March 23, 2009
Great moments in local journalism

Erica Barnett, "news" editor for The Stranger, made some news of her own last week, per the Seattle Weekly:

Barnett took a deal [Mar. 17] to avoid trial and dodge a criminal record after allegedly boosting an $8.99 bottle of wine from the northern Broadway QFC. She will be required to perform eight hours of community service within 30 days, as well as stay away from QFC and any criminal shenanigans for the next 90 days. If she complies, the city will dismiss the theft charge, though the fact that it was filed will remain in court records.
Barnett allocuted on The Slog:
A couple of months ago, I left a QFC with a bottle of wine that I had failed to pay for.
I'm overwhelmed by her remorse, but also observe that this is not the first time that Barnett was processed through the court system for failure to pay for something.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at March 23, 2009 11:01 AM | Email This
1. Oh, you mean those trifles, like the LAWS! Obviously not applicable.

Posted by: Fritz on March 23, 2009 10:52 AM
2. lol

Back in the '90s I knew a guy who bought a few houses around the U-district and Wallingford and rented out rooms. Both Erica Barnett and Nina Shapiro wrote major stories on him, portraying him as a heartless, chiseling slumlord, when he was just trying to fill a market demand for ultra-cheap, ultra-downscale housing. Never once did he hold a gun to anyone's head and force them to rent from him.

Thanks to the Stranger & Weekly hatchet-jobs, the city of Seattle went after him and put him out of business, as far as I know. He was pretty looney anyway, I think probably schizophrenic or something.

Anyway, he hated Barnett with a passion after the hatchett job, and he's surely smiling to read this, if he is still around.

Posted by: travis t on March 23, 2009 10:56 AM
3. It's OK, she's on the left. Lying, cheating, stealing is all encouraged, as long as it furthers the Progressive cause. You know, ends justify the means, just like their hero said.

Besides, who can blame her, to hold such an ideology without remorse, one would have to be drunk all the time, and I am sure that would get expensive.

Posted by: Jeff B. on March 23, 2009 11:31 AM
4. I am NOT thief. LOL

I just know, I've heard that somewhere before.

Posted by: Medic/Vet on March 23, 2009 11:48 AM
5. This fits in well with Jim Miller's earlier topic about local media reporting here:

If Barnett was a local conservative media figure such as John Carlson or Kirby Wilbur for example, the local media would be going bananas with story after story. They wouldn't let up until they'd destroyed them.

I'm perfectly willing to believe Barnett simply forgot to pay for the wine. I think most conservatives would take the same approach to the accusation instinctively. Liberals on the other hand will rip apart conservatives at the most miniscule sight of blood in the water. And if they don't have any real dirt they'll simply make it up, as in the case of their truly vicious treatment of Sarah Palin.

Just as aside, if you have liberal friends have you ever noticed what cheapskates they are? They never want to pay for anything, including it seems, the taxes they are so in favor of. The current Treasury Secretary is a good example.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on March 23, 2009 12:38 PM
6. Imagine if a conservative journalist posed for this sort of picture:

We don't need to make this stuff up.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on March 23, 2009 12:54 PM
7. An $8.99 bottle was worth all of THAT??

Posted by: Michele on March 23, 2009 02:14 PM
8. Sounds like some kind of a Bernie Ward type research project.

Posted by: Paul on March 23, 2009 04:22 PM
9. What brand of wine? Was it wine from an evil mega corporation that exploits its workers and destroys the environment with pesticides and fertilizers or was it a small organic operation with a gender balanced management team that provides health care for all of its undocumented associates?

Posted by: Huey on March 23, 2009 06:33 PM
10. Our collective left political minds float on a sea of booze. Bobbe Bridge, Richard McIver, Scott Noble, Venus Velazquez, Jane Hague, and now the scribe Barnett. Not to mention Goldy and his 'drinking liberally.'

No surprise that they never seem to be able to think straight.

Posted by: travis t on March 23, 2009 06:51 PM
11. Hey, liberals don't pay taxe, why should they pay for their wine?

Posted by: pbj on March 23, 2009 07:24 PM
12. Travis@10, Jane Hague is a Republican.

Posted by: Bruce on March 23, 2009 10:07 PM
13. Common reasons why people shoplift/steal:

* To express feelings of anger, revenge, or entitlement
* To fill a sense of emptiness due to grief or loss
* To try to make life seem fair
* As a thrill or high to escape problems, numb feelings, or ease depression

Perhaps Ms. Barnett needs professional help?
There are plenty of leftist mental health professionals that will help restore Erica's flailing self-esteem.

I hope Erica will Stop Whining.

Posted by: dude on March 24, 2009 12:45 AM
14. I'm not sure how to react to this story. On one hand, I don't think writers' personal flaws matter. Heck, many brilliant authors were/are totally screwed up. Writers are not like politicians, who we need to trust with our power; they are merely people whose words we find interesting.

And, in the grand scheme of things, shoplifting a $9 item is not the worst offense. Is it worse than DUI? Cheating by $100 on your taxes? Cheating on your spouse? All of these are absolutely wrong, but don't affect my opinion of whether I want to read the perpetrator's column. (They do affect my decision on whether to vote for someone, though rarely as much as their policies.)

On the other hand, shoplifting by an adult seems odder than those other misdeeds. I'm not sure why.

Posted by: Bruce on March 24, 2009 09:11 AM
15. Bruce I know that Hague is a Republican. She is not a conservative, however. And even if she were, my point is just that local decision-makers are drinking a whole lot of booze. I think public policy is a complex thing, loaded with unintended conseqences & pitfalls. I don't think it can be done right on a hangover.

Posted by: travis t on March 24, 2009 12:03 PM
16. The Stranger writers are all a bunch of drunks, and Erica Barnett is one of the most vicious people I have ever run into. You are correct in your assesment that if this was a conservative they'd rip 'em apart. Erica's mea culpa was pitiful. Her half-baked (or fully baked) attacks on people she doesn't know should be all the reason anyone needs to attack her in the press as well. She's a public figure, and she is a truly irrational hateful vicious person.

I have no problem with feeling outraged by this, but that's just the tip of the iceberg with the Stranger.

Posted by: Gentry Lange on March 25, 2009 01:56 AM
17. Only the lowest elements of society would take anything printed in The Stranger seriously, or for that matter, anyone who WRITES for The Stranger. Several generations ago, when a few normal people lived in Seattle, publications like The Stranger (Helix?) would have quickly found their places in the lower reaches of a back alley "two-holer" (or equivalent). There they would rest, in like company, after performing their sole honorable duty.

Posted by: Saltherring on March 25, 2009 06:45 AM
18. I think Erica has quite a few local enemies, partly because she's liberal but also partly because she's loose with the facts and generally inaccurate. In journalism, that's typically a no-go, but with the Stranger you get what you pay for. :)

The commenters who spoke up in her defense on the Slog seem to view her offense, and her lack of remorse or regret, as some sort of proletarian rebellion. She's just a lowly workaday stealing from those greedy, rich corporatists.

They ignore inconvenient facts. First, as with drunk driving, only a very small percentage of actual offenses are caught. She's probably been doing this for a while (I'm guessing it was some clever bagging at the self check-out) and is now getting caught for the first time. If my past retail experience is any help, the clerks had probably suspected her of it before, but took the effort to document it this time and nab her. Shoplifting is not a casual behavior and shoplifters are typically serial.

Also, the real victims are people who work at QFC and paying consumers, most of which are other left-wing militant proletarians. QFC would be able to hire more of them if they didn't lose inventory to theft. And QFC might have been able to charge $7.99 for that bottle of wine if it didn't have to mark up prices to make up for loss.

Posted by: AD on March 25, 2009 11:36 PM
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