Rantz: Seattle Progressives explode when they heard conservatives on radio, TV

Jun 10, 2019, 5:57 AM | Updated: 10:12 am
Conservative voices KUOW, KIRO 7 TV...

It started last Friday. A handful of vocal progressives heard a conservative voice on their favorite progressive radio outlet and they went nuts. Then, a local TV station featured a story with a conservative council candidate, and these same activists got even angrier.

Since then, these activist bloggers and Twitter trolls activated their sycophants to unload a torrent of angry messages towards the radio and TV stations.

It’s such a frequent occurrence, you can script out exactly how it will unfold: 1. media outlet will feature a conservative voice; 2. one or two fringe Twitter activists will get mad and call out the media outlet; 3. their followers will retweet and send out similar messages, all within a short timespan, making it seem like they’re louder in voice then they are. It’s exactly what they will do to me on Twitter today for writing this.

The mob goes after KUOW

Bill Radke, former KIRO-FM host and current KUOW host of “Week in Review,” rarely features conservative voices on air. Last week, however, he featured Discovery Institute’s Christopher Rufo, a local voice critical of Seattle’s failed homelessness policies. He was ideologically outnumbered on the panel and his positions were challenged. Good. That’s how these dialogues are supposed to unfold — unless you don’t want his positions heard at all.

Though, I sincerely doubt most KUOW listeners, or Radke himself, want an echo chamber on this show, a handful on Twitter were triggered when they heard Rufo’s voice.

Laura Loe, a progressive housing activist, Tweeted: “I’ve been asked to go on KUOW next week to talk about Share The Cities’ work… I’m not sure if I should… like how do I let them know how sad I am about giving a mic to someone not acting in good faith like R*fo.”

She’s previously argued I should be “deplatformed” because I’m a conservative she disagrees with.

Progressive blogger Paul Constant Tweeted, “Rufo is the perfect example of the ongoing Republican war on Democratic cities that I wrote about back in April. Fox News happily gives him a platform — why should @KUOW do the same?”

To self-moderate, Constant goes on to say, “I don’t think conservatives should be erased from the conversation. But Rufo is different.”

Of course, he doesn’t name the conservatives he approves of. Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner sarcastically responded, “Only left-approved conservatives!” None exist; the only one they seem to like is Chris Vance, a former Republican, and they like him because he lets himself be used by progressives to attack Trump.

Musician and activist Spekulation Tweeted: “There is no world in which KUOW doesn’t understand what it’s doing at this point, nor do they misunderstand the consequences of giving people like Rufo a platform. Until they make meaningful and transparent changes that demonstrate a willingness to do better, I am done with KUOW.”

Erica Barnett, a local activist blogger and frequent KUOW guest, inspired her followers to complain in a series of Tweets, including: “When @kuow granted Rufo, an activist without even a glancing familiarity with ethics, a platform, it gave him the kind of legitimacy most alt-right activists can only dream of — while conveniently eliding the fact that he lies with gusto and exposes people to harassment with glee.”

Barnett is upset with how she was portrayed by Rufo in a City Journal story. He claimed “Seattle elites” showed “little sympathy for a woman raped” by a homeless man in Ballard.

In the article, he said “Barnett claimed that the story drew attention because Lindsey [the victim] is an ‘attractive blonde woman’ and dismissed the victim’s ‘many tears’ as theatrics serving a false narrative that the homeless represent a danger to the community.” Barnett’s string of comments can be read here.

Angry at what she believes is a misrepresentation of her comments, Barnett has since been inundated with hateful Tweets directed at her, and she blames Rufo directly. This is apparently reason enough to not feature Rufo on KUOW.

Speaking of misrepresentation, Barnett published a piece in the Atlantic featuring verifiably false statements. The article was corrected multiple times, was pulled from their website as far as I can tell, and resulted in a lawsuit against the Atlantic.

For those not subject to these consistent episodes of perpetual Twitter-rage, there’s one unavoidable observation: It’s literally the same small group of people complaining any time a conservative voice is heard.

They actively try to silence political opposition, which is why what KUOW does in response is so important. Will they give these lunatics the power to silence conservative voices or will they proudly proclaim their a station that won’t give in to angry children on Twitter?

My fear is that KUOW will cave, thinking a few Tweets by the same angry activists is someone reflective of the general audience. Now, if they do that, it’s certainly good for KTTH Radio, which happily features guests our hosts disagree with for meaningful conversations (even if a handful of listeners get upset). But, it would be bad for civic discourse in a city that already has too few conversations outside of its echo chamber.

As it turns out, the radio station wouldn’t be the only media outlet subject to the small Twitter mob. So, too, would KIRO TV and reporter Ranji Sinha.

The mob goes after KIRO-TV

Seattle Council candidate Ari Hoffman has faced an outrageous level of anti-Semitism (he’s Jewish) and Twitter criticism for his political beliefs. His campaign has seen a number of campaign signs stolen because, in Seattle, conservative candidates aren’t supposed to gain traction. But his campaign has — and it’s freaking progressives out.

Hoffman says 29 Jewish families might have been targeted for campaign sign theft and it concerned the tight-knit community. He reported it to the police, as they instructed him, and it’s being investigated.

Sinha talked to Hoffman, a neutral neighbor, and Hoffman critic Spekulation (the musician that targeted KUOW for hosting Rufo on a panel).

Spekulation argued to KIRO-TV that stealing Hoffman’s signs is okay because the candidate supports removing homeless people from the streets, in favor of shelter beds. Spekulation doesn’t like that policy, so campaign sign theft is alright.

The KIRO 7 TV story represented both sides of the issue equally and there is certainly no reason for controversy… unless you’re one of the Twitter activists that get triggered by conservatives. Many of the same small group of people that went after KUOW, unloaded on KIRO 7, not only claiming the piece was unfair, but spreading flat-out lies about what was actually in the piece.

Spekulation said it “looks Like Ari [Hoffman] hit up a friendly reporter at KIRO (which, with Ari’s politics is probably all of them) to clap back against us making fun of him relentlessly for being an idiot.” He then claimed it’s “just KIRO being KIRO. I’m sure the reporter wouldn’t want to make it awkward around the office with Rantz, Monson, and the rest of Seattle’s version of Fox News.”

None of those claims are true.

Sinha had the story assigned to him by his editor. He didn’t pitch the story, nor did he receive the pitch from Hoffman. Also, KIRO-TV is different from KIRO-FM. They’re owned by different companies and don’t operate in the same building (or neighborhood), so we don’t have “awkward” moments in the office (I’ve never met Sinha but I, like I do with most people in the office, wouldn’t make eye contact or talk directly to him; I’m mean). Also, Monson works for KIRO Radio. I work for KTTH Radio, though I appreciate Spek’s obsessive shout-out.

Sinha didn’t name the woman accused of stealing the signs in his piece. Yet on Twitter, Spekulation identifies her by name and claims Sinha “shot video OF HER HOME and included it in the piece” before arguing the reporter should be ashamed.

This false claim was then picked up by Barnett (again, the same progressive blogger upset at KUOW over Rufo). She tweeted that KIRO 7 TV “is straight-up doxxing.” She then said, “Identifying where someone lives, particularly in an environment where people are angry and think of themselves as conservative martyrs in a left-wing city, indisputably puts that person in danger while contributing nothing to the ‘story.’”

Only, again, none of this is true.

The woman wasn’t named by KIRO TV, video of her house wasn’t in the piece, and no one was doxxed. But it didn’t stop the Twitter mob from complaining, calling out KIRO 7 TV, and calling for Sinha to be fired. It’s the same script, just with a different target of their progressive ire.

Why bring attention to this?

I debated whether or not to publish this piece because it’s about the complaints of a few dozen trolls. And it will, inevitably, lead to a day full of Twitter attacks from these same lunatics. I’ll either mute or block them. It’s annoying but, hey, it’s part of the job.

That’s actually why it’s important to say something. The activists know they have little influence, which is why they constantly like and retweet each other. They’ve created a small mob that, they think, will lead to silencing people they don’t agree with by giving the impression that they’re bigger in numbers than they actually are.

The intended impact of the outrage is pretty clear: stop talking about conservatives and highlighting their ideas. They want Radke to say no the next time a conservative is pitched for a panel. They want Sinha to decline an assignment if it involves a conservative voice. They’ll even do it against other progressives if they step out of line or defend civil dialogue with conservatives.

These activists believe conservative ideas are wrong, hateful, evil, and even fascist. Why? Because these progressive voices deem it so and if you question them, well, you’re just part of the problem. It’s the type of hubris that makes them especially unlikable. Do we want to give these people the power to silence anyone? Nope. So, we call them out and make sure the community knows what they’re doing.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Rantz: Seattle Progressives explode when they heard conservatives on radio, TV