How a Seattle Candidate Used Facebook to Push a Misleading Claim About Property Crime


BookFace and the Twits have opened the floodgates of hatred, harrassment, and Ru$$iapubliKKKan propaganda.

Delete your account and help stop the ongoing attack against our country.

I can't wait to see that greedy lil’ Zuckdroid twerp living in a van down by the rivah.
Jesus Christ, Eli. Let’s get something straight...

This statement is inaccurate: "New FBI data shows Seattle has highest property crime rate in the nation."

Totally wrong — I agree. You’ve shown that this was temporarily a post headline on Lindsay’s blog. I’m glad he fixed it; he should have.

This statement is accurate: "Seattle has the highest property crime rate per capita of any major city in the United States."

This is the sentence Lindsay used on his Facebook ads. Just because something is subjective doesn’t mean it’s not accurate — because though not everybody would agree that “major” is synonymous with “top twenty by population,” it’s certainly a reasonable enough measure to define a word that is not specific. Gene Ball has no monopoly on the truth here, and his preference for top-50-by-population is no better than someone else’s preference for top-100-by-household-count or whatever.

Choosing a message that frames the truth in a light most favorable to your arguments — that is the soul of honest political messaging, and lord knows that The Stranger is perfectly happy to do it too. Quit throwing around judgey words like “distorted,” “misleading,” “shadiness,” “controversial,” or “dark” just because you disapprove of the candidate. (Or are you now saying Slog/blog posts shouldn’t be held to using perfectly precise language?)

PS: Calling geographical ads “micro-targeted” is, again, purely a matter of perception. Distribution of The Stranger is “micro-targeted” compared to that of USA Today, but that doesn’t make it nefarious.

@2, but your PS isn't correct - the Stranger is not "micro-targeted" in the way that's the essential problem here. Anyone who comes to the Slog, or picks up a Stranger newspaper sees exactly the same thing as everyone else. "Micro-targeting" as it's being discussed here means that people aren't seeing the same thing on Facebook and other social media platforms. If I lean more liberal than the guy I'm dating, then I'm potentially going to get one message while he gets another - and neither one is visible to a wider audience and available to be fact-checked.

And I heartily agree with 01 - Delete your Facebook account.
@2 Pardon me — Gene Balk, not Gene Ball.
@3 If I put an ad in The Stranger that says “Omaha Sucks. Don’t Vote Like Those Losers,” nobody in Omaha will see it in their hometown newspaper.

I admit I’m quibbling — I think micro-targeting exists on a spectrum — but it’s not realistic to wish that everybody see the exact same political ads on their exact same Facebook feeds.

All youse guys are missing the evidence right in front of your noses. Lindsay’s plan did not identify and target the people committing the crimes people are most concerned about: auto theft, auto breakins, burglary, home invasions, serious theft/larceny, breakins and thefts at commercial businesses and restaurants. Lindsey’s plan was targeting people who are annoying, but the crimes are insignificant, which is why those people cycle in and out of the system. Taking a dump in public, making a ruckus in a store, aggressive panhandling, being smelly, stealing an unlocked bike, shoplifting, stealing a package, car prowls, graffiti, and so on. The property crimes people are most concerned about are felonies and they are NOT prosecuted by the city, they are prosecuted by the county, as Lindsey knew full well. Lindsey, representing the conservative neoliberal wing of the Dem party of Gregoire (his M-i-L) and Locke, was using his progressive label to mislead voters. The City Attorney in Seattle has no formal authority over the SPD; that’s the mayor’s job. Again, as Lindsey knows full well. Lindsey’s crime was he was a liar and a fraud, and Eli’s great reporting helps expose him as such, although it would have been nice to see more reporting exposing the ‘truth’ about Lindsey.
Anybody who is too stupid, or too lazy, or too technologically challenged to block all online advertising -- on Facebook, on the Stranger, and every other site, ruthlessly, mercilessly, and without a shred of remorse -- deserves to be "microtargeted."
@7 I too get astounded that people don't use aggressive adblocking technology these days, and I've probably forgotten what the "actual" ad-filled internet looks like.

But people who don't use adblock also vote and their voting behavior changes life for everyone. While I personally don't care if people fill their eyes and brains with stupid lies and can't tell the difference between fact and falsehoods, I very much care that they'll be manipulated (again) into putting a horrific human being into office. And that's not even getting into the manipulated and targeted "news" which social media sites will put into your feed whether you asked for it or not and can't easily be blocked.
@8: People have debated these issues since the days of the Athenian democracy, 2,500 years ago. People will manipulate, and be manipulated, no matter what we do or don't do. The only antidote to bad information is good information.
...and Holmes won something like 75% of the vote, so I’m not seeing the problem as these ads didn’t do a darn thing.
Facebook makes big bank misusing our personal data and selling it while they in turn are being misused by companies like Cambridge Analytica to influence elections and a host of other nefarious purposes.

It's finally coming back to bite them, one scandal after another and Zuckerberg's hiding from his own employees, while their market value just dropped 40 billion dollars.

I canceled my account after they shut down an account I used exclusively for commenting on politics and hearing about them marketing our personal data a few years back. Shutting down the account was bad enough but selling my info broke the camel's back. Haven't missed it even a little.

It was never about social networking anyway, it was always about digitizing and monetizing our lives and prying their way into our wallets and purses. They want to figure out how to literally make people buy stuff. FB isn't all bad but the bad stuff there is REAL bad.
How is this any different than what direct mail has been doing for the past 30 years?
So Gene Balk and Eli Sanders are splitting hairs over how many cities should be considered when Scott Lindsey made the claim that Seattle has the highest property crime rate in the nation.

Talk about missing the point! If you go with Balks definition, Seattle is not the worst, just the sixth worst out of the top 50. Woohoo! But if you go with the top 20 cities, we're number 1, yay!

And consider the fact that more and more of these crimes are going unreported, because people have given up. Thanks to people like Pete Holmes and the Seattle City council, we're not even prosecuting most property crimes anymore, and if you call the cops, they might, at most, tell you to just file a report online, even if you have clear video evidence of the criminals. The police, who are already short-staffed by the hundreds, have been told to use a hands-off policy with regards to this crap.

I'm glad Scott Lindsey at least had the courage to go out on a limb and challenge the city's complacency. Anyone who's lived here for more than a couple of years knows that crime has significantly increased lately. Why? Because we make excuses for it and tolerate it in the name of being "compassionate."