LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘A Tale of Two (Negative) Ads’


[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]

“A TALE OF TWO (NEGATIVE) ADS”

Full disclosure – I’m a supporter of Claire Wilson’s work with the Federal Way School District (including work in relation to the rebuilding of Federal Way High School, attended by both my children). But I write specifically to discuss the negative ads I’ve received in Des Moines from BOTH sides in the campaign for the 30th District Senate seat – because I believe they reflect far more remarkably – to a DNA level – on the candidate/party/money that sent them out than they reveal about the candidates they attack.

First, Mr. Miloscia’s ads stuffing our mail boxes with a forest’s worth of paper and have, since the primary, sought one goal – to label Ms. Wilson as a wasteful spender. The ads are ugly in tone – employing a disrespectful, full-Trump “nick-naming” to label Ms. Wilson and reduce her to “an other.” They are ugly in presentation – they use cartoonish caricatures to perpetuate a false premise. And they are perhaps ugliest in their inaccuracy. How inaccurate? Note carefully the fine-print – the sole “source” cited is a Mirror article reporting on public comments about what eventually became a controversy for the then-superintendent and the then-constituted board (Ms. Wilson was not board president). The ad does not address the entirety of the group that traveled, or the travel’s actual scope and education fact-finding purposes in relation to the district’s Global Learning Initiative over five years ago. Note of course that of course there was no vacation taken; note the all the alleged expenses are wrongfully attributed to Ms. Wilson; and note (and I personally witnessed) Ms. Wilson provided a robust and public de-brief of the facts to the board and community, with learnings in relation to the international education best practices that could be utilized in Federal Way. This trip became a significant controversy with supporters and detractors. But ask yourself this. Unlike others, Ms. Wilson stuck it out as a public servant; listened to the community; remained on the school board; she was then elected board President. If over the entirety of Ms. Wilson’s service to the school board, including as President, managing annual multi-million dollar budgets and a myriad of often controversial and complex social and economic issues, this is IT – and there are no actual instances of inappropriate stewardship and governance they could dig up – Mr. Miloscia’s ad seeking to label Ms. Wilson as wasteful is simply as inaccurate as it is ugly.

Now look at the negative ad hitting our mailboxes against Mr. Miloscia. The difference could not be more stark. The ad highlights an issue critical to Federal voters with respect to which Mr. Miloscia is out of touch with a majority of voters and at a minimum, tone deaf – women’s health care and reproductive rights for women. The ad features actual quotes from Mr. Miloscia, accurately represents Mr. Miloscia’s position on abortion (he proudly “mic dropped” at the Mirror’s candidate forum with a terse “my supporters know I’m pro-life” response). The ad bears no sign of the “ugly” – it uses actual respectful photos of Mr. Miloscia in a suit and tie, at work with a microphone – so respectful Mr. Miloscia could use them in his own literature. The ad underscores the point made clearly by his coveted Seattle Times primary season endorsement – that Mr. Miloscia “is more conservative than many residents of the rapidly changing 30th District. This editorial board doesn’t agree with his opposition to abortion rights or same-sex marriage, for instance.”

These ads reveal much about the candidates behind them. On the one hand, Mr. Miloscia (or his backers) have no legitimate basis to attack Ms. Wilson work and public service, but will do anything to create a false premise wrapped in an ugly and disrespectful package to appeal to a base anti-tax voter. Conversely, Ms. Wilson’s ads focus on a single issue relevant to 30th District voters. They hit hard and directly – but factually and respectfully.

If Mr. Miloscia is fine with the ugliness, corrosiveness, and inaccuracy of his ads targeting Ms. Wilson, that have been running in varying forms since at least August, then in his own now-infamous social-media words apply to himself: “for Shame! for Shame!” (Source: Mr. Miloscia’s January 20, 2017, Facebook post, below, where he referred to the 2017 pink hat women’s march as “the ugly, unAmerican, and unChristian protest activities we have seen yesterday and now today across our state and nation by many I know. For Shame! For Shame!” Mr. Miloscia, a supposed supporter of keeping public records available, then deleted his post when hit with substantial community blowback.)

You may not agree with Ms. Wilson’s positions as reflected in her ad, but there is no disputing that her campaign reflects a level of class and civility the Mr. Miloscia would do well to learn from.

– Steve Edmiston

[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our engaged monthly Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please cite your sources, remain civil and – pending our careful review – we’ll consider publishing it.]



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