Washington State Patrol Falls into Media Woke Trap

Washington State Patrol Falls into Media Woke Trap

By Steve Pomper  

I have the misfortune of living in the dictatorship of Washington State under Gov. Jay Inslee (refusing to relinquish his “emergency powers”). But, even living here and paying attention, I missed this news bit about the Washington State Patrol (WSP). Fortunately, the NPA’s own Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith brought it to my attention with this tweet.

Sgt. Smith links to an article written by KTTH Radio host and frequent FOX News Channel guest Jason Rantz. Rantz somewhat chastises the WSP for collaborating with KING 5 News and trusting them to air an honest and fair story about cops. The story left the WSP chief critical of KING 5’s coverage of WSP’s “diversity efforts.”

These days diversity includes only leftist sanctioned such as race, gender, ethnicity, and LGBTQ+∞, but never diversity of thought. This is the perpetual trap the left has rigged for any law enforcement who still trusts the mainstream media.

KING 5 has created “Facing Race,” a series presented by a virtue-signaling, woke cadre of “activist-journalists.” Rantz says, of the WSP, “the agency should criticize the staff members who thought pitching KING 5 this story was a good idea to begin with.”

Even before the legacy media went all anti-cop, they were often… let’s say, inaccurate. Earlier in my career, I lost count of the numbers of times I or other officers would read, listen to, or see a local news story about an incident we were involved in and wonder if we were even there.

Now, they’re still inaccurate, but instead of laziness, it’s intentional.

WSP’s idea was to celebrate National Women’s History Month by offering the tv station interviews with a sergeant and three troopers, all women and all black. The WSP wanted an honest look at the agency’s efforts toward “diversity.”

But that’s what happens when you agree to play on the leftist’s playfield by leftist rules and with leftist referees. They will take advantage of any goodwill a law enforcement agency offers. Remember, they don’t need to hear from the cops to tell the cops’ stories. They have their minds made up.

Armed with a quiver full of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (DIE) arrows, KING 5 targeted the WSP’s gracious offer. But rather than focus on the WSP’s efforts to address “racial and gender equity,” KING 5 “focused on the gripes of an employee terminated 14 years ago.”

Rantz says “the WSP should have seen this coming.” He described KING 5’s piece as “lazy, agenda-driven activist-journalism.” KING 5 put out two versions of the story. There’s a web version that focused more on the female troopers and their careers. And an on-air version, which was likely seen by more people, that leaned more on the story about fired WSP cadet, Liz Griffin, from almost a decade and a half ago.

After the broadcast, WSP Chief John Batiste emailed the agency’s staff, writing, “The piece focused on the unfortunate experience and opinions of a former employee from more than a decade ago rather than on our efforts to improve our processes, reduce barriers to service, and make our agency a place where any qualified candidate should always feel welcomed, supported, and appreciated.”

Not sure what else the chief expected. Like so many law enforcement leaders, though a good man, it seems he’s tended to too often surrender issues to leftist bigotry. Although it’s true, working for the ultra-woke but ironically nicknamed governor, “Sleepy” Jay Inslee, he wouldn’t have the job for long if he allowed his commonsense to prevail over politics that insult him and his troopers.

He expressed his disappointment in KING 5’s failure to provide a “full representation of GMR’s [WSP’s Government and Media Relations unit] intent of highlighting the agency’s interest on attracting more diverse individuals.” Chief Batiste should, by now, know efforts to placate the left will not inoculate him from their wrath. They still see him as ACAB no matter what he does.

Today’s leftists do not allow anyone to wander off the radical reservation. You must comply 100 percent. There is no room for compromise or dissent.

To fill in the blanks, Griffin sued the WSP for firing her instead of offering her retraining. Griffin accepted a settlement offer of $20,000.

About the 2009 Griffin controversy, Rantz asked, “Does this have anything to do with 2022 efforts to diversify the force?” Of course not. But KING 5’s race facers couldn’t get the sergeant and four troopers to complain about DIE or the agency.

Rantz wrote, “But KING 5 couldn’t get a race controversy through four black female staff who were mostly complimentary of the department.” The troopers had no problem with the agency’s diversity, so KING 5 had to go back 14 years to rehash a controversy—just to make WSP look bad, since the story as gathered made the agency look good.

Can’t have that.

KING 5 news director Julie Wolfe told Rantz she believes the piece was a “well-balanced look at both historical issues at WSP, in addition to recent efforts to improve representations of people of color….” Well, good… they got the phrase “people of color,” in there.

Critics have accused the WSP of being “too white and too male.” Well, that’s sort of baked in the cake in this state. The state is nearly 80 percent white and more males than females are attracted to law enforcement. That’s not racism or misogyny, that’s simply demographic facts.

There’s an unavoidable issue facing “race equity” in Washington State, which critics ignore completely. The state is predominately white. According to the U.S. Census, the state is 78.5 percent white and 4.4 percent black. And most of the black population lives within the Puget Sound region (Seattle-Tacoma) area.

The WSP deploys troopers throughout the state. So, “reflecting the diversity of a given community” (as critics insist must be done), within a particular local area with a higher minority population makes “diversity” within distinct communities a virtually impossible task, with troopers assigned and reassigned across the state.

Accusing Washington of being “racist” or lacking in diversity because most of the state happens to be mostly white would be like saying Nigeria is racist because virtually all of its population is black. Not every racial or gender disparity is a sign of racism or misogyny. These demographic facts are a reality for the WSP, whose jurisdiction covers the entire state.

When you consider that the WSP, and other law enforcement agencies are contending with retaining and hiring qualified officers while combatting the anti-police vitriol spewed by the very people screaming for diversity, inclusion, and equity in hiring cops, agencies are lucky to be getting any candidates at all—white, black, male, or female.

Rantz winds down by asking how WSP officials could possibly have missed “that KING 5 would twist the story into the same divisive grievance about police like it did in its previous reporting?”

The KTTH talk show host, an unabashed friend of law enforcement, concludes by pulling no punches. “If you don’t offer up a white person to acknowledge white supremacy in the institution that must be dismantled, the KING 5 team will shoehorn it in.”

Having worked a career in KING 5’s spotlight, I can tell you any reporters with even a semblance of fairness toward the police have left that media operation for fairer pastures.