In the current issue of The Seattle Weekly, Ellis E. Conklin has a piece on the Seattle Times-Mike McGinn perpetual dispute. It begins thus:
On February 24, 2011, Seattle Times reporter Lynn Thompson penned a comically snarkish account of how (“Seattle’s most famous bike rider”) Mayor Mike McGinn’s dark-green GT Slipstream was stolen out of the City Hall parking garage. The bike, which McGinn accidentally left unlocked, actually belonged to his wife, prompting the mayor to tweet: “Peg is pissed.”
The story, complete with the requisite “Mayor McSchwinn,” included anonymous e-mails from readers. One sarcastic missive, in particular, drove McGinn through the roof. After suggesting the theft was a publicity stunt by a pol seeking sympathy, the commenter meanly observed, “He has the body of Homer Simpson and apparently doesn’t own a bike himself.”
The city’s since slimmed down chief executive is reportedly still seething about the Homer Simpson crack.
Says McGinn, “We let them know that was inappropriate.”
Not long after the article appeared, an angry Peg Lynch called The Times and canceled the McGinn family’s subscription.
When the Stranger’s Eli Sanders brought the news of Mrs. McGinn’s pique to light more than a year later, Times executive editor David Boardman tweeted, “What kind of mayor cancels his subscription to his city’s daily newspaper? Our mayor. Thin skin, @mayormcginn?
Sooooooooooooooooo: The Seattle Times realizes that Mike McGinn has been the victim of a crime. Rather than just report that, they go for making up nonsense with about as much evidence as a birther. In the process they call him fat using a cultural reference that’s two decades past its prime.
In response to that, McGinn’s wife cancels their home copy of the paper. Their ostensibly straight newsman sees that and tweets that the problem is Mike McGinn. Holy shit. I’m being serious when I wonder: (a) How the fuck did that get into the paper in the first place? (b) How in God’s name wasn’t Lynn Thompson publicly disciplined? (c) How is it that David Bordman thought that was a thing to rally behind? If The Seattle Times were a real newspaper, they would hire him back just so they could fire him for this, that’s how pathetic it makes their paper look to rally around making fat jokes about an elected official they don’t like.
To be clear, I want a Seattle Times to be tough on elected officials. But if they can’t tell the difference between journalism and bullying, they should pack it up because they don’t do the city a service.