Rantz: Politicians, media use one business to dismiss Seattle crises

Jun 23, 2023, 10:03 AM | Updated: 10:17 am

Seattle crime...

(Photo from Jason Rantz)

(Photo from Jason Rantz)

Have you heard the news? Ben Bridge Jewelers opened a new flagship store in downtown Seattle. That means Seattle is thriving! It’s by no means a poster child showing how Radical Left ideology holds cities back.

It’s certainly true that Seattle is nearing another record-high homicide year. We’re also on pace to exceed last year’s historic fatal overdoses. Homelessness remains a blight on the city. And a number of businesses closed down, citing safety concerns (and poor economic outlook due to those concerns).

But Ben Bridge Jewelers is open for business, allowing politicians and media to pretend all is well! And with the temporary sweeps and pop-up shops happening thanks to the MLB All-Star Game, we’ll get more of the gaslighting.

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Seattle is thriving, not dying. Look at this one business! Ignore the crime!

The politicians and media are generally disinterested about a business opening in any neighborhood, unless it comes with a lot of jobs. A business moving from a temporary location to a new one a few blocks away is even less interesting. Yet with the opening of a new Ben Bridge Jewelers location, some are taking this as an opportunity to provide exceptionally transparent news coverage to silence Seattle’s critics.

Mayor Bruce Harrell attended the grand opening celebration to take strategically staged photos to show the dynamic downtown shopping center. Though he’s done little that has led to concrete change, he does like to take credit when he can.

Seattle’s main newspaper provided a ridiculously long feature story with the store’s CEO speaking poetically about jewelry. The reporter tells us that CEO “Lisa Bridge said she wanted to bring pieces of Ben Bridge history to the flagship store.”

“Finding the right way and the right tone to be able to tell those rich stories makes a difference,” she told them. “Trying to do more storytelling and bringing that out in a new way is exciting and challenging, but really ultimately important.” This sounds sweet but doesn’t really mean anything.

KING 5 framed the story around how downtown “feels safe,” quoting one person who happened to be walking by when they were filming. They did this because the left-wing local station wants to combat criticism that the policies its reporters and editors favor have not ruined Seattle. Despite its framing, KING 5 doesn’t actually mention any crime statistics or mention crime and safety beyond the quote.

Let the gaslighting begin

It’s obviously a positive development to see any business open in downtown Seattle, even if it’s the result of a move from a smaller space. But it’s foolish to allow a press release about its opening to downplay the serious issues facing the city.

Local politicians and media pretended the city only saw protests — not riots. In our local newspaper, reporter Renata Geraldo described the downtown riots, which featured widespread looting, vandalism, and arson, as a “protest.” Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales endorsed rioting, while Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda defended a man who threatened to murder cops. Too many in local media refuse to acknowledge Antifa terrorists exist and won’t honestly explain why Radical Left policy is directly to blame for much of the preventable crime Seattle is dealing with.

The council just effectively legalized recreational drug use again, and we’re singing the praises of downtown because one business switched buildings. The downtown core of Seattle will be most visibly hit by the worsening drug crisis. This seems like bigger news than a jewelry store, which can only be afforded by the people the activist base hate the most in Seattle.

I tackle these problems, and those found around the country, extensively in my forthcoming book What’s Killing America: Inside the Radical Left’s Tragic Destruction of Our CitiesI wrote it, in part, because local media around the country refuse to connect dots on policies (and the politicians) to blame for what’s destroying our cities.

Yes, a business opening is good. But…

I can’t fault anyone who focuses on the positive, especially when news cycles are usually defined by the negative. And it’s understandable to root for downtown Seattle like you would any neighborhood. We should take pride in where we live.

But we also have to be honest about the problems this city faces, and politicians and media know this. There’s been a head-in-the-sand mentality and disingenuous gaslighting since 2020. Others don’t want to admit that the only reason downtown seems to be getting a little bit better, as far as foot traffic and more energy, is solely due to Amazon bringing workers back to the city. And as the city starts clearing out the homeless, covering graffiti, and helping install new pop-up shops solely for the All-Star Game, we’ll get even more phony reporting about the city’s resurgence. And some don’t want to admit serious issues that aren’t getting better because they don’t want to admit that conservative voices in the media (read: Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio and Fox News) have been right about the city.

Pointing out the problems of Seattle isn’t about being right. It’s about pushing urgency to fix the crises Seattle is experiencing.

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We’re backtracking but don’t have to

While folks who don’t even live in Seattle (let alone downtown) tell you how all is well and that we only have some minor problems that most big cities have, nothing gets fully addressed. That means they don’t go away and have time to fester and worsen.

It’s precisely why the drug crisis is getting worse and not better. We’re funding fentanyl pipes in Seattle over drug treatment, and Seattle Fire responded to 671 overdose calls in May (but Ben Bridge opened!). We’re still losing a record number of cops (44 separations as of June 1), still outpacing hires. It’s why those of us who actually live in the area take notice of incidents like a vicious sucker punch that nearly killed a man, or the aggressive homeless people screaming at the top of their lungs at 6:30 a.m. on a Tuesday.

But we’ve seen the Seattle promise when we focus on what’s holding the city back. When Mayor Harrell focused on Pike/Pine after a series of murders and endless displays of misery from homeless addicts, we saw positive results. But no one seems to be noticing that the problems are slowly returning because the plan was always temporary. We’re too busy pretending any positive development means the problems are gone.

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Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). He is the author of the book What’s Killing America: Inside the Radical Left’s Tragic Destruction of Our CitiesSubscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: Politicians, media use one business to dismiss Seattle crises