The Berkowitz story
A piece in MustReadAlaska.com headlined, “The Berkowitz story that’s never been told,” seems to bolster what many in this community believe: the news media is very much in the bag.
“The Anchorage mayoral race might not have been decided by media coverage, but the media certainly played a role,” Suzanne Downing writes. “It took a keen interest in reporting on certain issues in the past of mayoral candidate Rebecca Logan, but were oddly silent about issues relevant to incumbent Ethan Berkowitz.”
The story takes a hard look at the media coverage over the years afforded to Berkowitz and his wife, Mara Kimmel.
In the most recent election, she says, the dirty laundry of Rebecca Logan was aired by KTVA and the Anchorage Daily News at about the same time voters were receiving their ballots for the last municipal election, but “no reporter seemed interested in the personal difficulties of the incumbent mayor, and his family’s deadly past.”
It turns out, she says, that Berkowitz’s wife, Mara Kimmel, was the driver of a Volvo station wagon on March 1, 2007, which struck a man in a crosswalk. The man died, and at least one witness suggested she received preferential treatment from investigators as Berkowitz was preparing to run for Congress. The victim’s family could not even get the driver’s name for three weeks.
The wrongful death case did not come up in the media in 2008, as Berkowitz ran against Rep. Don Young – and the Kimmel lawsuit was still in the courts, Downing reports.
Kimmel’s history also appeared irrelevant to the “media when Berkowitz ran for governor in 2010, nor when he ran for Anchorage mayor in 2015, and won against Amy Demboski, who the media had hounded mercilessly over a statement she had never made about Berkowitz’s sexual proclivities.”
When the media went after Logan, Downey writes, they once again were silent about Anchorage’s first lady.
The story is good – and necessary – reading. It raises many questions about the local media’s actions over the years and it calls to mind a crusty old editor’s advice:
“Never take sides, be fair and if you’re going to stick it to one, stick it to all of them.”
It is good advice, apparently ignored.