Howard Weaver practiced point-of-view journalism, despised Trump, supported Democrats, called for social death of anti-vaxxers

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The former editor of the Anchorage Daily News, who helped shape politics in Alaska through his news coverage for many years, died Thursday in Sacramento, where he retired several years ago. He was 73; the cause of his death was reported as pancreatic cancer.

His former reporters and colleagues wrote glowing accolades about the writer and editor they admired. He was their journalistic hero and he shaped the way journalism is practiced in Alaska.

Maria Downey wrote at KTUU, “An honest, wise, old soul, along with a mentor, coach and outstanding journalist — these are some of the many words shared on Friday by friends and colleagues describing Howard Weaver.”

Weaver helped the paper take home two Pulitzer Prizes and shaped Alaska journalism at a formidable time from the 1970s through 1992, Downey wrote.

The memorials posted by his colleagues on X/Twitter were voluminous on Friday.

“He was a journalist’s journalist. Although he left the state years ago, he always kept a tab on what was happening here and how the news media was covering Alaska,” wrote the University of Alaska Anchorage Journalism and Public Communications Department.

But he was part of the journalism in Alaska that was decidedly anti-conservative, and he was not universally admired by the business community or Republicans.

For conservatives, Weaver was seen as a partisan operator who, after he retired, spent time on Twitter criticizing Republicans and people such as Elon Musk, while reposting content from people like Robert Reich, Labor secretary under President Bill Clinton. He supported the candidacy of Mary Peltola for Congress on social media.

On X/Twitter a year ago, he called Elon Musk, “A liar as well as a malicious narcissist.”

He called for the “social death” of those who would not submit their arms to the Covid-19 vaccination. In writing about public hangings in Medieval Europe not being a deterrent for pickpockets, he made the comparison: “That’s also true of rabid anti-vaxers, the people who refuse to be vaccinated despite the undeniable possibility of death from Covid 19. Meanwhile, they also endanger everybody else by their intransigence, serving as carriers for the virus and incubators for the mutations by which the bug becomes ever-more robust, contagious and deadly.

“The prospect of painful, gasping death doesn’t convince them, even when they’ve seen loved ones and beloved celebrities die from the disease. Incentives don’t work. Badgering them certainly won’t.

“What’s left? A different death penalty: Social Death,” Weaver wrote.

“Want to go to the ballgame? Show a vaccine certificate. Drink at a local bar? Same. Ride an airplane, work for the government or healthcare, attend a concert? Same answer,” he continued.

Of Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in 2020, Weaver wrote, “It is hard not to howl at the moon and cry for blood after four years of Trumpsters attacking America and its best ideals. I understand and share those impulses. But but not every attack on Trump is a victory; not every accommodation is betrayal. I’m prepared to help Joe Biden practice his style of governance by decency and consensus, to work our way up from the Trumpian mudbaths and wait to tackle some of the specific, necessary changes later, after we’ve restored a national sense of purpose  and continuity.”

In 1997, Weaver became editorial page editor for the Sacramento Bee, the first McClatchy publication. In 2001, he returned to Sacramento to become as vice president-news for McClatchy.

He wrote his memoirs of the newspaper war between the Anchorage Daily News and the Anchorage Times: Write Hard, Die Free.

Weaver, who continued working in newspapers after moving out of Alaska, launched a newsletter three years ago. That newsletter, Subversive Optimism can be read at Substack. In addition to Substack, he wrote a blog at Medium: “Facts are facts, goddammit, and Matt Drudge and Markos Moulitsas are partisans and amateurs worth little attention and certainly no worry,” he wrote in defense of legacy newspapers in 2013, and against the upstarts online who provided other points of view.

About the sale of the Anchorage Daily News to Alice Rogoff’s Alaska Dispatch, Weaver wrote on his own blog, HowardWeaver.com, (currently defunct) that no one could be more impacted by it than he was.

“The news that McClatchy is selling the Anchorage Daily News to Alice Rogoff’s Alaska Dispatch cannot have arrived with more impact on anybody that it did for me. I spent 45 years in Alaska, 30 years at McClatchy and 28 years at the Daily News. Altogether that’s 103 years, and I feel every one of them this morning.

“How do I feel about it? Most immediately, I’m saddened. I thought of Adlai Stevenson’s response when asked how he felt after losing a second race for the presidency. ‘It hurts too bad to laugh,’ he said, ‘but I’m too big to cry.’

“My affection for both ADN and McClatchy remains deep, and it pains me that they are no longer allied. When the Daily News signed a joint operating agreement with the late Anchorage Times in 1974 it felt like the end of the world. But I’m a big boy myself now and I know where babies come from, so this shock—though still intense—is different.

“That’s partly absence of naivety and partly due to a difference in the players. I saw any dealings with Robert Atwood & Co, as dancing with the devil. (Little did I know how much more intensely I’d feel that when the Times sold to Bill Allen). Now the cast is wholly different; Rogoff and the crew at the Dispatch generally represent a much more honorable and affirmative vision for journalism and Alaska. I will hope for the best and do whatever I can to help them,” Weaver wrote.

“There are many intriguing ways to slice this news. One looks mainly at personalities—a high-profile and sometimes volatile perspective but probably, in the end, not the most important. There’s a superficial business story about the feisty online startup buying an established mainstream leader, although interestingly the newspaper here makes money and the online service (so far as I know) doesn’t. A more substantive angle might involve questioning why rich individuals are deciding to get involved in mainstream news (see also Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Pierre Omidyar).

“The most meaningful benchmark is to look at values and intentions. Bob Atwood’s values were historically transparent; Bill Allen’s were videotaped by the FBI in a sleazy Juneau hotel suite. McClatchy, love it or hate it, is a 157-year old media company with a clear track record. I’ve been a news guy, and nothing else, my whole adult life.

“Rogoff and the Dispatch, despite a vigorous online presence since about 2009, are more opaque to most of us. The only reasonable response, it seems to me, is to watch carefully and judge them on their performance. They will find that they operate under a far more powerful spotlight running the state’s largest news organization than they did before.

“I have deep and abiding respect for Pat Dougherty and staffers who have labored mightily through the financial bloodbath of the past five years. Where I once managed a newsroom of more than 100 people today’s ADN is produced by considerably less than half that many—and we didn’t even have to produce and serve a website in my day. I don’t know many staffers personally any more (I left in 1995) but people like David Hulen, Rich Mauer, Julia O’Malley and many others have sustained a deserved reputation for professionalism and high standards that any new organization must stretch to reach.

“They did not fail McClatchy or the Daily News. More people read their work today than saw the paper during my heyday, which is a portrait of growth, not decay. Indeed, despite the internet, the crumbling of its traditional business model and years of global recession, ADN remains a profitable business. Corporate revenues and debt financing are a more complex equation, but those are hardly newsroom failings. 

“Perhaps they’ll be getting much needed assistance—more staffers, better technology, an invigorated business model. Please, Ms. Rogoff, make it so.”

Rogoff, however, drove the new organization into bankruptcy protection in 2017, and it was subsequently purchased by the Binkley family and returned from the Alaska Dispatch name to the legacy Anchorage Daily News.

Although first and foremost a gifted writer, Weaver was part of the Democrat-run newsroom of the day in Alaska. He did, in fact, leave behind a legacy.

72 COMMENTS

  1. The Media has the opportunity to report truth, spin or outright lies. I prefer the truth. Enough said!

  2. “Point-of-view journalism”

    In other words, editorials-run-amok masquerading as journalism.
    Just what the ADN has excelled at for decades, but most particularly in the last six or eight years, coinciding with the rampant spread of the REAL pandemic, the pernicious and insidious ‘woke’ mind virus.

    Good riddance, you arrogant, brainwashed Covidian and would-be petty tyrant.

    • The association is becoming undeniable between “turbo cancers” (I.e., very aggressive, treatment resistant, quickly metastasizing tumors) and multiple COVID vaccinations. Vaccine-induced immune system suppression is cumulative. More “jabs” promotes more immune deficiency.
      Mr. Weaver may have succumbed by acting on his own advice to get vaccinated and repeatedly “boosted.” Personally, I can’t say I feel sorry. The world may be better off, if people who share his hateful and devicive ideology are gone.

  3. I would say that Howard Weaver practiced and promoted “perspective journalism”. He and his followers reflexively determined who they thought were the “good guys” and the “bad guys”. If you were good, you were golden. The fawning coverage of Tony Knowles as mayor was legendary and nauseating. There were others. Almost all of the noble characters in Howard Weaver’s world were people of the Left; almost all of the villains were conservative. It was a great set-up and he and his buddies made a lot of money and ruined a few folks along the way. The thing that always was lacking, IMO, was a touch of self-reflection: Were those that were favored always the heros? Is it at all possible that the unfavored might have wanted the best for the community? Howard probably never let such thoughts interfere with his objectives.

    Howard Weaver left Alaska roughly thirty years ago when more money was to be made in the California echo chamber. He or his followers slimed me a couple of times. I will not thank him. May he rest in peace.

  4. Whenever someone who thought that coercion, the use of any form of force (like social exclusion), was legitimate to get citizens to accept a medical treatment, good or bad, that they didn’t want dies the world is just a bit better off and our freedoms a bit more secure. Good riddance.

    • Narcissistic scum advocating those that wouldn’t take an experimental gene therapy shot – to be “socially cancelled”.
      These people are truly Evil – the purveyors of these shots.
      The damage wrought on our youth, the pandering to the neurotic, the idealization of Big Pharma and our modern day Mengele, Fauci.
      The empowerment of the federal government to decide who works, who travels, who serves, who is educated, who lives and dies – is despicable.
      The greatest encroachment on Free Men occurred during the covid sham – the willful attempt to mandate logical, rational people give up their bodily autonomy.
      May they all rot in hell for eternity.
      Truly.
      AkPureBlood.

  5. I believe in Karma. Mr. Weaver became bitter and hateful, attacking fellow Americans who did not agree with him or his views. I don’t know what drives people to be this way.

    • There was a lot of cancer diagnosis going around before 2020. Today after those Covid shots and boosters rolled out I noticed the cancer diagnosis’ and other serious health diagnosis’ seem to quadruple on top of what was reported before 2020. I question and am skeptical why do many people under 75 especially those under 45 are getting sick. And would they gotten sick so early especially the ones under 60 if there was no Covid shots? I didn’t get the Covid shots I feel as fit as a fiddle, no sickness yet, no discomforts. Occasionally I get a bad cold that I question if the virus is a cousin of Covid-19 because of its accompanied with weakness, fatigue, and fever/chills but it’s not as nasty as the virus I caught in Nov 2021.

    • Weaver took all the vaxx shots plus supplementals. He was loaded down. Now resting with Terry Cole and other Marxist journalists ………. Underground.

  6. I’d leave a comment but it probably need to be deleted. however on such a gloomy overcast day, I felt a bit more positive, like something lurking in the shadows that wanted to destroy me was gone.

  7. “He did, in fact, leave behind a legacy.”

    Indeed, a legacy where many people, certainly me included, who after years of seeing the ADN’s skewed headlines that professed a virulent hatred for Ted Stevens and Dob Young, and anything remotely Conservative……..quit buying his Pravda rag.

    • If someone lived an evil life, the people around them would be glad and relieved they are gone. No one mourned when Queen Jezebel of Judah got thrown out the window and was eaten by the dogs and birds. She was wicked and made the peoples lives miserable. As Psalm 44 is a song praising God’s defeat over one’s enemies. Remember those enemies were men, women, and children being raised up after their wicked parents- But they were enemies of Isreal.

  8. I knew Howard as being one year ahead of me at East Anchorage High school and an EDDY HASKELL class brown-noser.

    I later worked as a colleague of Howard at the Anchorage Daily News. There I witnessed in the newsroom how these inbred liberal poseurs cooked their sanctimonious special journalism sauce.

    Howard and his ilk have damaged Alaska critical thinking, and with the caliber of our public education factories some may never care to know truth.

    ‘https://donnliston.co/2023/08/demise-of-the-fourth-estate/

  9. And never forget that he published a full front page article in the Anchorage Daily News that detailed north to south how terrorists could blow up the trans-Alaska pipeline. I’d thought about how irresponsible this was of him, but yet again, so typical. He was an unhinged critic of the oil industry and the pipeline in particular. It was with him that the ADN editorial board and staff careened sharply left into some of the most unhinged reporting that I’d ever seen. It was Howard Weaver who made me and many others to begin thinking that we can’t hate the media enough.

  10. He promoted taking private properties (two percent) of Alaska real estate and turning it back into public land playgrounds. That was his main legacy. Like I’m sure he’ll be glad to watch from wherever he ends up his widow now running off the riff raff playing endlessly now in her real estate yard, defecating, smoking, drinking you know “recreating” like he taught in his pages that it’s correct and civil and modern to do. I hope he repented a little bit of that belief somewhat.

  11. This is among the cheapest shots I’ve seen in a while. Howard Weaver was an immensely talented man who has passed to his reward. He left Alaska a very long time ago and there is nothing to be gained by slinging mud on his tombstone.

    • I disagree, Jim.

      Regarding the intellectual and political crimes of the arrogant enemies of freedom, we must NEVER forgive, and never forget. Enough already with this faux sympathy for the evil deceased! If one deserved little but contempt in life, they certainly deserve nothing more, or less, in death.

    • Yeah cheap shots were his stock and trade. Oh what a gift he gives us to see ourselves as others see us. What he did to me I will not recount for your ears today but but if he had done it to you you’d do the same.

    • Suzanne wrote a thoughtful and interesting reflection on a controversial Alaskan’s life.
      Whatever you are perceiving as “slung mud” is simply the dirt Weaver liked to dispatch in order to bury any truth he didn’t like.

  12. We were all subjected to the late Mr. Weaver’s (and Joe Biden’s, and Justin Trudeau, etc, etc) brand of ‘progressive’ Covid-vaccine fanaticism and towering rage against the vaccine holdouts. Hardly any of their ilk have admitted their grievous errors about the vaccine’s efficacy and safety, and humbly asked to be forgiven.

    This experience has firmly settled my own natural tendency — and has made the same impression on countless others — to be forever wary and ‘reactionary’ in following the lead of the MSM and its favored politicians. Thank you, Howard, wherever you are now situated, for your own part in performing this great public service.

  13. Is this even news ? Man left thirty years ago . Maybe it’s his legacy that’s folks living on streets of anchorage like animals . It appears that’s lefts idea of utopia . Beyond me how goof balls living on the streets of Anchorage is even tolerated in society . But as I’ve said “ bigger the city govt , bigger the homeless population “ . Laid out for everyone to see clearly .

    Whom ever this man is , may he finally rest in peace .

    • “Two Pulitzer Prizes says it all.”

      Like Walter Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize for turning a blind eye for the Holomodor and writing lies?

      Or Maggie Haberman’s Pulitzer Prize for stoking Russia-Gate and writing lies?

      Or Anne Applebaum’s Pulitzer Prize for warmongering that has contributed to the deaths of hundred of thousands in Eastern Europe?

      I could go on.

      What a legacy.

      • Nikole Hannah-Jones was awarded a Pulitzer for her 1619 project. What a joke. The New York Times was awarded a 2021 Pulitzer for its “courageous” reporting — lies — on the Covid-19 virus, while running a relentless campaign to discredit the lab leak theory.

      • I cannot let this moment pass without noting that Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for, apparently, being born and breathing. On occasion, it is worth taking a critical look at such things.

    • John – The Pulitzer doesn’t mean much. I mean, c’mon, they gave Obama the Nobel Peace award and he managed to have several wars going at the same time that killed thousands of innocent people.

  14. Both Howard Weaver and Richard Mauer were direct descendants of “Yellow journalism” and yellow press, American terms for journalism and associated newspapers that present little or no legitimate, well-researched news (ADN) while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales.
    ADN today still follows the national crowd of “print the lies and so on.” and carry the water for the DNC. Not much different than during Howard’s time.

    • Even an army announces when its captured or killed the commanders or the commanders of an enemy army have died. I guess in the world of Left and Right, the subject was recognized as a political commander for the left.

  15. I’m glad I never heard of him while he was alive and writing. By his opinions he sounded like a, and yes, an “angry man” teaching others how to be discouraged, angry, upset, frustrated. What’s sadder he used the platform God gave him to do it. He had tens of thousands of listeners. I get enough of that from others and didn’t need to hear this man’s complaints. Cause we should choose to focus on kingdom things above the little matters as we age.

    Remember if we ain’t resting with Jesus after death, we ain’t resting in peace. If this man wasn’t like the criminal hanging on Jesus right side he’s not with Jesus. Sad for them dying without Christ but Jesus Christ is our humanity’s gift of Salvation no matter how hard the world and religions try denying it.

  16. Weaver was a typical unhappy liberal. If he was a “journalist “
    It certainly was not in the classic sense as he was completely biased in every way. His fear mongering about covid near the end of his life proved that out.

  17. I recall that one of those phony Pulitzer Prizes was based on work that had been completely fabricated. ADN was never known for its high quality reporting, and it appears this guy can take credit for that. Only another phony journalist would call him “honest”, etc. What a load of crap.

  18. I have not encouraged others to disregard and overstep private property rights nor used a bully pulpit to do this. I have never willfully infringed private property rights in any way.

  19. Such a wasted end result of hatred and lack of understanding the military/medical industrial complex that has killed millions. When ivermectin helped people recover in 48 hours because it WORKS. Unlike the kill box and PREP Act set up by DoD and Darpa.

  20. Not wishing to cause pain but private property owners do feel pain when uninvited guests believe in error that they amorphous public have greater rights than the owner and therefore ignore boundaries and claim unlimited playground/recreation rights equal ir greater than the property owner. Recreationists do: walk and smoke, have livations and leave traces, relieve themselves and pilfer among other things. A grieving spouse is burdened with singular response. Raising children to disrespect all property rights is uncivil.

  21. For the dearly departed’s role in perpetrating the murderous China flu hysteria, may God have mercy on his soul.

  22. Concerning the shots, why was it that all those aliens coming over the border have never had to get a shot, yet our government tried to require all citizens to get vaxed? Could it be that those aliens never had to get shots because they are the ” replacements” for those citizens who may die early due to the vax? Always thought it made no sense if covid was so bad. Why wouldn’t the government protect its own people from the potential of covid being spread by people coming in across the border and inoculate every one of them if the Administration wanted open borders? Just asking.

  23. Clowns like him don’t report the news they report their opinion. And he is the reason the daily news folded. He is also part of the reason this country is so screwed up. No loss losing leftist agitators.

  24. He was no Bob Atwood or Tom Brennan. Sure glad the rona didn’t do him in. Now, for a few million more to go.

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