For years, The Seattle Times and its editorial board have held a personal vendetta against Chris Hansen and his proposed Seattle arena.
Through the use of one-sided attacks on a plot of land owned by Hansen in an area ripe for infrastructural rejuvenation, to the scribing of non-sequitur op-eds on supposed “alternatives” to the SoDo project meant to distract and deceive, the Times has employed nearly every unethical tactic imaginable in an attempt to block the construction of a venue intended for multipurpose civic use.
Of late, Times editors have hitched their horse-and-buggy to the alleged major thoroughfare south of Safeco Field known as Occidental Avenue. Erecting Hansen’s arena would undoubtedly put an existing stretch of this street beneath the hardwood of the Sonics’ home court. That doesn’t sit well with the Times, who warn that “vacating” this bustling boulevard would “congest and jeopardize what’s left of the region’s waterfront industrial zone.”
Never mind the fact that the stretch of roadway in question is little more than a dumping ground for cigarette butts and used condoms.
Disregard the crumbling concrete and deepening potholes that have turned this eyesore into a glorified alleyway.
Ignore, if you can, the transients and “dancers putting themselves through school” who are often found strolling down the block, enjoying the beautiful vistas of port workers puffing on Marlboros a half-mile away.
This latest smear campaign piggybacks on the recent writings of former Mariners reporter-turned-sports business pontificator Geoff Baker, who dangled factually misleading articles on the viability of Key Arena in front of readers like a Sears studio photographer shaking a Pound Puppy at a crying baby. Baker, for better or worse, has been used as a pawn in the Times’ shakedown of Hansen and the arena project, the newspaper choosing to capitalize on the once-respected voice of their ex-baseball beat writer by relegating (or promoting) him to pseudo-economic watchdog duties.
For their part, the editorial board has backed Baker’s work with puff pieces like the most recent one on Occidental Avenue. They serve as the muscle protecting their star player – the Davis Brothers to Reggie Miller, if you will. Doubling down on Baker’s intrepid-ish reporting has made the board’s work easy, while simultaneously reinforcing their negative stance on the arena as a whole.
All of which makes this entire foray down the rabbit hole of journalistic ethos a complete and utter joke.
The Times has embarrassed itself trying to promote an agenda that is being driven by their CEO, Frank Blethen. That agenda is being propagated by an anonymous force – money, lobbyists, friends, personal enmity, who knows for sure – that has corrupted the paper’s ability to accurately report and investigate in the once-proud fashion they were previously capable of executing. Baker is doing what he can to stay employed. The editorial board is kowtowing to the man who signs their checks. No one, save for the figurehead at the top, can truly believe in the pus being ejaculated by a group of seemingly intelligent individuals who could otherwise be objectively serving their readership.
Let’s face reality for a moment.
No one is going to miss some shithole street, save for the few dozen laborers fortunate enough to snag a parking spot there on a daily basis.
No one is going to turn some shithole arena giving some shithole bank free naming rights into the next great NBA and NHL arena; it will not happen, so let’s all stop pretending.
But people will, on occasion, listen to a bunch of shitholes entrusted to fairly and truthfully convey news.
This needs to stop. Frank Blethen and the Times need to let their feud with Chris Hansen and his arena project die. Whether or not Hansen’s investment in Seattle comes to fruition is now secondary to the downward spiral of a pillar of our community, the newspaper of record, The Seattle Times.
The message all along has been heard loud and clear: the Times does not want a multipurpose venue built in the SoDo district.
Now shut up, go away, and let this city decide for itself what its future will be.