by A. Birch Steen Stranger Ombudsman & OSHA Board of Governors Member

THE "BEST OF OUR ADVERTISERS" ISSUE Once again The Stranger has decided to lob stones at their competitors while residing squarely within a glass house. For example: this year's "Best Of" issue, which endeavors to mock the Seattle Weekly's annual "Best of Seattle Issue," taking it to task for being overly friendly to advertisers. The Stranger's choice of mocking vehicle? This week's issue, a supposedly humorous and witty play on the Weekly's faux pas. But my question is this: Is not The Stranger also a newspaper driven by its advertisers? Does not The Stranger also rigorously promote its advertisers in attempts to curry their favor and continued business? Editor Dan Savage and his underlings will most surely attempt to use some sort of "journalistic ethics" defense for their attack on the Weekly; such a defense is little more than folly, since every single issue of The Stranger contains scores of "advertorials," from articles on musical acts playing rock 'n' roll clubs to excessively positive restaurant reviews--reviews of advertising restaurants, or restaurants The Stranger hopes will one day advertise. The Seattle Weekly's "Best of Seattle" issue may, in fact, be a glaring example of advertorial content trumping editorial content, but The Stranger lampooning them for it smacks of outright hypocrisy. Neither The Stranger nor the Seattle Weekly are innocent when it comes to fumbling journalistic ethics, but at least the Weekly chooses not to lash out like a spoiled child when their shoddy ethics are amplified. Alas, The Stranger has no such tact.