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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hey Media, Perhaps You Might Have Wanted to Ask This Question Before the Election?

Posted by on Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Of all the media fervor over yesterday's stunning reversal in the Sawant-Conlin race, the headline that most caught my attention was this one from Q13Fox: "Who is Seattle City Council candidate Kshama Sawant?"

Um... isn't that a question you might have wanted to ask on behalf of your viewers before the election?

I keep hearing from critics that had more voters truly understood who Sawant is and the Socialist agenda she promotes, Seattle voters might have been more reluctant to hazard a vote on her. I don't think so. Though maybe. But the point is, even as Sawant surged, most of our news media treated Sawant and her Socialist Alternative comrades as little more than a novelty: "Ha, ha! A Socialist! Isn't that cute!" Or something.

Six months ago I could at least understand their skepticism. But once Sawant won an impressive 35 percent of the vote in a three-way primary, that narrative should have changed. She was winning over crowds at candidate forums. She was attracting volunteers and raising money. She was gaining momentum. Even without the benefit of hindsight it was clear that Sawant had a chance of winning. Not a huge chance, but a chance. But few in our local media took Sawant as seriously as, say, chamber-backed 33-percent-winner Albert Shen.

And that's why a week after the election some journalists are left asking questions about Sawant that they should have asked weeks before.


Comments (29) RSS

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If people knew who Richard Conlin was, and what he has actually done, then they wouldn't be so quick to replace him with an unknown. Then again, some of them would (like landlords, who oppose new construction and want to keep the rents as high as possible).

"But few in our local media took Sawant as seriously as, say, chamber-backed 33-percent-winner Albert Shen."

Bullshit! No one wrote anything about Shen. The Seattle Times endorsed him, and that was it. They hardly wrote anything anything about the council races (if anything, they wrote more about Sawant than Shen). Meanwhile, the endorsement of Sawant wasn't enough for The Stranger -- they ran a hatchet job on Conlin, and ignored the ridiculous stands she took on issues (Income tax? Yeah, everyone in Seattle wants an income tax -- but electing you won't make it happen -- can we get unicorns, too?).

Stop pretending that this was a fight between the media (or big money) and her army of grass root supporters. Look at the endorsement pages and you will see very little compared to her opponent. If you compare the endorsements, hers look a lot like Shen's, and Conlin's look a lot like O'Brien's. The exception is The Seattle Times and The Stranger. Basically, you kicked their ass. You are the major player in Seattle politics. Not The Seattle Times, not The Seattle Medium, not the Sierra Club, not the Cascade Bicycle Club, not the Teamsters, not the dozens of other environmental, progressive or labor organizations in the city. No, you are the big kahuna in this town. You can't swing every race. Unfortunately, you can't swing a mayoral race (at least not this time) but you did enough to push this down ticket race over to her (well, that and the NIMBY voters who hate new apartments). Take a bow. Maybe next time you can spend more time researching what these people actually do, and less time figuring out how to get them elected or kicked out of office.
Posted by Ross on November 14, 2013 at 11:11 AM · Report this
@8 Yes. Milwaukee was run by socialists for 50 years. They were disparagingly called "sewer socialists" by party theoreticians who were more interested in ideology than governance. I think that Sawant ran as a sewer socialist and will probably govern as one.

John Gurda on How the Socialists Saved Milwaukee……
Posted by eridani on November 13, 2013 at 9:41 PM · Report this
@25 So, this hoard of low paid staffers is going to "force others to vote her way," as @22 said?
Posted by cracked on November 13, 2013 at 8:06 PM · Report this
mike in oly 26
Wow. I had forgotten how bad Fox's productions values and talent had gotten. That was really sad.
Posted by mike in oly on November 13, 2013 at 6:28 PM · Report this
@4 "What, she's going to unleash the Cheka? "

No, she going to look like an idiot, along with her 2 dozen occupistas camped out in her office as paid pro--uh, staffers. At $15 an hour she can get quite a few for the line item
Posted by hmmmmm on November 13, 2013 at 6:07 PM · Report this
@23 Don't worry, the Seattle Times and network news will tell everyone whether she has softened her abrasive edges, or not.

@22 "And so rather then get anything done, she will legislate "by mass movement" (her words per the Seattle Times) and force others to vote her way." What, she's going to unleash the Cheka?

God, what a delusional ignorant dishonest nut.

Would love if this country had had a strong Marxist party after the war like the French. Maybe we'd all have healthcare right now, instead of a bullshit corporate national healthcare policy originally designed by Republicans when they thought Democratic politicians might actually want universal healthcare.
Posted by cracked on November 13, 2013 at 5:01 PM · Report this

If I had to guess now, Sawant will make socialism look bad, and what's worse, comical.

Then again, people can grow and she may be able to soften her abrasive edges and be an effective politician for Seattle as a whole, not just the cadres.
Posted by David Sucher on November 13, 2013 at 4:42 PM · Report this
BTW@18: Oh look in the Stranger:…

Maybe the Stranger Election Board needs to do a symposium with cocktails served on the history of Marxists, Leninists, Trotskyists, and the failed states stemming from those ideological categories. Don't invite the FSP, ISO, SWP, RCP, SA or the last aging CPer in town, or it will erupt into a shouting match. Maybe a bronze bust of Goldy as the centre piece?

A social democrat style like Liz Warren or Sanders anyone can handle and defend. But that is not what Sawant represents. She is more in line with Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro; not your harmless northern EU socialist. And so rather then get anything done, she will legislate "by mass movement" (her words per the Seattle Times) and force others to vote her way; you know, rather then by reason and democratic discussion and debate. Can't wait for occupy to show up and direct city policy. Can't. Wait.

So since their will be no "revolution" the Stranger effectively advocated for an 8 member city council, with less representation, because Sawant will represent Marxism and it's "theory into practice" while the other 8 council members make all the decisions.
Posted by hmmmmm on November 13, 2013 at 4:10 PM · Report this
@19 from wikipedia: Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist, and has praised Scandinavian-style social democracy; he is the first person elected to Congress to identify as a socialist in six decades.

The day I wrote off NPR (National Propaganda Radio) completely was the day I heard one of their top news announcers reporting a piece involving Bernie Sanders and using a deaming slurish voice each time he said socialist. He wasn't even pretending to be unbiased. And Sanders is white and a man.

Sawant is in for a bumpy ride. The big money knows how to manipulate wayward liberal Democratic voters back into the fold of "conventional wisdom." The educated ones are mollified and calmed by NPR style reporting,* and their fear of conflict is activated by spin that probes their lizard brain. And the uneducated? Fuck 'em. Even if they have unions,they only mobilize strongly for large construction projects, not anti-status quo initiatives.

* I know so many people who consider themselves pretty radical, but who cannot get their brain around the idea that NPR isn't an unbiased left-leaning news source. I've been there. We want so much for there to be a trustworthy grown up in the room.
Posted by cracked on November 13, 2013 at 3:44 PM · Report this
"This is a huge surprise, even for liberal Seattle." Well, maybe not that big a surprise, because the people who voted her in ARE liberal Seattle!

Boy, the void of legitimate media relevant to Seattle has really elevated the status of the Stranger, which is a least honest about its biases.

The Seattle Times is such obvious trash. My partner and I keep recommitting to the paper, despite our agreement that is is a dishonest propaganda organ, only because she admits that she is addicted to having a morning newspaper to read, whatever the content.
Posted by cracked on November 13, 2013 at 3:14 PM · Report this
@ 15 Sanders is an independent not a socialist.
Posted by Seattle14 on November 13, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Report this
A link to her saying something about nationalizing Amazon would have been more useful than a link to

My point is that the latitude for "Marxist-Lenninst" actions are rather severely constrained by the nature of her office.
Posted by Alden on November 13, 2013 at 3:07 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 17
@14: you made the claims r.e. Socialists. I just want to see an example of why you believe that. I want to understand history as you do. Did Vermont move to the right because of Bernie Sanders?

@11: Well sure, but since American is EXCEPTIONAL I didn't think Yurup would be applicable. Don't you think American is EXCEPTIONAL? What are you, some kind of Marxist-Leninist? Or maybe one of their Fellow Travellers?
Posted by Max Solomon on November 13, 2013 at 3:05 PM · Report this
@15: She wants to nationalize So then she's just delusional. There is your first lesson, many more to come.
Posted by hmmmmm on November 13, 2013 at 3:01 PM · Report this
@14 Right. She's going to nationalize the means of production and seize the commanding heights of the economy. From her seat on the Seattle City Council.


People in Vermont have tolerated a socialist pathogen in Congress for over 20 years.
Posted by Alden on November 13, 2013 at 2:59 PM · Report this
@9 Sawant is a member of a party that is Marxist Leninist:……

It's all over her Party's website, don't have to look hard.

"Socialist Alternative is also in political solidarity with the Committee for a Workers' International, a worldwide socialist organization in 37 countries, on every continent."…

She is a self described Troskyist, and all Trotskyists are both Marxist and Leninist by definition. Otherwise they would be something else socialist, perhaps from the non-Marxist tradition of Britain. Historically, only dyed in the wool Stalinists claim that Trotskyists are not Leninists. Sarah70, are you a Stalinist?

@8: No, because it doesn't matter. Are you claiming that no one will be educated about how socialists operate if she takes office? Just about every socialist would disagree with you if you do. It wouldn't matter if 100 were elected yesterday or zero were elected in the past 100 years.

You welcome.
Posted by hmmmmm on November 13, 2013 at 2:47 PM · Report this
Basically, it's a way for some media to have another go at sensationalizing Sawant's being a socialist. As if she had been hiding that or something.

@8, Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont. He's been in Congress for about 22 years.…
Posted by bookworm on November 13, 2013 at 2:41 PM · Report this
guerre 12
Man that website reminds me why I don't visit often. On an article about updated voter tallies, they post the election night results? Also the grammer of

>Conlin’s lead continues to decrease with late counting.

seems suspect to me. It suggests he's still in the lead.
Posted by guerre on November 13, 2013 at 2:40 PM · Report this
YakHerder 11
@8: Your solipsism is showing. Just look at every industrialized democracy and you'll see plenty of illustrations. I recommend starting with Northern Europe.
Posted by YakHerder on November 13, 2013 at 2:38 PM · Report this
guerre 10
I remember when the first tea partier was elected to congress, and at once and in union a definant congress shouted: " This shall not stand, let us join together in moderation!" and we have thus spent the last 3 years with a body poltic shifted to the left of the 111th congress. It was unfortunate that every politician is a clone of Nancy Pelosi, but at least we know now that disenfrancised right/leftists should never vote for someone more inline with their political beliefs, least the overall politics moves in the opposite direction.
Posted by guerre on November 13, 2013 at 2:37 PM · Report this
@7, that's ridiculous (non)reasoning, since Kshama's not a "pathogen", nor is she a Marxist-Leninist, and candidates/parties which move to either the right or the left simply enlarge the whole body politic. I haven't noticed politics in the US move to the left since the Tea Partiers raised their heads, although that would be nice.

Strange that no one's wondering who Ed Murray is, and yet he said nothing about himself in his campaign (except gay marriage) and Kshama was quite clear about who she was.
Posted by sarah70 on November 13, 2013 at 2:32 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 8
"The best education about socialists is to elect one."

Can you point me at other instances in the last century where America has elected a socialist, so I can see an illustration of your assertion?
Posted by Max Solomon on November 13, 2013 at 2:27 PM · Report this
Licata, Conlin, and Steinbruck (RIP) all came out of Green Party circles in the 1990s. It wasn't even two years before each of them were declared sellouts by said Greenies. Some of the people working on Sawant's campaign were volunteers for Conlin and the others in the 1990s. Right Mr. Parrish?

Greenies don't break shit, but Marxist Leninists and their fellow travelers do. The first time she breaks ranks and does something pragmatic--since everyone is claiming how realistic she is, is when the SA and their tag alongs will cry bloody fucking murder and get their pound of flesh from the "betrayer of the revolution". Watching THAT ALONE is worth her winning.

The best education about socialists is to elect one. It does the absolute most to discredit the reality of their D&D fantasies. The body politic will automatically move TO THE RIGHT as an unintended consequence (a bad thing) to remove the pathogen (a good thing). What we end up with in the end is a more conservative and (ironically) reactionary government. It will be like cloning Tim Burgess.
Posted by hmmmmm on November 13, 2013 at 2:18 PM · Report this
The Dopest 6
Nothing bad can possibly come of this. It's so important to have a dissenting voice in government and here is one governing body that finally will have one.

Don't expect to hear the news channels giving her arguments or explanations any air time though, she will definitely be reduced to a sentence affixed to the end of every city council story that goes like this ". . . socialist Kshama Sawant, as usual, disagreed."
Posted by The Dopest on November 13, 2013 at 2:17 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 5
They are just in denial that they already sowed the seeds of revolt and that people don't trust MSM any more.

The revolution is already here and it's on SnapChat
Posted by Will in Seattle on November 13, 2013 at 1:57 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 4
mrs. solomon thinks she'll be "divisive", and the (8/9 white, all-democrat) council is already "too divided".

sometimes mrs. solomon doesn't have a clue.

@2: giffy, can you elaborate on how she "treats people"? is she brusque? abusive? patronizing? pedantic? stalinist? i've never seen her speak.
Posted by Max Solomon on November 13, 2013 at 1:52 PM · Report this
levide 3

It's politics, not politesse.
Posted by levide on November 13, 2013 at 1:51 PM · Report this
I'm kind of the opposite. I voted for and support some of her positions (Minimum Wage yes, rent control no), but the more I learn about her temperament and the way she treats people the more I regret that vote.
Posted by giffy on November 13, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 1
She doesn't fit the corporate media's narrative. So now they'll trash her every move. Millions will be spent undermining her and trying to find somebody to beat her in the next election.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 13, 2013 at 1:42 PM · Report this

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