Seattle Times A1 Revisited project editor
Published Oct. 16, 2022
On March 8, 1970, over 100 local activists climbed the fences at Fort Lawton in Seattle to lay claim to the land there that recently had been ceded by the U.S. military.
For the second installment of our A1 Revisited series, we turned to The Seattle Times’ coverage of the protests at Fort Lawton and found that our coverage neglected the context of the event and treated the protests with sarcasm and humor.
In consultation with the United Indians of All Tribes, we scrutinized the three stories that appeared in the following day’s newspaper. On the front page, we ran two stories on March 9, 1970, one that focused on the appearance of actress Jane Fonda at the protests rather than on the Native activists leading the protest, and the other belittled and trivialized the protests with a comedic tone and racist stereotypes.
A more in-depth story about the events of the occupation was tucked inside on Page A11, where we found several uses of language that equated the protest to an “attack” and protesters to “invaders,” words that further draw upon stereotypes and designate the protesters as outsiders.
The most striking findings from our research into The Seattle Times’ coverage of this event are what wasn’t there. As reporter Brendan Kiley notes in his A1 Revisited story, The Seattle Times failed to understand the importance of the issues affecting Native communities at the time.
Here, we’ve annotated each of these stories, marking offensive, inaccurate and racist language, biased or trivializing framing and where content or context is missing.
— Crystal Paul, project editor