Seattle Times Continues to Avoid Terrorist Label for ELF

Update below.

Neither the Seattle Times nor the Seattle Post-Intelligencer are high on your average conservative's daily to-read list, but at least the latter is not gun-shy about calling recent suspected Earth Liberation Front (ELF) arsons acts of eco-terrorism.

The Times opted for "radical environmentalists" to tag ELF even though it's pretty clear that investigators clearly think the Street of Dreams fires in Snohomish County, Wash., are terroristic in nature. As reporter Steve Miletich noted in paragraph seven of his March 4 article, "Hunt is on: Who torched the Street of Dreams?":

Working with few clues, federal investigators face a daunting task as they try to determine whether a shadowy group of radical environmentalists torched three multimillion-dollar homes along a Street of Dreams in Snohomish County on Monday.

[...]

The FBI is investigating the fires as a possible "domestic terrorism act," said FBI spokesman Fred Gutt in Seattle. The Snohomish County sheriff's Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives also are participating as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

By contrast the Seattle P-I, as it did in Web reporting yesterday, did not relegate charges of terrorism to dismissive quote marks:

ECHO LAKE -- As arson investigators sift through the charred remains of multimillion-dollar "dream" homes in a wooded subdivision near here, some builders are wondering if their luxury homes could be the next target of eco-terrorists.

[...]

The FBI said the fires are being investigated as potential acts of domestic terrorism. Agents from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and regional Joint Terrorism Task Force were assisting local authorities.

Update (14:47): Seattle P-I "Big Blog" editor Mónica Guzmán notes that most P-I readers approve of the paper tagging ELF as an eco-terror group.

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