It may shock you to learn that over the years, The Stranger has not always pleased every reader. Here are some, though certainly not all, of the enemies we've made.
Seattle Weekly, 1994: As the upstart in town, The Stranger often picked on the more staid, more established Seattle Weekly. Staffers often traded places; at one point in time, there were as many as four moles at the Weekly who would leak Weekly gossip to The Stranger (one eventually got a job here). "Can't Get to Sleep in Seattle?" a Stranger column asked readers in 1994. "Let's See What's Happening in the Seattle Weekly!" In 1995, when Seattle's first alt-weekly went from 75 cents (a crime) to free—a move clearly necessitated by competition from The Stranger—we welcomed the Weekly to its new place next to us on the newsstand with a cover that read "I'm With Stupid ." For a long time, The Stranger's general attitude toward the Weekly was relentlessly harsh and hypercritical, with a tone of absurdist glee that made them hate us all the more.
Ellen Craswell, 1996: When Craswell, a hard-right, born-again, antigay, antiabortion Republican state senator, ran for governor, Dan Savage had a plan: Encourage people to support the most conservative candidates in the primary—candidates like Craswell—in hopes that the more radical the general election ticket ended up being, the less likely they would be to win. So Dan trolled hard, becoming a Republican precinct committee officer for his district and going to the King County Republican Convention. Jim Anderson, meanwhile, wrote the cover story "Koo Koo for Christ: Undercover in the Craswell Campaign." When Craswell lost in November, Dan was there, extraordinarily high and listening to the candidate, in denial, still claiming a "miracle" could deliver her a win. "I intend," Dan wrote, "to continue supporting far-right Christ-for-brains candidates, candidates who will go on to lose general election after general election, until the Republican Party learns its lesson and shows the Christian Right the door." Cool prank, and it worked, too—when was the last time the GOP nominated a total lunatic for an important position?
Mark Sidran, 1998—2001: In his time as city attorney, Sidran pushed laws allowing cops to tow cars driven by people with minor violations, banning posters on utility poles, criminalizing sitting on public sidewalks, and giving cops the ability to ban people from parks. So when The Stranger teased a story about him and his dubious record on the cover in 1998, the teaser text read: "Experts Agree: Sidran Is Satan." "Suing Sidran" was the huge headline when the city attorney faced two lawsuits, "Sidran Watch" was the label on a news story about a public hearing where Sidran was pummeled over drug-testing rules, and when Sidran's wife tried to stop a gay bar from moving in near a property she owned, the cover read, in all caps, "Fag Nag: Sidran's Wife Harasses Gay Bar." A couple years later, when Sidran ran for mayor, we reminded people about his record, but graciously admitted he was "hardly a Nazi."
Both Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer scabs and the union representing striking Times and P-I employees, 2000: "In short, scabs are un-American ingrates," The Stranger's news staff wrote in the first of multiple installments of Scab Watch, a series of stories naming Seattle Times and Seattle P-I staffers who worked as replacement workers or crossed the picket line while the employees were on strike. When news came that columnist Nicole Brodeur crossed the picket line and The Stranger asked her why, she took issue with the "personal questions." (Though later, The Stranger ran a contest awarding the winner lunch with her and Dan Savage—you had to spot the total number of Nicole Brodeur photos in the paper—and she obliged.) As The Stranger was going to print with the first installment of Scab Watch, guild spokesperson Art Thiel begged the paper not to print the names because the union didn't want to go negative. "Sheesh," wrote Dan Savage and Stranger news editor Josh Feit, "is this one scaredy-cat union or what?" On top of that, the union's newspaper barely mentioned the strike, even as the editorial pages of the Times and P-I slammed them. "As long as the union, the Union Record, and its wussy spokesman refuse to act like they're on strike (and if you're on strike, Art, you've already gone negative)," wrote Savage and Feit, "the guild doesn't have a prayer." The seven-week strike ended in January 2001 with modest pay increases.
Margaret Pageler, 2002: Not only did the city council member try to kill The Stranger's beloved monorail in 2000, but two years later the paper broke the news that she had been trying to land a job with the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce while still on the council. "Resign, Margaret," read a headline after that news broke. Josh Feit filed his own ethics complaint against Pageler for cozying up to the chamber while also considering matters involving the chamber, but the city's Ethics and Elections Commission dismissed it.
Kollin Min, 2003: The word "weasel" appears 11 times in a 2003 post-election story about failed Judy Nicastro opponent Kollin Min. (Headline: "Seattle's Lamest Loser," November 6, 2003.) Min had not only run against a Stranger-backed candidate, but fucked up on one of the most important issues of the day. Although Min claimed he was "not anti-pot," he planned to vote against an initiative to make cannabis possession the Seattle Police Department's lowest priority.
Nearly everyone who ran or might have run for mayor, 2009: City council members Peter Steinbrueck, Tim Burgess, Nick Licata, and Richard Conlin either weren't running or couldn't make up their minds about whether they were running to challenge Mayor Greg Nickels (whom The Stranger endorsed in 2001 and 2005, by the way). "That no one has the balls to challenge Nickels this time out tells us nothing about Greg and everything about the contents of Peter, Tim, Nick, and Richard's underpants," Dan Savage wrote on Slog. "No balls." So Savage threatened to run himself and then immediately resign, passive aggressively forcing then council president Richard Conlin to become mayor. Savage didn't get the paperwork together in time to run.
Rob McKenna, 2012: "Rob McKenna Thinks You're Stupid," read the headline on a story about the pasty Republican candidate for governor (October 17, 2012). "He Thinks All Voters in King County Are Stupid. How Stupid? Stupid Enough to Vote for Him. But You're Not That Stupid Are You?" McKenna's line about being a "different kind of Republican"—while opposing gay marriage, pot legalization, unions, and insurance coverage for abortion—wasn't working on us. McKenna lost by 3 percentage points and doesn't take our calls anymore.
Seattle Police Officers Guild, 2015—2016: Last year, Ron Smith, former president of the SPOG, texted Stranger reporter Ansel Herz, "Yep! The [Obama] Administrations message has fueled the war on cops!! Quote me!" A few days after those texts showed up on Slog, Smith texted Ansel again: "Lose my #." This year, Smith continued a long-running pattern of not knowing when to just shut the fuck up already and posted to SPOG's Facebook page, "The hatred of law enforcement by a minority movement is disgusting. Heads in swivels brothers and sisters #Weshallovercome." After Herz reported on that, Smith resigned. A couple weeks later, The Stranger published leaked details about ongoing negotiations between SPOG and the city, enraging both sides and leading Mayor Ed "Definitely Has His Priorities in Line" Murray to hire a private investigator to hunt for the source of the leak.