MATTHEWS: Media credibility takes another hit after misreporting on Seattle ‘occupied protest’ zone

A person sprays graffiti on the Seattle Police East Precinct building, Saturday, June 20, 2020, inside what has been named the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone in Seattle. A pre-dawn shooting Saturday near the area left one person dead and critically injured another person, authorities said Saturday. The area has been occupied by protesters after Seattle Police pulled back from several blocks of the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

It’s been disturbing to see how the national media have declared that the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone in Seattle is a “peaceful” place that resembles a “street festival.” If you watched and read reports from certain outlets, you might think CHOP is an organized, crime-free, safe utopian paradise free from the burdens most big cities face on any given day.

Here’s the reality:

The CHOP is six city blocks in downtown Seattle that have been taken over by supposedly “peaceful protesters” in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody on May 25 after now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes, according to the criminal complaint.

The Seattle protesters have dubbed the zone a “no cop zone.” An entire police precinct is now occupied by the zone’s inhabitants. Videos have circulated on social media of armed “warlords” patrolling the area. Guns are distributed out of car trunks by people whose faces are covered by hoods and bandanas.

So are the drugs.

Seattle police only respond to calls from the area if they feel someone’s life is in danger, which means calls to 911 from businesses and residents who operate or live in the zone about break-ins are ignored. There are reports that shakedowns of businesses are occurring within the zone.

Journalists are also being attacked — in broad daylight. People who don’t fall in line with the herd’s disdain for the police are kicked off the island by force if necessary.

It is not a good situation at all. Some people who lived in the area before it was taken over are telling reporters they feel like “sitting ducks” because they can’t rely on police to step in.

Frustrated Seattle Police Department Chief Carmen Best has made it clear in statements that the decision to allow the zone to exist was not hers, meaning Democratic leaders in the city like Mayor Jenny Durkan have likely given a “stand down” order.

Like the national media, Durkan has also portrayed the occupied encampment in the rosiest of terms, calling occupiers “patriotic” and stating CHOP has a “block party atmosphere” that could turn into a “summer of love” after all is said and done.

Except there’s nothing about the zone that screams “Summer of Love.” It’s more reminiscent of “Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome.”

Police Chief Best told reporters that, “Our calls for service have more than tripled. These are responses to emergency calls — rapes, robberies, and all sorts of violent acts that have been occurring in the area that we’re not able to get to.”

Yes, this is happening in a major American city, and the city’s leaders are allowing it to happen. And the national media want everyone to believe it’s all rainbows and dance circles.

But sometimes reality intrudes, as it did with one CNN reporter who filed a live report on how peaceful things allegedly were in the CHOP. As the reporter continued to talk, an anarchist tried to take over the segment and had to be physically restrained by security. It was only then the reporter got real and noted some of the protesters were “no doubt armed.”


Over the weekend, the situation got even more serious as shots were fired and one person was killed, while another was seriously injured. According to police, there are also reports of a second shooting that allegedly happened in the “no cop zone” this past weekend.

People need to be asking national media outlets like CNN and MSNBC why they continue to give glowing “reports” on the zone while fires burn and people are assaulted and killed. Thank God for local reporters and independent journalists. Otherwise, most of America wouldn’t have a clue what’s really going on there.

Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah, and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.