The most-read story on the Seattle Times website this weekend was a column that hailed Seattle's liberal politics and tied that to the metro area's strong unemployment numbers.
Columnist Danny Westneat wrote: The realization that neither the city's high taxes nor its endless bureaucratic red tape seem to have dampened this explosion of capitalism.
But there are a few problems with the Times column - a few facts that were conveniently left out of the piece.
1) The news story that Westneat cited as "proof" of his thesis address the unemployment numbers for the "Seattle Metro area." This latest jobs report did not break out numbers for just the city of Seattle - and yet Seattle politics was the entire point of the column. That is a huge leap. The Seattle Metro Area jobs report includes the Eastside and Everett/Snohomish County - not exactly bastions of liberalism.
2) That same jobs report points out that, outside of the Seattle Metro area, unemployment actually rose to a dismal 8.7 percent in our state in February. If liberal policies are so great for job growth, why haven't we seen boom times statewide - given that we have had Democrats in control of the governor's mansion and legislature for more than a generation?
3) And the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates something called "U-6" - total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers. In that calculation, our liberal state's unemployment rate is 16.9 percent - a shocking 46th out of 50 states! The only states that are worse are the blue states of California, Nevada, Oregon and Rhode Island. In fact, a different Times' columnist wrote about our state's dismal U-6 number - calling it a "jobs crisis" in our state. Maybe the Times' columnists should read each other's work.
I would ask Westneat, how have liberal economic policies worked in Detroit? In California? In Greece? If the answer is "not well," then how can he try to make the case that those policies are the reason for some golden economic age in Seattle?
In other words, the column was a complete fantasy piece. A classic example of the mainstream media fabricating "facts" to fit some preconceived storyline.
The Times is going to have to do a lot better if it wants people to actually pay to get their "news".