It’s a routine pastime among local pundits to trash opinion in The Seattle Times for being banal, internally inconsistent, factually inaccurate, disingenuous, morally repugnant, or all five at once. That’s easy, and at this point no longer news. It’s still news, however, when some of these afflictions reach the newsroom. For the latest example, see the credulous and misleading twin pieces on the 45th District race (Dhingra, Englund) ($) by Joe O’Sullivan in Sunday’s paper.
The second paragraph of the Englund profile tries hard to establish her moderate bona fides, to reassure moderate 45th District voters that she’s not one of those Republicans:
Englund, a 33-year-old who believes in human-caused climate change and supports closing some business-tax exemptions and enacting certain gun-safety regulations, didn’t hesitate.
“I am not,” she said. “ I am anything but the status-quo Republican, if you look at me.”
She believes in climate change! So voters concerned about the environment but uneasy about taxes can vote with a clear conscience. Let’s hear some more about her plans to do something about the climate!
She criticizes the increased taxes voters approved for Sound Transit 3…
To reduce congestion on Interstate 405, Englund said she would convert one of the two HOV toll lanes into a free, general-purpose lane.
And that’s it. That’s as close as O’Sullivan gets to exploring the climate issue and whether or not the “moderation” described up front has any real world implications whatsoever.
I’ll fill in the rest. Englund is going to vote for the Republican Senate leadership that doesn’t believe in climate change. They won’t allow climate bills to come to the floor, so Englund will never have to test if any actual climate legislation is good enough for her to act on her beliefs.
STB is narrowly focused, so this isn’t an income tax blog, and we don’t take an official position on that issue. But in contrast to the entirely credulous acceptance of Englund’s spin, the companion Dhingra piece refuses to believe her on the income tax.
Susan Hutchison, chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, said Dhingra and a Democratic-controlled Senate will be a blank check for Gov. Jay Inslee, and eventually will push for a state income tax.
Dhingra has said she supports a capital-gains tax, but has repeatedly said she doesn’t favor an income tax. The GOP and Englund aren’t buying it, and have made the specter of an income tax a centerpiece of their campaign.
“The Democrats have never found a single tax they don’t like,” Hutchison said.
If there is to be an income tax, Manka Dhingra is going to have to go on the record and vote for or against it. She’s unambiguously promised to vote against it. Maybe she’ll change her mind. Politicians sometimes do! Whatever O’Sullivan is doing here, though, he’s certainly not taking Dhingra at face value.
To question a straightforward pledge from one and blithely accept a contentless statement of principle from the other does a disservice to voters who might rely on the Times for information. Although it apparently escapes the Times’s Olympia reporter, voters should understand the implications of an Englund victory for transit, transportation, and the climate.