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Sally Bagshaw
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‘Atlantic’ issues correction after accusing Ron and Don of verbally attacking council member

Sally Bagshaw was one of five on the Seattle City Council to vote against vacating a section of a SoDo street for a new sports arena. (AP)
LISTEN: Ron and Don call out disparaging 'Atlantic' article

While the damage may already be done, The Atlantic has issued a correction saying it mistakenly accused KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don of encouraging listeners to leave derogatory messages for Seattle City Council member Sally Bagshaw after the arena vote.

“To be clear, at no time did either host encourage listeners to use the sort of abusive language that Bagshaw reports receiving. We regret the errors,” the Atlantic’s correction reads, in part.

The article in The Atlantic quotes council member Bagshaw relating the misogynistic calls she received in the wake of the Seattle arena vote. In the same paragraph, the article also states that the Ron and Don Show urged listeners to call Bagshaw after a vote she made — a vote on a council commission regarding the street vacation for the arena. Bagshaw voted against it then, on April 20, and again in the full council meeting on May 2.

… two local FM radio shock jocks, known on air as ‘Ron and Don,’ started giving out Bagshaw’s number on the air and relentlessly urging listeners to call her office. They complied, leaving messages Bagshaw summarizes as: ‘You c***. You w****. You b****. You don’t know anything. You’re just having an emotional response. That’s why we need to have guys making these decisions.’

Bagshaw’s office stopped taking calls during “drive time,” according to the Atlantic article — the time when Ron and Don are on the air.

Both Ron and Don say that’s not what happened. While the show has given out the office phone numbers of both Mayor Ed Murray and Council member Bagshaw in the past, it was never over the arena vote.

“We have given out two numbers this year. We gave out the mayor’s office number about the homeless and RV issue,” Don said. “And Sally is my representative. I called Sally and Sally wouldn’t return my call … when we gave out (her) number, we gave out the city council number and it had nothing to do with basketball. It had everything to do with homelessness.”

“And the W word, and the C word and the other words — connecting that to us? That’s a real issue for me,” Don said.

Ron and Don pointed out that not only did they not urge listeners to call Bagshaw over the arena vote, the show sided with the female council members on that issue, and defended their decision.

On May 3, the day after the full council vote, Don said:

The ladies on the council lined up and said, ‘Wait a minute, we don’t even have a team here yet.’ And I got to tell you right now, I agree with the ladies. I absolutely agree with the ladies. There are a lot of cities around this country that have built arenas and pro sports teams never came.

The Ron and Don Show reached out to Bagshaw and the The Atlantic for a comment. The Atlantic issued the correction since Monday’s edition of the Ron and Don Show.

This article originally stated that the hosts of the “Ron and Don” show gave listeners Bagshaw’s number in response to her preliminary vote on the arena in April. In fact, the hosts urged listeners to call her during an unrelated debate over homelessness in February. After the May 2 vote, Don O’Neill actually stated his opposition to the deal, saying, “I agree with the ladies.” To be clear, at no time did either host encourage listeners to use the sort of abusive language that Bagshaw reports receiving. We regret the errors.

The show also reached out on Monday to the article’s author Erica C. Barnett via Twitter. She tweeted back:

Editor’s note: Due to a technical glitch, we had to rebuild the story and consequently lost a handful of comments. We apologize for the inconvenience.


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