KUOW is being criticized for providing a platform for a far-Left group to carelessly label Republican legislators as white-supremist simply because they follow conservative groups on social media.
If one is seeking examples of efficiencies in train transportation, they likely will not be looking to Washington State where both Amtrak and Sound Transit are failing to provide promised service to their customers. Amtrak announced there would be more delays before resuming service between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., which the bureaucrats at the Washington State Department of Transportation (who know plenty about service delays) said was “extremely dissatisfying.” Meanwhile at Sound Transit, the steady announcements of project delays and cost overruns, along with a fare collection system which allows anyone to ride the system for free, is starting to make taxpayers incredibly nervous. The latest phase of the project (ST3) is already projected to cost nearly three times the $54 billion voters were promised, and we are only five years into a 25-year construction schedule. (Click to read full Shift Article)
The local mainstream media promoted a national Left-wing organization’s list of 875 state legislators, including 30 from Washington State, claiming are “far-Right extremists” simply because they “follow” conservative groups on social media. Last week KUOW, Seattle’s National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, published and promoted an extremely partisan list developed by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR), whose board is made up of representatives from liberal civil rights organizations, unions, and Left-wing protest groups. KUOW irresponsibly provided IREHR a taxpayer-funded platform to maliciously label Republican legislators as extremist, without one tough question about the soundness of their research they used to attack just legislators of one political party.
This smear was obviously timed to coincide with the opening night of the January 6th hearings in Congress, to provide mainstream media local content to continue the attack on Republicans at the state level, who for the most part condemned the actions at both the state and national capital (something local Democrats have never done regarding the political violence committed in Seattle during 2020 by their liberal activists. The new Axios Seattle online news site then highlighted the KUOW report in its blog on Monday.
There are so many problems with the reporting and conclusions of this report that it is hard to determine where to begin. So consider these thoughts:
- Just because someone follows a group on social media does not mean they adhere to the group’s beliefs. Here at Shift, the followers of our social media accounts include a very wide spectrum of political views. The same is true of well-informed lawmakers, who want to keep up-to-date with a wide variety of public opinions.
- Many of the group’s IREHR labels as “far-right conspiracists” fail to meet any rational definition of that term. For example, Timber Unity, the group that protested Governor Inslee’s High Cost Low Carbon Fuel Standards in 2020, by filling up the Capital Campus with logging trucks, is one of the groups listed. That must be because liberal environmentalists/NPR listeners consider lower energy costs extreme.
- It is very hard to imagine that KUOW and Axios would have provided the same unchallenged reporting if a conservative group labeled Democrat legislators as “militant radicals” because the lawmakers followed similar types of Left-wing organization on their social media accounts.
As we reported in yesterday’s Daily Briefing, many journalists, including Brandi Kruse, have criticized KUOW and Axios for the coverage they gifted IREHR and the Democrats. Kruse pointed out that journalists should have used better judgement and it should have raised red flags that very moderate State Representative Andrew Barkis (R – Olympia) was on the list. Kruse tweeted, “EVERY SINGLE POLITICAL journalist in this state sure as hell knows Barkis isn’t extremist.” (KUOW, IREHR Advisory Board, Axios, and Brandi Kruse Twitter)
Dysfunction continues in the office of Democrat Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, as the employee who came forward with some of the allegations of improper behavior by the commissioner has been fired. Jon Noski revealed to the media earlier this year his many concerns over Commissioner Kreidler’s derogatory behavior and that a formal complaint he made was dismissed by senior members of the staff. Noski was dismissed as the legislative liaison for the office, the day he returned from medical leave.
Many former employees have defended Noski, with one saying, “It’s disappointing that Jon got fired for speaking up for himself and other staff about what was very unprofessional behavior on the part of the commissioner.” Another former employee asserted that, “Honestly, I think the wrong person is leaving the agency. [Jon] didn’t do anything wrong, but he’s the one paying the price.” (Northwest News Network)
Shift has written about Senator Manka Dhingra (D – Redmond) and her leadership in passing and defending the controversial anti-police bills during the 2021 legislative session, and the Democrats’ failure during the 2022 session to fix the flawed police pursuit laws which are allowing suspected criminals to flee from police. We have also written about the Senator Dhingra’s efforts to make it legal to possess destructive drugs such has heroin, meth, and cocaine, and that her views might be out of touch with the majority of those who live in the 45th Legislative District in East King County. For many months Republican operatives had hinted about a possible strong challenger to Senator Dhingra as she sought re-election this November. Then, as the end of filing was approaching, Sammamish Water Commissioner and attorney Ryika Hooshangi filed as a Republican challenger to Senator Dhingra. Hooshangi’s campaign will be holding its kickoff breakfast next Tuesday (June 21st) at the Bellevue Hilton. Click here to find out more and to RSVP. (Shift Article, Hooshangi campaign website, and June 21 event)
After public outrage, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has reversed its previous ruling that all coffee stands, and short menu food carts needed to be hooked up to permanent plumbing and have a restroom. Last month the DOH, through county health departments, made public these new regulations which would have caused hundreds of stands across the state to either pay up to thousand of dollars to hook up to permanent plumbing, or to close. Finally common sense won out, and the DOH removed the new regulations and said that the stands will now be required to “demonstrate how they will satisfactorily meet the requirements for safe water and food preparation without permanent plumbing,” (CenterSquare)
Employers and residents in downtown Seattle say they have seen a smaller police presence in recent weeks, after the understaffed Seattle Police Department had increased patrols in March following a couple of murders and highly publicized crimes which caused several businesses to close. Many are concerned if the police leave that crime will just return, and they believe they are seeing evidence of this already occurring. In recent weeks, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell has come under criticism for putting these officers on the street at the expense of not investigating other crimes such as sexual assault. The SPD says they have not reduced their presence downtown, and they are currently planning to bring an additional “mobile precinct into the area around 3rd and Pike.” (MyNorthwest and KOMO News)
One of the first repeat offenders under Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison “high utilizers” program will have his 18 misdemeanor charges rolled into three felony charges, which could result in him actually serving jail time instead of being immediately set free as had been the previous Seattle policy. The suspect is well known at the Aurora Avenue Home Depot, where he has repeatedly been caught stealing items, violating court orders to not be in the building, and threatening violent actions against employees. City Attorney Davison announced the “high utilizers” program in March in an effort to get repeat offenders off the streets and into jail. (MyNorthwest and KIRO7 News)
A Longview Daily News columnist responded to Governor Jay Inslee and U.S. Senator Patty Murray’s draft report on needlessly removing the lower Snake River dams by writing, “Here’s hoping common sense prevails and the two leaders steer away from that radical and massively expensive idea.” Longtime reporter Andre Stepankowsky wrote that he has been following the lower Snake River dams issue for years and he provided six reasons why the dams should remain in place. Among the reasons Stepankowsky cited were the cost with tearing down the dams and replacing the energy and transportation they provide, modifications at the dams have already made significant improvement in salmon populations, and even if the dams are removed, there likely will be very little benefit to the Puget Sound Orcas which don’t really feed upon them much. (Longview Daily News)
Bus riders in Walla Walla won’t have to pay fares until 2026, thanks to Washington State taxpayers. The Valley Transit board of directors had already planned to have local taxpayers provide free transit rides through the summer, but a grant from Washington State allowed the agency to extend the program year-around until 2026. This only applies to bus riders and not to those who use the agency’s Vanpool and Job Access services. (Mass Transit magazine)
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, with the support of his fellow Democrat lawmakers, wants to drive gas prices even higher by filing a “creative” lawsuit against oil companies. A very similar lawsuit by a coalition of states was recently dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court, but this doesn’t stop AG Ferguson from filing his own lawsuit (he does have to find tasks for all those taxpayer-funded attorneys in his office who used to spend their time filing partisan lawsuits against the Trump Administration). AG Ferguson’s legal efforts are supported by such Democrat lawmakers as Representative David Hackney (Tukwila) who made news at the start of 2022 by co-sponsoring a bill which would actually reduce the penalty for those who are convicted in drive-by shootings. At least Representative Hackney’s timing is consistent. Just as he wanted to reduce penalties on violent criminals as violent crime rates are rising, he now supports increasing the cost of gas just as fuel prices are skyrocketing. (Click to read full Shift Article)
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