Joel v. Publicola: What They Both Missed

Writing about upcoming newspaper and online political endorsements, Joel Connelly today mentions the ethics conflict that Publicola faces. "It'll be interesting to see what the new online Publicola will do. Sandeep Kaushik and Cynara Lilly - figures from its masthead - are working as spokespeople for candidates. [Kaushik for Mayor Nickels, among others, Lilly for county exec candidate Ross Hunter]. How can Publicola's support have credibility even if a 'Chinese wall' is erected around its participatory journalists?"

At Publicola, news editor Erica Barnett fires back: "As we've mentioned approximately one million times," Publicola advisor and co-founder Kaushik and ad saleswoman Lilly "are not members of PubliCola's editorial board (nor are they 'participatory journalists,' whatever that means) and played no role whatsoever in our endorsement process....For the record, again: Our editorial board consists of myself, Josh Feit, and former P-I and Times editor Mark Matassa, and we'll be releasing our endorsements this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday."

What both Connelly and Barnett forgot to mention today, however, is that Matassa has stepped across the line to the dark side, too: As he Twittered July 23: "As of last week, for those wondering, I'm spokesman for Jan Drago's campaign for Seattle mayor. Good candidate, good team. Go Jan!" Barnett had noted last week that Matassa was a Drago "consultant" and did not "participate" in the mayoral endorsement - but oddly left out mention of his political role today.

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