The Alaska media did its job.
The Anchorage Daily News gathered the facts, and after confirming their accuracy, published a couple news stories this week that led up to and reported upon the resignation of the state’s now-former attorney general Kevin Clarkson.
Clarkson resigned after the Anchorage Daily News published a story about his 500-plus text-message pursuit of a younger state employee. The advance involved him remarking upon her beauty, sending her emoji kisses and repeatedly inviting her to his house. The situation occurred over 27 days last spring.
The female employee repeatedly refused the invitations of the married, conservative, self-identified Christian attorney in highly placed government office.
A temporary attorney general has been appointed.
Of course, public comment on the matter is expected, and it came. Two entities, in an attempt to defend a friend and mitigate the damage to the Christian community, responded critically of the media.
The president of the Alaska Family Action Council, Jim Minnery, in the midst of pointing out that Clarkson is human and human beings fail to live up to the standards of God, at the top of his response, blasted the media, which he says is “always complicit in minimizing the importance or reality of Biblical boundaries but first in line to exploit those who have tripped up in anyway related to them, will make hay with this (Clarkson situation).”
Joel Davidson of the Alaska Watchman similarly says: “In most cases, the mainstream culture, including the media, goes out of the way to celebrate the hookup culture, sexual promiscuity and the dismantling of the nuclear family. But given the chance (to) shame a self-professing Christian, (such as Clarkson), “they immediately point out the fallen man’s hypocrisy.
Gentlemen, the media did its job. The former attorney general failed in one respect of his position, for which he will pay a high price.
Meanwhile, Alaska is part of the Republic, which operates as a democracy, in which the freedom of the press is protected. The press operates as a watchdog of government, good, bad and indifferent. It doesn’t claim to be perfect, no human endeavor — nor attorney general — is, but it has a responsibility to the people of this state to report, not to conceal, which is believed to result in the best state government possible for a given time.
Alaska media, particularly newspapers of which we are most familiar, doesn’t relish reporting on situations such as Clarkson’s. This is our Alaska, too. We’ve been here since well before statehood. We want good news for Alaska and Alaskans.
But bad news happens. It has to be dealt with. Once the rumors are made public — either verified or investigated and disproven — the situation to which they pertain can be corrected or the innocent are exonerated. Sorting out fact from fiction is the only way to maintain public confidence in government. In this regard, the media has a huge role. We, too, would like to see its objectivity more frequently.
But the Anchorage Daily News handled this story, as it does many others, even-handed. It told Alaskans what happened.
Then we can pray for all the parties involved, in this case those harmed by Clarkson’s actions, including Clarkson himself.
What we also notice in these gentlemen’s responses, however, is no mention of the woman who Clarkson pursued. No concern, no support, no compassion, no mention at all — obviously an oversight by good-intentioned men.
No one is perfect. We all make big errors, small mistakes and ones in-between whether we’re conservative, liberal, independent or completely neutral. Whether we’re a Christian Democrat or Christian Republican. Whether we believe in God or not. We pay the price every time, and then move on to the next day.
The Anchorage Daily News will do that and the upcoming headlines will tell — as the ones in print this week do — Alaska’s story. As journalists in Ketchikan, we pray it will be more good than bad, as it has been historically.