Down East 2013 ©
Dowe getting done: The Maine Public Broadcasting Network is looking for a new president.  That person, who’ll be paid a salary of between $150,000 and $175,000 per year, will replace James Dowe, who’s retiring. Dowe, a former banker, was hired in 2006.
Under Dowe’s leadership, MPBN has managed to offend both legislative Democrats – powerful state Rep. John Martin was furious in 2008 when the network proposed shutting off radio transmitters in Aroostook County to save money – and a gubernatorial Republican – Gov. Paul LePage tried unsuccessfully this year to cut all state funding for public broadcasting.
While LePage’s attack on the network appeared to come in reaction to aggressive coverage by public radio’s reporters, MPBN’s efforts to produce public-affairs programming of any consequence on television have undergone some serious backsliding during Dowe’s tenure. “Maine Watch,”  the TV network’s only regularly scheduled news show, almost never breaks new ground when it covers controversial matters and increasingly has devoted its limited airtime to fluff.
Applications for the president’s job are due by Sept. 7.
Columnist upgrade: Pat LaMarche  has called it quits as a weekly columnist for the Bangor Daily News. LaMarche, a former Green Party candidate for governor, is rumored to be being replaced by Matthew Gagnon, the unabashedly conservative Republican proprietor of the Pine Tree Politics  Web site.
Bad times at the Times Record: The Brunswick afternoon daily has lost two editors  as a result of budget cuts in recent weeks and now seems to be having trouble paying its property taxes.
According to the Forecaster weekly , the TR’s parent company, Brunswick Publishing LLC, is the town’s biggest tax deadbeat, owing almost $77,000 in property taxes. It also owes $63,000 in municipal taxes for the last two years on its presses and equipment, and its commercial printing operation is in the hole for $12,500.
As reporter Emily Guerin discovered, the paper is not only faced with having liens slapped on its building, land, and equipment in late August, it’s also forfeited business equipment tax breaks and other refunds worth about $60,000.
To recover some of the debt, Brunswick is deducting the cost of town municipal notices published in the paper from the paper’s total tax bill.
Leave myself out of it: If you watch the video  of Gov. LePage lambasting the news media (“You folks tend not to like to write the truth”) on July 28 for what he sees as incompetent and biased coverage, you’ll notice he singles out one reporter, just off-camera, for particular criticism.
“[W]hat you are going to write is nothing I’m going to say,” LePage snapped, pointing at an individual. “You have never written an honest thing since I’ve been governor.”
Who got blasted by the governor?
Several people at the event confirmed the object of LePage’s scorn was MaineToday Media State House reporter Rebekah Metzler.
It’s one thing when other reporters give their colleague a break by not naming her – although, it’s just the sort of omission that fuels distrust of the media – but it’s another matter altogether when Metzler herself doesn’t mention her role  in the story.
A good reporter would have noted her involvement, since to do otherwise calls into question her objectivity and integrity. As for the rest of the media pack, they should ask themselves if they would have ignored this direct attack on an individual if it had been aimed at a politician or virtually anyone else.
Then, they should again ask themselves why a member of the press got a pass.
Shoe on wrong foot: Excellent story  on the Portland Press Herald business page on July 29 on the effect a proposed free-trade pact with Vietnam might have on New Balance, a shoe company with factories in central Maine. The only criticism I have of this piece is that it was done by the Washington Post, a newspaper that doesn’t have so much as a regular stringer in the state. Yet, the Post got the scoop, while the Press Herald and the Morning Sentinel (which supposedly covers the towns that New Balance operates in) devoted their investigative zeal to less distressing fare .
Al Diamon can be emailed at email@example.com .