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Monday, October 8, 2007

Metrobloggers Aren’t Close Readers

posted by on October 8 at 11:58 AM

Seattle Metroblogging accuses Slog (and by extension me, the city hall reporter) of being “obsessed” with Tim Burgess, who’s running against David Della for City Council, while ignoring all the other races. Metroblogger Dylan writes:

Total number of Slog posts decrying Tim Burgess doing PR work for Concerned Women for America in 2003, something he has said publicly he regrets and wouldn’t do again if he could: 16

Total number of Slog posts saying anything at all about Venus Velazquez or Bruce Harrell, who I just found out this past weekend were running for City Council: 3

Total number of Slog posts mentioning any other Council candidate: 0

Not that I would ever accuse Metroblogging of being anything less than rigorous in its reporting, but that accusation didn’t sound right to me. So I did a quick survey of Slog.

June 13: “(Money Tree for Venus Velazquez?)…”

June 14: “Latina activist and now-candidate Venus Velazquez…”

June 14: “City Council candidate Joe Szwaja had a meet-and-greet with Capitol Hill folks last night at Liberty on Fifteenth Ave.”

June 20: “Scott Feldman… Al Runte… Bruce Harrell… Venus Velazquez… John Manning…

June 28: “…council hopeful Joe Szwaja.”

June 28: “…[City Council candidate] Lauren Briel’s kickoff party at the Baltic Room on Capitol Hill.”

July 17: “Venus Velazquez, who had been trailing behind opponent Bruce Harrell in fundraising…”

July 18: “The biggest surprise of the night: Jean Godden’s failure to win the 43rd’s endorsement…”

July 25: “If only people like Darlene Flynn and Sherry Carr … Bill Sherman and Keith Scully … were running for city councilónon-committal (and unpersuasive) people like Sally Clark wouldn’t stand a chance.”

August 1: “(Vote for Venus Velazquez, not Al Runte, by the way.)”

August 3: …”city council candidate Venus Valazquez’s campaign against Harrell.”

August 3: “…city council hopeful Bruce Harrell.”

July 31: “Four others—incumbents Della and Sally Clark and open seat contenders Bruce Harrell and Venus Velazquez—were rated ‘very good,’ while incumbent Jean Godden ranked just ‘good.’”

August 1: “Vote For Venus Velazquez. Don’t Vote for Al Runte.”

September 28: “However, given that the Velazquez-Harrell race is pretty much the only game in town this year…”

October 4: “Green Party bomb-thrower Joe Szwaja and bike-and-business friendly incumbent Jean Godden… possible biz shill Venus Velazquez and grouchy lawyer Bruce Harrell.”

October 4: “Jean Godden… Joe Szwaja…”

And that’s just Slog (and just me and Josh). I’ve also covered the City Council races extensively in the paper itself, including in the news section and in my column—where I actually write about the council races almost every week.

Also, Metroblogging? Just so you know, there are only two really competitive races this year: The Burgess-Della race, and the Velazquez-Harrell one. If you really want to see scintillating coverage of the race between Sally Clark and that anti-nudity activist and the one between Tom Rasmussen and, um, no one, you’ll have to write it yourself.

RSS icon Comments


Hey! Stop confusing the issue with facts!

Posted by dw | October 8, 2007 12:13 PM

Oh SNAP youíve been blog slapped! Serve returned son!

I am just glad that I survived my week of Halo rumor mongering without anything worse than general internet bitchery on thousands of forums.

Posted by Jake of | October 8, 2007 12:18 PM

These kinds of posts don\'t make you look tough. They make you look insecure.

Posted by Touchy | October 8, 2007 12:23 PM


Instead, I suggest the respective staff's from each blog/paper have a fight to the DEATH!! (Cue Star Trek figh music!)

Posted by Just Me | October 8, 2007 12:28 PM

Yeah, ECB, don't you know the rules of the blogosphere? People can write about you, but it's rude to respond to them. Let's help keep the Internets free of argument, please!

Posted by Dan Savage | October 8, 2007 12:30 PM

I'm just waiting for Erica/Josh/Dan to have their Mike Gundy moment.

Posted by dw | October 8, 2007 12:37 PM

What the heck is "Metroblogging"? The few non-anonymous contributors all appear to be newcomers to our fair city, so I'm willing to cut them some slack -- but you're right, ecb, if they are going to zing you or anyone that way, they should at least learn to Google, and to count. Non illegitimi carborundum!

Posted by Perfect Voter | October 8, 2007 12:41 PM

For the record, I'm not in favor of fighting to the death. I don't get paid enough for that. Hell, I don't get paid at all. How about a nice game of Scrabble, instead?

Posted by Ryan | October 8, 2007 12:48 PM

They didn't say "total number of mentions." They said "total number of Slog posts." If you want to wade in and react to their criticism on their terms, then react on their terms. Count how many Slog posts were about Burgess, and how many were about other council races. Don't count slog posts that were on some other topic that happened to include the name of a council candidate in passing.

Not that I think the whole debate isn't a waste of time.

Posted by elenchos | October 8, 2007 12:49 PM

What about the number of Slog posts where Erica "proves" someone wrong? It has to be in the hundreds.

Posted by gillsans | October 8, 2007 12:49 PM

Non illegitimi carborundum!

Oh, I agree. Carbonara is not a bastard dish, despite what some nutritional anthropologists and food historians say.

(Oh, and I agree with Henry Beard -- noli nothis permittere te terere is far closer to what you're intending there. I didn't waste seven semesters of college taking Latin for nothing.)

Posted by dw | October 8, 2007 12:56 PM

OKIE DOKEY then. So who is Metroblogging and why would I care? So, ECB and JF are of course insecure, considering how often they monitor the comments and respond to criticism. So what? The point is, it's fun to go after candidates who are friggin' hypocrites, and this year we have a lot of them. Maybe, with some urging (and fear of being beating by the competition over at Metroblog), we'll have some more investigation and not leave all the fun to Sound Politics.

Burgess clearly is a twit. He used his post as Chair of Seattle Ethics & Elections to advance his political agenda, and he used his company to advance the pro-life agenda of Concerned Women for America. He took the money and is now running from his record. Timmy bought himself a Prius so he'd look green, then bought himself tickets to all the Obama events last spring so as to "balance" the thousands of dollars he's given to conservative GOP candidates.

Then there's Gael Tarleton. The woman is campaigning as an "ethics expert" but violates lots of state laws by using government computers (and presumably, on government time) to tell her friends and colleagues that she will use her run for the Port to advance to a political future [].

Not to be outdone, Gael has received 24% of her contributions from SAIC. Vanity Fair pointed out that SAIC is much, much worse than Halliburton. So, if you like Dick Cheney and Halliburton, you'll LOVE Gael Tarleton and SAIC.

Finally, there is that little vixen, Venus Velasquez. Fortunately, Erica has started to notice that Venus has sold herself to developers, while attempting to paint Bruce Harrell as the business candidate. As if. Venus, who sold out the poor communities to Money Tree, is now selling out everyone else to Forward Thrust, while trying to appear as if she supports the little guy. But hey, if you liked the way she handled Casa Latina in the Rainier Valley, you'll love how she'll handle Vulcan in your front yard.

Posted by Beating on Burgess | October 8, 2007 12:56 PM

Come on Stranger and Metroblogging, I got the Star Trek fight music in my ears. Fight to the death!! Charles can be Uhura, Dan can be Christine Chapel and Brennan can be Kirk with Frizzell as Mr Spock!!! One of the interns can be the "Red Shirt dude who dies in every episode"

Posted by Trekkie | October 8, 2007 1:01 PM

I'll tell you this much: correcting someone else's Latin will get you laid, hands down, every time.

Posted by sexy coma | October 8, 2007 1:07 PM

Uh ohs! Another Seattle area blog goes on the Slog's Enemy List!

This is almost as much fun as watching a 12 year old ban have a tantrum and ban his buddies from his friends list playing World Of Warcraft.

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | October 8, 2007 1:27 PM

The Slog is my blog. I shall have no other strange blogs before it.

Posted by J.R. | October 8, 2007 1:30 PM

What elenchos said in #9.

That said, there is a point in Della/Burgess being the only competitive race besides Venus/Harrell, thus getting a good share of coverage. Add in Burgess' history of supporting anti-GLBT interests, and it'd be a shock if the Stranger didn't focus heavily on this race.

Posted by Gomez | October 8, 2007 2:19 PM

Remind me why Erica was given the privilege of being a contributer? Clearly a colossal mistake.

Posted by Amelia | October 8, 2007 2:22 PM


Never heard of them.

(That said I do stray to the Big Blog)

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 8, 2007 2:44 PM

OK, help me out here: why is it Slog commenters always always always attack Erica? e.g. @10 @12 @18. And any other time she posts?

The woman must have skin thicker than a US Senator.

Posted by pathetic noob question | October 8, 2007 3:20 PM

Man, I'm not sure about all of this banter but I always thought that the rules were...

"Two men man leaves."

Build the Thunderdome and have Master Blaster take care of these Metroblog chumps.

Posted by Walker...Walker...Walker...Walker... | October 8, 2007 3:30 PM

Erica, surely today you are wearing that pointed metal bra that Madonna made famous - go girl, you have done so much political I am getting sick of it.

And uncovering the Burgess slime has perhaps saved the city from having a neo con on the council. Many out here will always remember that heroic deed, bigger shit than the Muni League certificate, which you must admit was almost bottom line bizzaro to the max.

Posted by ida mae | October 8, 2007 4:05 PM

I don't attack ECB very often. I quite like her writing and think she has a refreshing viewpoint most of the time.

I think maybe we criticize her sometimes because she is willing to defend her viewpoints.

Now, flip-flopping like the Burgess and RTID/ST2 stuff does drive us mad, but at least she's honest about where she is when she posts, which is better than most (like, for example, can you ever take a Josh Feit blog post at face value?).

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 8, 2007 5:54 PM


Never back down, Erica dear. Times are still " a changin" and still much education required.

The old boys will take every inch they can, often while they tell you how pretty you are.

Posted by Jackie | October 8, 2007 11:25 PM

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