Everyone can agree: Blame the media
Those living in the public spotlight always crank up the criticism when the focus is either too harsh or too blurred. In the last three months, Gov. Linda Lingle has started her own media watch.
At the end of last year, when she finally got around to openly discussing the resignation of Bob Awana, her former chief of staff and campaign manager, Lingle said her own investigations had found that Awana had done nothing wrong.
Don't blame Bob, blame the news media, she implied.
Awana, blackmailed after having a secret extramarital affair, was forced out of her cabinet by "media attention and sensationalization of him ... the media focused on his personal life and personal issues," Lingle said.
Lingle was less than specific about how she or her staff investigated Awana, but she bore down on the Associated Press, saying "you kept repeating things that simply were not true, that you didn't source, that you had no evidence of."
The case essentially ended when AP was denied a request to get the details of the Awana case opened in federal court.
In a more humorous critique of the news media during a Feb. 1 speech before the Maui Chamber of Commerce, Lingle bemoaned the media's giddy reporting of pop culture figure Britney Spears, noting that if all you knew about the world was from CNN "you would think that Britney Spears had a really big effect on your life."
In her speech, Lingle then said she was puzzled by the placement of a Maui News story on the front page, saying "it is meaningless to our lives" because the bill to grow marijuana on Maui would not survive.
The Maui News, however, felt slighted. The paper said in an editorial that it has strongly supported Lingle but was losing patience with the performance of the Hawaii Superferry, one of her biggest controversies.
"If you think you need to find our Achilles' heel to attack us, you'd better keep looking," the editorial said to Lingle.
And finally, on Wednesday she went after Rick Hamada, one of the more obsequious conservative radio hosts in the state. Hamada, in a column for MidWeek, had criticized Lingle's plan to buy Turtle Bay or stop the development of that portion of the North Shore.
Hamada's comparison of the state to a T. Boone Pickens hostile takeover was strained, but Lingle used her time on the live radio interview to slap him around.
"I have never seen an article as misinformed as this one. On the face of it, it is a ridiculous comparison," she said.
Not since the early days of former Mayor Frank Fasi's reign has the local news media been so publicly called out. Lingle might be shrewder than most; the criticism is sure to get agreement from the Legislature's Democrats on their dislike of the news media.