Fagan seems to think spite can take the place of research

COMPASS: Other points of view

January 9, 2009 

I know Dan Fagan's column is supposed to be "opinion," but his column last Sunday lambasting Governor Palin is truly pathetic. Fagan assumes since the governor made a statement about daughter Bristol's fiance Levi Johnston, regarding his pursuit of a high school diploma and simultaneous enrollment in an apprenticeship program, that the governor somehow may have inappropriately influenced Johnston's enrollment in said apprenticeship, absent any actual and self-admitted proof for his allegations.

Fagan used false conclusions about how federal apprenticeship requirements work as the foundation for his diatribe.

I know a thing or two about apprenticeship regulations, as I was a trustee and statewide director for several years of the state's largest and most successful electrical apprenticeship program. But even if I didn't know much about the topic, and relied on a simple Internet search putting in the words "federal apprenticeship regulations," it is readily apparent that federal regulations don't require all members of an apprentice program to have a high school diploma, contrary to Fagan's assertions. Such a requirement is up to the plan sponsor.

Fagan also asserts there are only three electrical apprenticeship programs in the state. Wrong again. He's actually off by more than 90 (oa.doleta.gov/). But why be bothered with truth or facts while you're trying to "raise the banner of journalism," as he claims on his Web site.

Fagan infers Johnston and, by association, Governor Palin, bypassed rules, when he himself is guilty of violating the most basic rules of research in journalism. Remember the old rule, Dan, when it comes to your sources: Trust, but verify.

If only Fagan had done a minimal amount of accurate research, then perhaps his attempt at skewering the governor would have come off as something more than his typical vitriolic blowhard message of hate disguised as "journalism."

Fagan's fascination with trying to vilify the governor is so obvious and blatant it severely undercuts the legitimacy of his Web site, or his radio program for that matter, and his claim of not having any agenda.

Fagan's Sunday column had absolute misstatements of fact, but like anyone spraying gunfire with an automatic weapon he was bound to hit something with his Fire-Ready-Aim tactics. And now Levi Johnston, who I'm sure never wanted this particular 15 minutes of fame, and wouldn't have it save for one narcissistic sycophant, must hit the bricks and look for a new job to support his new family. Give me a call, kid. Maybe I can help you out.

I understand the Daily News is trying to provide a conservative viewpoint in your paper, but come on. If Fagan wants to continually beat up on the governor or whomever else he sets his sights on, that's his business. And publishing drivel is one thing. But why are you publishing unsubstantiated, inaccurate drivel that claims to be "raising the banner of journalism?"

Vince Beltrami is president of the Alaska AFL-CIO. A correction to Dan Fagan's column appeared Friday on page A-3.

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