EDITORIAL | Murray’s attack on journalists are disingenuous

Mayor Ed Murray has a tendency to invoke Donald Trump when addressing political dissent.

Back in November, he compared Sonics Arena backers to Trump supporters at the end of an interview with KJR-AM.

During a December press conference, he told Black Lives Matter protestors that, “this isn’t a Donald Trump rally,”

In January, he likened the #NoNewYouthJail coalition to “alt-right” Nazi Trump supporters while speaking at the State of Africatown event.

How ironic now that Murray has seemingly taken a page out of the reality TV-star/president’s playbook in response to the Seattle Times’ reporting of a sexual assault lawsuit against him.

In an op-ed published in the Stranger last week, Murray said he has “a deep respect for the press,” before proceeding to accuse the Times of not balancing the claims made against him with the truth, and that the standard of proof was lowered. Some respect, huh.

In essence, Murray’s point boils down to this: Times reporters rushed the story and it shouldn’t have been reported on.

Our point boils down to this: He’s wrong.

Murray made a point of noting in his op-ed that the Times investigated similar claims made against him approximately a decade ago, and chose at the time to not move forward with the story.

But to act as if that precludes the newspaper from revisiting it when a new, separate accusation comes to light would be assuming journalistic malpractice.

And while the previous allegations were just that, allegations, the fact that a lawsuit was filed — a case now in the public record — changes the equation.

Whether or not the allegations are true — and to that end the mayor’s attorney has raised legitimate challenges to the claims being made — the lawsuit is newsworthy, and cannot be ignored.

Also in his op-ed, the mayor says he was called by the Times the night before the story was set to publish, but then goes onto to say he had no opportunity to refute the claims and demonstrate the claims were false.

So, which is it? The former doesn’t really logically flow into the latter. Was the overview the mayor was provided not enough for him to adequately respond to? This is not made clear.

If we give him the benefit of the doubt, that he truly wasn’t given that chance (a tenuous proposition at best), his claim that such a response would logically prove it “verifiably false and that is should not, could not be printed,” indicates that the mayor would have editorial control over a very public story.

At the most, a more detailed response from Murray would provide an added layer of balance, the accusations and a response. It wouldn’t make the story itself less newsworthy.

Imagine the public outcry if the region’s daily newspaper of record, not to mention other publications and the four TV stations, chose not to cover a court case against the city’s mayor.

That kind of decision would have been disrespectful, both to the field of journalism, and the people of Seattle.