wages and benefits while he is unable to work. Paul had called the reporter and the online version was corrected and the paper also printed a correction on Page A2 in the Sunday paper. However, The Times the day before had published an editorial based on the inaccurate news story that repeated the erroneous information and urged donations to a fund to pay for Sandoval’s lost wages. The editorial remains uncorrected online at the time of this writing — although The Times did print a correction on the editorial page three days later.

“It’s pretty scary to be labeled guilty in the newspaper. I felt like a shmuck,” Paul told the 500 Rotarians gathered for their weekly lunch meeting. He said he was deluged by angry emails and phone calls based on the incorrect story and editorial. Uncertain how to proceed, Paul said: “I called John Hamer of the Washington News Council at home really early on a Saturday morning and he walked me through step-by-step on what I should do.”

Paul followed my recommendations, and The Times made the corrections, which appeared within a few days, in both the news and editorial sections. Paul thanked me and the WNC for our help – and also thanked The Times for setting the record straight.

Bob Herbold

Bob Herbold - Retired executive vice president and chief operating officer of Microsoft

A week later, on Oct. 10, former Microsoft executive Bob Herbold was the featured speaker at Seattle Rotary. Here is part of what he said:

“The news media are a significant part of the problem that democracies are having in making tough decisions. Specifically, any time a politician suggests a change to just about anything, the media will find someone disadvantaged by that change and will showcase that ‘victim.’ That kind of sensationalism is what attracts an audience, be it readers or viewers. Given that virtually all politicians have as their first priority getting re-elected, they back off and shy away from change in the future.”

In the Q-and-A session, I asked Bob this question:

“Bob, you cited the media as being part of the problem. But under the First Amendment, we can’t have any government control or regulation or censorship of the media, and we don’t want that. What two or three things would you suggest that might help address your concerns about the media?”

HERBOLD: “It’s a big challenge, especially with all the media on the Internet and in the blogosphere. People can say anything they want to. There is some good information on the Internet, but a lot of it is just bias, inaccuracies, and slanted opinion.

I honestly don’t know what to suggest. It’s a real challenge. It is getting increasingly difficult for leadership to exist in a democracy, particularly the kind of very courageous leadership required to clean up the huge financial messes that so many democracies find themselves in.

“You’re going to be in business for a long time, John. The Washington News Council gets involved in cases of bad or inaccurate stories, and tries to help people who have been damaged by the media. That’s how John makes his living. And it’s an important job.”

The Washington News Council would like to thank Paul and Bob for their comments — which were completely unsolicited and a nice surprise!

NOTE: Both Herbold and Ishii have donated to the News Council in the past and have also attended some of our events.