Seattle Papers Differ On Terroristic Nature of ELF-suspected Arsons

NewsBusters.org - Media Research Center | photo by Dan DeLong of Seattle P-IA pricey Seattle suburb appears to be the recent target of arson at the hands of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a radical environmentalist group that destroys property in the name of protecting the earth. In other words, ELF is an eco-terrorist organization.

Yet when covering the story, Seattle Times reporter Peyton Whitely refused to use any such label for the ELF. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer did, at least in a photo caption and headline for a story running on the paper's Web site today:

Street of Dreams homes burned, eco-terrorists suspected
Photo caption: "Eco-terrorists are suspected in using explosive devises to destroy or damage several Street of Dreams show homes, which burned in Woodinville."

By contrast, the Seattle Times had a snoozer of a headline-- "Suspicious fires destroy 3 Street of Dreams homes, damage 2, in Snohomish County" -- and dismissed terrorism charges from the first sentence in the lede (emphasis mine):

Officials are blaming "domestic terrorism" for fires early today which destroyed three multi-million-dollar homes and damaged two others built as part of last year's Seattle Street of Dreams in the Maltby area of Snohomish County.

Damage was estimated at $7 million.

Explosive devices were found inside the homes. And nearby, a spray-painted sign bearing the initials of the Earth Liberation Front, challenged builders' assertion that the homes featured environmentally responsible construction methods.

A KING-5 video showed the sign, which read: "Built Green? Nope black! McMansions in RCDs r not green. ELF" The initials "RCD" refers to "rural cluster development."

The Earth Liberation Front has claimed responsibility for other arsons, including one at the University of Washington in 2001 for which a woman is now on trial in Tacoma.

Photo credit: Dan DeLong of Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters