I was pretty strong in my criticism of KABC’s Doug McIntyre’s decision to endorse Wendy Greuel.
It wasn’t over whether he made an endorsement, only that his friendship with her gave the perception of allowing a personal relationship to skew his coverage of the campaign. Perception is almost everything.
I know that Doug is frank and honest. I have no doubt he did not allow his personal feelings to factor into the decision. Although his on air conversations with her seemed to be tempered, it is likely because of the difficulty of altering the tone of one’s voice and content of the dialog when talking with or about someone with whom you’ve known for a long time. Nevertheless, he provided each candidate with an equal opportunity. He was always civil. I appreciate Doug’s effort to play things as straight as possible.
He does not see a distinction between the two candidates, so in the absence of a measurable difference on the issues – at least in his mind, it is not surprising that the coin he tossed may have been weighted in favor of Greuel. If I were in a similar situation, I would probably do the same.
But it does point out the importance of recusing oneself from an endorsement when using the public airways if there is personal involvement with one of the candidates. It never looks good to weigh in under those circumstances no matter how sincere the statement…..and I believe Doug was sincere.
Today’s broadcast was particularly awkward. Greuel was on the show and delivered her “closing arguments.” Doug reiterated his support of her candidacy with another disclosure of their relationship. Garcetti declined to appear because Doug had already announced the endorsement last week. That may have been a good thing for Doug as the conversation would probably have come across as restrained. Kevin James appeared as a solid stand-in for Garcetti and effectively pointed out Greuel’s stronger ties with the DWP’s money-hungry union, a point Doug did not counter.
The easy and most sensible course of action for Doug would have been allowing all the candidates to have their say and leaving it at that. However, I applaud him for his honesty and look forward to his future broadcasts. After all, we have a brave new world to face after Tuesday and we need Doug to keep us informed.