Tiffany Smiley criticizes Seattle Times over cease and desist letter

Oct 3, 2022, 5:01 PM | Updated: Oct 20, 2022, 3:10 pm
smiley woke...
Tiffany Smiley's campaign received a cease and desist from The Seattle Times for using their logo in this campaign ad. (Courtesy of the Tiffany Smiley campaign)
(Courtesy of the Tiffany Smiley campaign)

After The Seattle Times, Seattle Seahawks, and Starbucks issued cease and desist orders to Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tiffany Smiley for the use of their logos in a recent campaign ad, Smiley is now criticizing the Times for “illegally using its corporate resources to support the re-election campaign of Senator Patty Murray.”

The Smiley campaign alleges that The Seattle Times allowed Patty Murray to use their corporate logo in her previous campaign ads. Yet The Seattle Times issued a cease and desist for Smiley, which she views as the paper supporting the incumbent.

Tiffany Smiley claims Sen. Patty Murray is “desperate” as race barrels toward November

“Woke corporations thought they could help Patty Murray by bullying Tiffany with senseless legal threats,” the campaign wrote in a press release. “Their efforts have both failed and backfired. This campaign will continue to hold to account the failures of a three-decade incumbent and offer Washingtonians a path from crisis to hope.”

On the Gee and Ursula Show, hosts Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin talked about why they think this legal threat is a continuation of Smiley’s campaign strategy.

“The campaign’s response is aimed at a very specific audience. And it’s her base, so it is aimed at Republican voters, maybe not moderate Republicans, but maybe more what are referred to as Trump back[ed] Republicans or MAGA Republicans,” Ursula said. “Some of this appears to be working though, because Tiffany Smiley, if you look at some of the polling, she is doing much better than many other opponents that Patty Murray has faced over her five [previous] terms.”

The Seattle Times reports that the campaign’s use of their logo required the company’s consent, which Smiley did not have, and that they have sent “quite a few of these letters in the protection of [their] own copyright.” The Smiley campaign has filed a Federal Elections Committee complaint about what they see as unfair discrimination against the campaign.

Gee agrees that she might have a point that The Seattle Times might have treated the campaign unfairly but says that her messaging around ‘wokeness’ is a bad political move and is dangerous to lean into the MAGA, pro-Trump rhetoric it can inspire.

“I think that she has a legitimate [reason] for her to say, ‘hey, we don’t think is fair.’ I don’t have a problem with that. But what I do have a problem with is when your campaign writes about ‘woke corporations,’ I think saying ‘woke’ is basically an empty meaning, and I know your talking points when you’re talking about ‘woke.’ The majority of people, especially in the state of Washington, are tired of that type of rhetoric. They actually want to get back to normal politics.”

For Ursula, this was the tightrope that the Smiley campaign is trying to walk – how they are trying to simultaneously appeal to the MAGA wing and the more traditional, centrist wing of the Republican party.

“There are Republicans who support Trump, and then there were Republicans who are more moderate. But I agree, when you say MAGA Republican, it has a certain connotation,” Ursula said. “It’s one way to just differentiate between those who still believe in Donald Trump and think the election [was] stolen, and those who are like, ‘I’m done with Donald Trump, I’m a Republican, I want conservative values.’ So you’re trying to get to the base that still supports Donald Trump, and then you are getting moderate Republicans.”

Listen to the full discussion:

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Tiffany Smiley criticizes Seattle Times over cease and desist letter