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.