Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Bloggers Target Maine Editor and Wife in Senate Race

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Bloggers Target Maine Editor and Wife in Senate Race

Article excerpt

Bangor (Maine) Daily News Executive Editor Mark Woodward says anybody who's at all politically active in Maine has known for years that his wife Bridget Woodward is a staff assistant to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

But suddenly this week the blogosphere is buzzing about the relationship, and accusing the editor of twisting the Daily News coverage and editorials to favor Collins over her likely opponent in the 2008 race, Democratic Rep. Tom Allen.

A posting by Eric Kleefeld on TPM Election Central -- at one of the most popular and influential political blogs, -- is typical of the play bloggers are giving the relationship:

"The allegations seem to have a great deal of merit, as it turns out. They turn on the fact that the paper's executive editor, Mark Woodward, is married to Bridget Woodward, a staffer for Collins in the Senator's Bangor district office. In other words, if Collins were to lose the election, the wife of the executive editor of a major newspaper in Collins' home state would be out of a job - which would cause some serious inconvenience for that household. ...

"The conflict-of-interest accusations came to light after the Daily News published an editorial backing up Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), who has denounced Democratic Congressman Tom Allen's campaign for sending a tracker with a video camera to follow her around campaigning, specifically at a recent parade."

In addition to a front-page story on Collins' complaints about the videotaping, the Daily News ran an editorial mostly critical of the practice. It is an increasingly common campaign tactic to send a videographer to an opponent's every public appearance, hoping to tape a gaffe or flip-flop.

But Woodward says there is no conflict of interest, he is not directing slanted coverage or opinion -- and that the "revelation" of his wife's work for Collins is way old news.

"It really is kind of fanciful for anyone to try to pretend this connection is some kind of revelation," Woodward said in a telephone interview.

Woodward -- currently board chairman of the local Chamber of Commerce -- is a public figure in Maine, whose connection to Collins is well-known in the state, the editor said. Woodward first joined the Daily News in 1971, and when, in 1997, he went to work as the newly elected Sen. Collin's press spokesman, the story "was front-page news" in the paper. …

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