The Seattle Times is increasingly brazen about using its purportedly neutral news stories to serve the paper's editorial agenda. The top headline today, for example, is a celebratory piece about Seattle snagging a basketball team, in which zero credit is handed to the city official who made the deal possible, Mayor Mike McGinn. In fact, the story hands all the credit to Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess:
"This is a great day for Seattle and our region," City Councilmember Tim Burgess, who spearheaded efforts that produced enhancements in the original deal with Hansen, said Monday while standing in front of KeyArena.
Burgess, who is running for mayor to unseat Mike McGinn, said the council has been working since late last year with the mayor's office and the Seattle Center to make sure KeyArena is ready if a team is awarded to Seattle.
That's right, the first mention of McGinn is... about Burgess trying to push him out of office. Hundreds of words later, there's a statement from McGinn's office, but the article never acknowledges, anywhere, that he had anything to do with the arena deal (or that he granted an interview). This is consistent with a paper that has long smeared McGinn and fawned over Burgess.
On the other hand, McGinn is needlessly inserted into a news article just below that piece on this morning's front page, a fear-mongering feature about—you can't make this up—how McGinn might be creating safety problems for airplanes. "Mayor Mike McGinn wants to add a new challenge" for sea planes that must encounter 24-story towers under McGinn's rezoning plan for South Lake Union, the second sentence begins. (In truth, this rezoning began under former mayor Greg Nickels.) In other words, the Seattle Times's front page associates the mayor with big, bad scary things—that might just result in airplanes crashing into skyscrapers—which he has little to do with. But they ignore his accomplishments, giving the credit to someone else. It's like the Ministry of Truth.
For more examples, there's the time the "news" section of the paper blamed McGinn for a decline in Chinatown's restaurant revenues, due to higher parking rates, even though a Sightline report actually proved the revenues were increasing. And when McGinn does something right? Well, there's the editorial that praises a school attendance campaign that conveniently neglects to mention that McGinn created it. The examples could go on.
I've had plenty beefs with McGinn and given him praise where it's due. But McGinn isn't the point here. It's that the Seattle Times claims to separate its news from its editorial opinions. They even recently wrote that the paper was "impartial," even though the business side spent big money campaigning in a partisan race. But don't be fooled. The Seattle Times is a conservative opinion outlet from cover to cover. Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with using the front page as an editorial venue—if you admit it—but they need to stop pretending there's a separation of opinion and news, when the Seattle Times knocked down that wall a long time ago.
UPDATE at 5:40 p.m.: Lo and behold, the Seattle Times arena article has been updated—what great timing—to lead with a quote from Mayor Mike McGinn (but it still doesn't acknowledge that he had anything to do with it). After the jump, I've posted a screen grab of the story's lede as it appeared before the update.