Dear Crosscut: Please Improve Your Quality Control

Last Tuesday Crosscut published a piece by Kent Kammerer that is premised with a blatant fabrication.   Kammerer writes:

Not long ago a representative from Futurewise and a realtor said that Seattle’s population will double by 2040.

The first clue that the above statement is not on the up and up is that there are no specifics provided about exactly who said this or when they said it.   But the fact is, anyone who knows Futurewise knows that no person from that organization would ever make such a patently silly claim.  Futurewise is widely recognized as one of the region’s leading experts on growth management issues—their roots stretch back through 1000 Friends of Washington to the origins of the Growth Management Act.  One can only assume that Kammerer is making shit up about the others he accuses too.

The piece is entitled “Why Seattle won’t grow as fast as planners say,” but nowhere in the article is a single planner—or anyone, for that matter—actually quoted saying that Seattle’s population will double by 2040. Of course, that’s because no planner with an ounce of competence would say such a thing.  The only place any “religious mantra” exists is inside Kammerer’s little head.

Given that the set up for Kammerer’s entire argument is such glaring bullshit, the question then becomes:  Why would the editors of Crosscut compromise their own credibility by publishing such hackery?  Two possibilities:  (1) an oversight, or (2) intentional disregard for journalistic integrity to further an ideological agenda, with the added bonus of manufacturing controversy to drive up the hit rate.

If it’s (1), well, we all make mistakes.  But given that it’s all but certain Kammerer has no evidence to back up his allegations—and in particular the libelous claim about Futurewise—the piece should be corrected or taken down.

If it’s (2), well, that’s pretty sad.  But unfortunately it’s worse than just sad.  These matters are massively important, and willfully abetting the injection of mendacious noise into the public conversation is irresponsible citizenship.


P.S.  I would be remiss if I didn’t also pipe up about how Kammerer’s whopper attracts similarly truth-challenged commenters, e.g. “bubbleator” lied when he asserted that this very blog has been making the “Seattle’s population will double” claim.