On April 7, public KCTS-TV announced a reprieve from fiscal distress, saying it had received a $7 million loan from “a longtime friend and supporter of the station who at this time wishes to remain anonymous.” The money will be used to pay off and consolidate debt, including dues for PBS. The right of a nonprofit to keep a donor anonymous is well established, but as a matter of principle, KCTS is a special case. It is publicly supported by tax-deductible donations, gets some money indirectly from taxpayers, broadcasts over the public airwaves, and in many ways helps set the national and local public agenda. It’s not too much to expect a public media outlet to make its finances transparent, especially a media outlet that has a recent history of misappropriating large donations. More troubling is the unknown extent to which such a donor or lender—and the leading candidates we all know well—might have business before the public that could be influenced by media coverage, or lack of it. As long as we don’t know who the source of that loan is, KCTS has a credibility gap that transcends its reputation for bookkeeping. CHUCK TAYLOR

Contrary to a recent report that had journalists’ tongues wagging across the country, Michael Kinsley still works at Slate magazine, according to publisher Cyrus Krohn. Last week, citing inside sources, the New York Post reported that Seattle’s most famous journalist had ended his affiliation with the online magazine he founded. “It’s not true,” says Krohn, adding of Post writer Keith Kelly, “I don’t know where he got that.” Probably from the fact that Kinsley is on a three-month sabbatical, a perk of employer Microsoft after eight years of service. NINA SHAPIRO

Last week’s King County Superior Court verdict that the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center was not liable in the deaths of four patients in an experimental cancer treatment trial in the 1980s looked to many like a repudiation of the Seattle Times‘ “Uninformed Consent” series. But that’s not exactly right. The 2001 investigative articles alleged that the Hutch had not properly informed patients of the risks of such a trial and that doctors had conflicts of interest because of their involvement with companies making the drugs. More than a dozen patients died. The series was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2002. The court jury ruled that patients had given informed consent, and that the Hutch had given them enough information to do so. (The Hutch was found negligent in the death of a fifth plaintiff, but not as a result of uninformed consent.) Did the Times get it wrong? Bill Leedom, an attorney for the Hutch, says yes. “They ought to print a retraction, but they won’t do it because they are the Times.” Not so fast, says David Boardman, managing editor of the paper, who edited the series. “This was a trial about a very specific set of facts concerning five plaintiffs on specified points of law. It was not a trial of our journalism as much as The Wall Street Journal would like it to be.” The Journal attacked the series in a 2002 opinion piece that might have spoiled the Pulitzer chances for Times reporters Duff Wilson and David Heath. “We see no need to retract anything,” says Boardman. “We stand proudly by the story.” The plaintiffs have 30 days to file an appeal. PHILIP DAWDY

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

More in News & Comment

File photo
As new COVID-19 variant looms, vaccination disparities linger in King County

County data shows gaps among age, geography and race.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn
King County Councilmember Dunn will challenge Rep. Kim Schrier for U.S. Congress seat

The current County Councilmember would be following in his late mother’s footsteps

Garbage at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley. FILE PHOTO
King County and Port of Seattle to collaborate on waste-to-fuel study

The study is aimed at identifying logistics of developing aviation fuel out of municipal garbage.

file photo
Department of Health announces QR code verification program to prove vaccination status

WA Verify is intended to make vaccine verification simpler and more efficient.

Patti Cole-Trindall
King County Executive appoints Patti Cole-Tindall as interim sheriff

Cole-Tindall has a background in the sheriff’s office and county government.

Elaine Simons, former foster mother of Jesse Sarey, addresses a crowd outside the Maleng Regional Justice Center on Aug. 24, 2020, moments after Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson was formally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the May 31, 2019, shooting death of 26-year-old Sarey in front of a north Auburn convenience store. File photo
Jesse Sarey’s family wants people to know who the real Jesse was

He was killed by Auburn police officer Jeffrey Nelson in 2019.

A Snoqualmie Officer was involved in a shooting Tuesday night, Nov. 16. Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Police Department.
Man killed by Snoqualmie Police was homeless, living in car

The 33-year-old man who was killed by a Snoqualmie police officer late… Continue reading

Mid-afternoon traffic on northbound Interstate 5 on Nov. 22 near Everett. Dan Bates/The Herald
Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than pre-pandemic

Drivers and ferry riders could be in for long waits, depending on when they go.

Comparison map between current district map and proposed draft. (Screenshot from King County’s website)
King County proposes redistricting map, asks for feedback from public

Public invited to comment at November 30 public hearing.

The Washington State Redistricting Commission held a public meeting over Zoom on Monday night to draw the final legislative and congressional district boundaries. Most of the five-hour session was spent in "caucus meetings" which were unavailable to the viewing public. (Washington State Redistricting Commission)
Bipartisan commission fails to draw new political boundaries

For the first time in state history, the Supreme Court will define new congressional and legislative districts.

Homeless encampment in a wooded area in Auburn on Aug. 27, 2021. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing
What the history of homelessness in our region can teach us about our current crisis

A talk with the author of “Skid Road: On the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in an American City.”

courtesy of PropertyShark
State’s richest zip codes are all in East King County, according to home value study

Medina zip code ranks among top 10 most affluent in the nation.