Oh my god.

Last week, the Seattle Times Editorial Board took a break from yelling at clouds to chastise School Board President Brandon Hersey. His offense? Using a curse word in a hashtag in an Instagram/Facebook story celebrating the reelection of his colleague, Vice President Liza Rankin, and the election of his future colleague, Evan Briggs, both of whom beat candidates endorsed by—you guessed it—the Seattle Times Editorial Board.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve dedicated the better part of my working life to holding leaders to account—especially titans of industry, such as Seattle Times publisher and editorial board member Frank Blethen, who shot his neighbor’s dog with a pellet gun in 1996—but the board's critique of Hersey's admittedly kinda cringey Instagram story is thin and hypocritical—even for them. 

The scene: In a now expired social media story, Hersey posted a photo of him standing next to Rankin and Briggs along with some text that read, “Couldn't be more proud of these two! #fuckaroundandfindout.” (Note to Boomers: The hashtag borrows a common phrase millennials use to brag and/or make the point that actions have consequences.) 

For the Seattle Times Editorial Board, that hashtag read "as a cavalier shrug to concerns expressed by those challengers that some constituents view the school board as out of touch and unresponsive." 

Does it? Or does it read as a "cavalier shrug" to the local paper of record's editorial board, which didn’t even bother to form coherent arguments in its support of the people who ran against Rankin and Briggs? Or does it read as a "cavalier shrug" to any of the other power players and members of the chattering class who campaigned against Rankin and Briggs? It certainly reads like that to me, but perhaps I'm just too biased as a member of the Stranger Election Control Board, which endorsed Rankin and Briggs.

Or maybe I'm just not blinded by hypocrisy? In their piece, the Seattle Times Editorial Board derided Hersey's temporary election night social media post as a message that conveyed a “cliquey, clubby feeling that does not suggest openness to those who voice alternative views," but their op-ed couldn't have been cliquier or clubbier.

Board member Claudia Rowe, who wrote the piece for the Seattle Times, told The Stranger that she and other board members learned of the story from a blog post written by Melissa Westbrook, who first slammed Hersey for using the hashtag in a piece called, "Just Wondering Where Decorum Has Gone." The Board apparently repackaged her complaint, called Hersey for comment, and published their dumb screed a couple days later. They could have AT LEAST gone through the trouble of actually finding one or two people who actually live in Seattle and actually follow Hersey on Instagram or Facebook, saw the 24-hour story, and felt offended by his hashtag just to cover their asses, but that would have required actual work :/ 

Unfortunately, their hypocrisy does not end there. Before lamenting the fact that the school district could not “discipline” Hersey for “using that kind of language in a public forum,” before calling his celebratory post “juvenile,” before arguing that his use of the hashtag suggests he “lacks seriousness” in the face of a big budget crisis, the Board questioned the “judgment of a school board president openly picking favorites among candidates.”

EXCUSE ME? Bruce Harrell, the Mayor of Seattle, who has a big ol’ serious budget of his own, “openly” picked favorites among candidates for city council, reportedly talking shit behind their backs to cops. Seattle City Council President Debora Juarez also picked favorites for city council, as did citywide City Council Member Sara Nelson. And yet the Seattle Times Editorial Board didn’t scold them for their questionable "judgement." Why? Because they simply like those politicians. Because they are simply a group of bad, myopic writers who equate certain genteel sensibilities with civility, and then equate civility with sound governance.

Say anything you'd like without cursing or being a little mean, and you’ll get one by the big brains on the Seattle Times Ed Board. That’s why they picked city council candidates who promised to hire cops that don’t exist, get drug users into treatment programs that functionally do not exist, and sweep homeless people into shelter beds that don't exist. But they weren't content to get the council they wanted and then call it even. They had to dunk on the school board they didn't want, too. Nice work if you can get it.