JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Violating policy, SeaTac Airport censored pro-life, conservative customers

Jun 26, 2022, 12:00 PM

Seatac Traveler...

Bad design makes SeaTac airport a difficult journey for travelers. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The social media manager for SeaTac Airport censored pro-life, political messages it disagreed with by hiding them from its thread. This is a stunning example of abuse by a government agency and a violation of its own social media policy. It’s also a display of narcissism at its worst.

In a Friday afternoon post, the SeaTac Airport Twitter account declared the agency pro-abortion. Though the airport has no role in abortion access, and is supposed to be apolitical, the unidentified social media manager wrote that SeaTac Airport “welcomes anyone traveling to Washington state for access to safe abortion care. We are here for you and you are safe at SEA.”

In a follow up tweet, the account warned it would block or hide comments that are “abusive and hateful.” But that wasn’t true. The account hid comments that merely disagreed with the government agency’s political position.

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Shameful political bigotry

SeaTac Airport leadership, which pretends to promote inclusivity and tolerance, doesn’t seem to accept all opposing viewpoints. The social media manager must have known the virtue signal tweet, that no one asked for, would illicit response from people who prefer their airport accounts not weigh in on political issues it knows nothing about.

Many of the comments that were hidden — a Twitter feature that prevents comments from being seen publicly unless a user proactively un-hides the content — were reasonable and respectful. But the commenters simply disagreed with the position of the airport.

“You have to be kidding me? How embarrassing. You guys are an airport, not a political party,” one user wrote that SeaTac Airport hid.

“Today is a victory for unborn women!” another user wrote in a hidden comment.

How are these statements objectionable, except that they disagree with the position of the airport? The SeaTac Airport spokesperson did not respond to this question. But did say that, in the end, they did not block any users.

A dubious claim

A spokesperson for the Port of Seattle, which operates the airport, says it started blocking and censoring users earlier this month if the comments violated its social media policy. He pointed to abusive comments left around some of the airports LGBT Pride messaging.

“We’ve recently seen a major uptick in abusive comments on the SEA channel after we posted PRIDE month material. We’ve been more actively hiding posts that violate our terms since the beginning of June. Typically, it’s the use of violent or abusive language,” the spokesperson said.

This is not true for Twitter — unless users suddenly deleted abusive comments that were hidden.

In June, the account posted two LGBT-themed tweets. There were no hidden comments. It’s main post celebrating Pride did not have any responses at all. On a second tweet, there were three critical comments, but none were vulgar and none were hidden.

In fact, the only time the airport’s Twitter account hid comments in June was for the one post on abortion access. It did not post the same message to its Facebook account.

The tweet violates Port of Seattle’s own terms

Somewhat ironically, the SeaTac Airport’s post violates the very social media policy the airport uses to silence critics.

The social media policy says it may restrict “comments not topically related to Port programs, services, projects, issues, events and activities, or the particular post being commented upon.” Further, the account may block “political statements”.

Obviously, there’s no connection between the airport and abortion services. And now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, it’s explicitly a political issue determined by state legislatures.

Clearly inappropriate

It seems obvious that their tweet and censorship is inappropriate and childish.

Imagine if the SeaTac Airport account celebrated the overturning of Roe v Wade and cheered on the millions of lives that won’t be lost to abortion. There would be significant outrage. And I guarantee you that the social media manager would lose his or her job.

But their tweet stated the right position, so it will be celebrated as “brave” for staking a claim on an issue that doesn’t impact Washington state in the least.

And if this seems like a small issue, consider this: an apolitical government agency is taking a political stance, purposefully alienating the customers and and employees who don’t support that position. Will SeaTac Airport treat customers and staff equally when they appear to hold such animus towards their political views?

Embarrassing and cringe

The virtue signal was cringey. But the censorship is embarrassing.

SeaTac Airport is sending a clear message that the airport doesn’t welcome visitors that don’t align with its politics. How does that serve the public? It doesn’t. It’s not meant to.

Like other partisans, the decision makers at SeaTac have little interest in serving people with whom they disagree with politically. If you don’t hold their position, you are not important. And they don’t care if you feel alienated. You’re not important to them.

And if you’re an employee who happens to be pro-life? They don’t care if you feel let down by their political message. You’re not wanted at SeaTac Airport.

It used to be that this subpar airport told you how little they care about customers with its lack of working USB ports to plug in your phone or a curiously lacking number of seats to accommodate customers at each gate. Now they tell you they don’t care about you by flaunting their insufferable, narcissistic political proclamations in your face.

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

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Rantz: Violating policy, SeaTac Airport censored pro-life, conservative customers