Give Phil a chance
By Ken Robinson
Big business in Seattle doesn’t like Councilwoman Lisa Herbold. The Seattle Chamber of Commerce has rallied the troops to unseat her, pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into an effort to knock her out of the ring. The Seattle Times has endorsed her main opponent, Phil Tavel.
Talk around the newsroom at Westside Seattle has usually centered on Herbold’s excellent communication skills, her willingness to get her hands dirty and attend many local meetings and not just exercise her role from city hall.
But she may have fouled her own nest when she sided with Kashama Sawant, who is affiliated with the Socialist Alternative party. Sawant had rattled her saber at many shibboleths in Seattle. Her personal style has rankled many people. Her proposal to tax the area’s biggest companies to pay for homelessness got the attention of everyone and cornered her with Herbold.
But the warm fuzzy view changed. Last week, we asked one staff member when the shift came.
“Herbold is very smart, knows city government very well, but put her head in a hornets nest with the head tax. That position grew out of a deep desire to help solve the homeless problem but was not a truly innovative answer to what is at the root of that extremely complex issue. She knows it’s an expensive problem to solve and was seeking funding in the way the left usually does by seeking a new tax. It backfired badly. Her on-the-ground campaign is lacking. All the buzz is about Tavel. He himself is a smart affable and capable guy if a bit disorganized and something of a political neophyte. Kolding is a non factor.”
His public persona is that of an educated guy with no real political experience. His bio says he was a game developer -turned attorney. But whatever he policy views are, once he gets in the mix with the likes of Sawant and others on the council and faces the special interests of this city, tackles homelessness and development issues which take the form of social engineering, his test will begin.
We go along with the endorsement of the Seattle Times on this one, against the backdrop of the Times being one of the downtown fat cats who want Herbold to kick her lunch pail down the road. They know which side their bread is buttered on.
Outside the box
The box, in this case, is your television. What got me thinking about it is watching a TV series titled The Loudest Voice. It is the story of the rise of Roger Ailes and Fox News.
Stepping back from the set, a picture begins to form of the battle between liberals and conservatives to gain and hold onto power at the national level.
And it is being waged on your TV. Since the advent of the television news program almost 75 years ago, we have come to trust and believe what the talking heads are saying. They are, after all, members of a respected profession known as journalists. (The argument that the real journalists write for print and the TV people are just reading what they see in the paper is for another time.)
We became accustomed to believing what we see and hear on TV the same as we accepted the idea that McDonalds is selling only meat, bread, potatoes and milk and it is good for us.
But we are learning that the message, the ‘facts’ delivered from one TV news show might be wildly divergent from another station. And that is comes with a bias.
On one side, we have the news program from the traditional stations—NBC, CBS, ABC. And the Johnny-Come-Lately Fox News.
In all cases, we think we can find agreement that these news outlets (if we want to characterize them with a definition we think of as ‘news’) tell us what want to hear.
The original Big Three stations present a point of view that favors a liberal approach to politics. Fox does the opposite. And it is a perfect scenario for the divide that is available for those who want to be told what to think.
Throw in CNN and MSNBC and Rachel Maddow, pit them against Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity and you have a a match-up for a fight.
And it all has to do with power, money, vested interests and who has the Talking Rock and can figure out how to hang onto it. It has little to do with what you want. You are not in the game. You are in the audience.
"The Seattle Times has endorsed…" is all I need to hear to know who NOT to vote for.