It all started with Matt Buxton, an Alaska blogger, accusing a writer for Must Read Alaska of calling Alaska Redistricting Board members Melanie Bahnke and Nicole Borromeo “bitches of the highest order,” in an email that Buxton got his hands on through a public records request.
Buxton thought he had hit the motherlode in reporting. It was wrong, but par for the course for Buxton. Formerly with the mainstream media, Buxton runs a political blog and he is paid by leftist political operative Jim Lottsfeldt to attack conservatives. Lottsfeldt runs political strategy, advertising, and campaign accounts for Alaska liberal politicians and causes.
Win Gruening, whose columns run at MRAK, wrote nothing of the sort about the two women, who are the hard leftists on the Alaska Redistricting Board and who have acted theatrically and at times bizarrely during redistricting meetings.
Then James Brooks, writing for the new leftist blog, the Alaska Beacon, picked it up and ran with the story without reading the source document or even questioning Buxton’s work. After all, this is “bro culture reporting” in Alaska. They don’t question each other in the journalism world.
In his reporting, Brooks wrote that Redistricting Board member Budd Simpson had made the “bitches” comment about Bahnke and Borromeo.
When Brooks was shown the mistake, he corrected it, but he then reverted to the first mistake, the one made by Buxton.
In his correction, Brooks writes that a “Republican political writer” had made the “bitches” comment. He means Win Gruening.
To be clear: It was not Win Gruening. It was Gruening’s wife who had made the apropos-but-tart comment in an email chain that included Budd Simpson and Win Gruening; the record that Buxton has shows it came from her phone, but that didn’t fit his narrative.
Neither Buxton nor Brooks took the time to look at the signature on the message that Buxton obtained through public records requests. This is an example of confirmation bias in the news media, “the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values,” as described by Wikipedia.
Further, Win Gruening writes for the Juneau Empire twice a month, and simply allows Must Read Alaska to publish his columns after they appear at the Empire. This is something that Brooks knows, since he used to write for the Juneau Empire.
The Alaska Beacon launched on May 11 with four experienced mainstream reporters who will be covering political news in Alaska with a vengeance. The blog is a paid-for product of a leftist nonprofit project created by some of the biggest names in funding for leftist candidates. The news from the Beacon is available for mainstream outlets to use, free of charge. Already, the Juneau Empire has said it will be using the Beacon’s reporting to supplement its own.
The Anchorage Daily News picked up the Beacon’s report this morning and ran it. In this way, the Beacon will be shaping the political news and the views of readers all over the state as it serves at the new “Associated Press” for Alaska, with a left spin.
The States Newsroom project that the Alaska Beacon under is a stealth endeavor to better control the news narrative at the state level. Under the guise of “straight reporting,” it is better described as “leftwing propaganda of the highest order.”