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May 14, 2013 at 6:20 AM

The Stranger’s obsession with The Seattle Times

Since the beginning of the year, the folks at The Stranger have written about The Seattle Times 22 times (and by “written about,” I mean, with few exceptions, “spewing on”).

That’s more than they’ve written, in blogs or articles, about Mayor Mike McGinn (17 times, including guest columns, but not double-counting blog posts also published in print; its clunky search function stops after 10 pages of hits). That’s also more than the 16 times The Stranger has written about Sen. Ed Murray, champion of gay marriage, key lawmaker this legislative session and McGinn’s challenger in the mayor’s race.

The only thing The Stranger writers seems to love more than slagging on The Times: marijuana. They’ve mentioned Initiative 502, the pot legalization measure, 23 times since January.

I get that alternative weeklies act as critics of the daily newspapers. Fine. And I get that The Stranger has an embedded problem with authority (which I appreciated while writing a profile of publisher Tim Keck).

But this used to be a two-daily-newspaper town (three, counting the King County Journal). With fewer paid journalists, uncovered stories abound. My suggestion: the state’s crisis in mental health care. Homeless advocacy has been a staple of The Stranger, but the word “homeless” appeared just seven times this year, only twice in reported news stories.

Instead, The Stranger of the last few months seems obsessed with The Times, producing a narrow, predictable repertoire of criticism. For a paper founded on money from The Onion, an unlikely word comes to mind: boring.

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