Todd Herman, whose bio describes him as a “Start-Up Founder & CEO” and “Sometimes Fill-in for Rush Limbaugh” on his popular radio show, is taking issue with the rosy coverage the denizens of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) are getting from local media. In a tweet late Saturday night, Herman asked a pointed question of Washington state’s largest newspaper, The Seattle Times:
What is this, @SeattleTimes, the 15th video I have sent you of thefts, violence, sexual assault, blackmail. But, you keep talking about sidewalk chalk and gardening https://t.co/bJj8oY1IIO
— Todd Ξ Herman (@toddeherman) June 14, 2020
And for good reason. In conservative media, it’s been hard to escape coverage of violence and general unrest within the CHAZ, which many of my colleagues have provided over the past week. But, if you were only watching mainstream media coverage, with people like CNN’s Anderson Cooper telling viewers how “peaceful” things are, you might be clueless about what’s really going on there.
Things are even worse, if you’re getting your “facts” from the local paper, though, as Herman noted in his tweet. In the Seattle Times’ most recent piece on CHAZ, which came out late Saturday, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the place they describe for a community center on a typical, summer weekend. The headline kinda gives a tip-off where they’re heading: “Dubbed a ‘lawless state’ by some, the CHAZ or CHOP, Seattle’s newest neighborhood, tries to create its own narrative.”
Of course, they also describe it as “this six-block experiment in alternative community.”
The opening paragraphs describe an elysian wonderland, where “[d]ozens of people with rakes and wheelbarrows spread top soil and chicken manure in newly planted gardens. Others gathered in small groups to discuss plans for no-till farming and fundraising for medical supplies.”
But hidden in the headline is an issue: the denizens of the area can’t even decide amongst themselves what to call it:
Members have also been acutely conscious of how their still-evolving objectives are playing to the outside world.
For some members that awareness has meant trying to come up with a less provocative name for the occupation. “I don’t like the word ‘autonomous,’” says one. “We’re not trying to secede from the city. We just want policing that’s a less hard-core.” Another wanted to call it “auto zone.”
I’m pretty sure a certain auto parts company would have a problem with that last one.
Then, in another piece published Saturday, the Times interviewed Rick Williams, an anti-police activist and the brother of a local man whom Seattle police killed 10 years ago. He told the paper that he lived in the CHAZ for a couple days, but what he experienced left him with mixed emotions about its purpose:
People recognize him often, which he wasn’t expecting, because the demonstration “is about what happened to George Floyd,” not his brother. He was stopped multiple times on a walk from one side of the park to the other, as others recounted meeting him at various anti-police brutality protests over the years.
During a round of speeches, a man with a megaphone asked him to come up and speak to the crowd. Williams had to leave, “because it hurt my heart” to hear everyone chant his name and his brother’s name.
As our sister site Townhall reported Friday, at least President Donald Trump is calling out both Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) and WA’s Governor, Jay Inslee (D), for failing to handle the lawless action (or in Inslee’s case, even acknowledge that there is a problem).