The Tahoma Activist

"Changing the Media, One Story at a Time"

This website is your Pierce County source for progressive news and opinion. If you want to be a part of The Tahoma Activist, send all submissions here. We will print anything that makes sense and touches on the important issues of the day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tacoma News Tribune prints loving puff-piece about cops, no mention of protestors

I'm all for honoring the history of workers of any kind, but this latest piece by the TNT was WAY in favor of the Tacoma Police Department and did very little to explain any instances in which they have gotten out of hand.

I immediately called everyone I knew and encouraged them to follow my lead in contacting the News Tribune. Here's what I said to the author of the article in question, as well as what I said to the Reader Representative and the News Tips Editor:

"Given the wonderfully glowing piece about Tacoma police history, wouldn't it be fair, given all that has gone on this week down at the Port of Tacoma, to do a similar piece on the long history of protest in Tacoma?"

Think about it. You've got the labor movement, you've got the civil rights movement, you've got Vietnam, you've got the Wobblies and the Longshore Workers, you've got so much history that seems to have been forgotten by our formidable local paper. So I decided to rally my friends to call the paper and send emails encouraging them to follow this lead.

And to help them out, I even got a list of people who would be happy to be interviewed for this story:

People like Vance Lelli, local longshoreman and President of the Pierce County Central Labor Council, who was involved in one of the scariest labor actions in Tacoma history during the Kaiser Aluminum debacle. Or there's Walt Waisath, Jr., who remembers protesting Desert Storm on the newly constructed 705 freeway in downtown Tacoma. Or how about our very own labor/protest historian, Tacoma public librarian Brian Kamens, whose knowledge of Tacoma history is practically legendary? If you thought the Police Historian was knowledgeable, wait till you see photos Brian has compiled of protests going all the way back to the early twentieth century. And don't forget Mayor Bill Baarsma, a historian in his own right who, in the Sixties, attended a 10,000 person march in Tacoma against the Vietnam War.

Folks, if you'd like to help us get this story told in our local paper, which seems intent on telling only one side of the police/protest tale, please call one of the numbers below and send an email with your thoughts on the proud tradition of street-focused agitation in this fair city.

Tacoma News Tribune News Tips line


TNT Reader Representative


Police Historian reporter Stacey Mulick

Phone: 253-597-8268

Lastly, if we are unable to get this story printed in the TNT, I will be attempting to write it for us, so if you'd like to be quoted in this piece, please email me here at - Thanks, and don't forget, even if the TNT sucks, we're a two-paper town again!

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At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Jeffrey Richardson said...

There was some profanity in the last comment, so here it is without it:

"You have got to be joking me. The TNT is not at all biased towards favoring the TPD. Yes, this article was very pleasent and showed a lighter side of police work. But trust me, it is not in the TNT's nature to show the TPD in a good way. They are like most other media outlets and bash the TPD whenever they can. This article is simply showing the lighter side of the TPD and a little bit of its history. It seems like all you want to do is just bash the TPD, probably because you got your ass kicked, most likely down at the port this past 2 weeks."

I get the feeling that this writer is a cop or is friends with cops, so to the writer I apologize if you feel I have somehow slandered the Tacoma Police Department.

My main beef with the TNT is that they choose consistently to bury stories about large local protests on the back pages or below the fold, while stories like this, that will please lots of police officers and their families, are given huge three-quarter page spreads. I understand the logic of it, but it pisses me off.

If the TNT chose to do the same about the history of protests in this city, or about the thought process of the Port of Tacoma protestors and the opposition to their actions by cops, dockworkers and others, it would educate and inform the reader, rather than just make them feel good.

To my mind, the whole point of having a media outlet is to shake people up and get them thinking. This piece, sadly, didn't do much of that. Which is fine, as long as they show the other side of the story.

By the way, thanks for commenting on my blog. I wish that you would have the courage to leave at least a fake name next time and respect our rules on profanity.


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