Thursday, July 16, 2009

An example of a terrible article: "Lethally Blonde" in this week's "Seattle Weekly"

Yes, it's true, which is why I read them for restaurant reviews instead of for their stories. "Lethally Blonde" is a cover story about a former Seattle area native named Shawna Ford who since leaving Seattle became the head of a vicious anti-immigrant militia in Arizona and has been arrested for the murder of an immigrant there. The thing is that while she lived in the Seattle metro area she went from being a teen prostitute to a shoplifter and burglar, to being first a beautician then protesting a beauty school, and allegedly being a grunge music promoter. The connection between all of this and the later turning of her into a Minuteman affiliated militia member is touted from the cover on down, but a strange thing seemed to have happened: despite all of this there's barely any information on what she did in Seattle. One prostitution arrest is covered, yet the things like working as a beautician and then protesting beauticians get absolutely no more coverage than the teaser mentions. The vast majority of the article deals with her time in Arizona.

Which is very strange because, you know, I hate to point this out but we live in the Seattle area and not in Arizona, so it would have been pretty easy for the writer of the article for the Weekly to interview folks associated with Seattle...and incorporate that information into the article. But it was not to be. What that means is that despite being a cover story sold as emphasizing a local connection there's no local connection whatsoever, and all of those teasers are just lies. People don't enjoy being lied to.

This isn't the first time a vast oversight like this has happened in Seattle Weekly stories. At times, articles will pop up that seem to have a lobe of their brain removed, that are normal are even really good on most counts but that inexplicably miss something essential that they should in fact know they should include.

Wait, aha, looking at the web version of it instead of the print version the confusion is resolved: the article was originally written for a Phoenix alt. weekly and then brought up here because of the Seattle angle. Yet the print version doesn't give any indication, except maybe at the very end, that this article wasn't written by someone in Seattle but by someone in Phoenix, and it's a cover story. Which is more than just deceptive or bad journalism. I mean, hey, why not print a story about the UK that mentions a guy who lived in Seattle once in one sentence and then put it on the cover of the mag. and call the story "Controversy in the UK, the Seattle connection!". (Broderick Axworthy, who went to the University of Washington early on, and who then came back and settled in Islington, was apprehended yesterday for a...)

That's fucking pathetic, quite frankly.


JJ Wright said...

You kinda missed the whole story: that's WHAT she did in Seattle. As the story says, she worked and lived in Everett - and it tells about those events - other than the time she was in Alaska, then Arizona, and that's covered too. You had to close your eyes to be this picky!

John Madziarczyk said...

That's sort of what I do, be extremely picky. Don't take it personally. The way I look at it is that someone has to do it.