Dori: Local TV reporter describes personal attack by street vigilantes for crime coverage

Mar 2, 2022, 2:39 PM | Updated: Mar 3, 2022, 6:53 am

Seattle, crime...

Police at the scene after a recent shooting in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle. (Photo courtesy of SPD Blotter)

(Photo courtesy of SPD Blotter)

After two years of death threats and other personal attacks from far-left militant activists angry over his news coverage of the Seattle-area crime scene, KOMO-TV reporter Jonathan Choe is opening up about what some local journalists are facing – on and off the job.

Choe is well known to his viewers and Dori Monson Show listeners for bold stories connecting drug use, crime, and homelessness. He spoke to Dori this week about why, until now, he has kept his frustration under wraps, despite ongoing personal attacks from Antifa and other anonymous vigilante groups.

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“In journalism, the last thing we want is to become part of the story. That’s what we’ve been taught,” said Choe, a 20-year veteran of TV news. “But I’m going to tell you and your listeners: I’m done.”

“The death threats, the doxing – people trying to put my personal information out there – but what am I going to do at this point?” Choe continued. “What’s really a struggle for me is my reality. I’m starting to question it.”

Choe told Dori about a video he recently posted to Twitter. It shows a man selling stolen bottles of alcohol on the street – just hours after and steps from where one man was killed Sunday, and where another was shot in the face last week.

“Stop demonizing this person. He’s in crisis,” someone posted in reply to Choe’s tweet.

This is “an alternate reality that is starting to emerge right now and I don’t know what to make of it anymore,” Choe told Dori’s listeners.

Choe and others – including [un]Divided podcaster Brandi Kruse – believe a “small fringe” of activists, recognized on the street by their all-black clothing and camera-blocking umbrellas and shields, are behind this and other news-telling efforts. Many of these activists can be found blocking city crews trying to clean up illegal encampments and keep news reporters from covering the story.

While crime reporters are getting no support from official journalism organizations or elected officials, Dori urged Choe to stay dogged on his coverage.

“If you can’t tell these stories, this aberrant behavior is going to run even more roughshod,” Dori told Choe.

Despite the death threats and doxing, Choe reassured listeners that he is not giving up. In fact, Choe is urging his colleagues to double-down on their coverage.

“I’m asking all credible journalists who want to tell the truth, we can’t stand down,” Choe said. “We can’t be afraid of this. We’re in this business to shine a light. We can’t be bullied. We have to keep telling the story.”

Listen to Dori’s interview with KOMO-TV reporter Jonathan Choe:

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Local TV reporter describes personal attack by street vigilantes for crime coverage