[UPDATE: CHAZ did eventually become violent and chaotic, but that was a week or two after this post was written.]
For those of you who don’t live in Seattle and are wondering what’s going on here I thought I’d fill you in on the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” or CHAZ. If you get your news from Fox or Trump, you might think that we are ready to secede from the country, have devolved into anarchy or are about to burn up in flames.
Here is what Trump and the conservative media are saying:
Tucker Carlson (Fox) about CHAZ “they declared nationhood” “established rigid borders” with “armed border guards… who question everyone upon entry”
Andy Ngo (Fox) said “Hard for me to overstate the anarchy that is on the streets”
Kennedy on Fox “The Five” said “totalitarian takeover of people who want a one party state… no longer freedom of expression”
Wall Street Journal editorial board calls them the “Seattle Secessionists” and claimed “armed individuals running checkpoints into the neighborhood” and “reports of citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within this area”
And worst of all, Fox News published altered and totally inaccurate photos of Seattle in multiple instances to stoke fear. The Seattle Times caught the Fox fake news and called them out. Fox has removed the falsified photos.
This might be the most blatant example of the right-wing state media fomenting fear, hatred and division that I’ve seen, and with outright falsified reporting. Unbelievable. Fox News can no longer be called journalism.
Anyhow… on to the reality of the situation…
Eleanor, my 18 year old daughter, visited CHAZ this afternoon and found something entirely different. There were no borders or armed guards, as Tucker Carlson suggests. She didn’t have to give up her passport or pledge allegiance to CHAZ. There wasn’t anarchy or chaos. She wasn’t asked to pay a fee or taxes to enter. She simply walked in. She said she wasn’t even sure when she entered the autonomous zone.
There were elaborate tributes to George Floyd and others that have been killed by police brutality (see photo). There were people handing out free food, water and art. There was a giant black lives matter mural painted on the street. There was a conversation corner set up with couches where people could sit and talk through what is happening. She never felt threatened or in danger. She felt completely welcomed and has no visions of seceding.
No doubt there has been a lot of turmoil in Capitol Hill over the last few weeks, but none was evident in the CHAZ today.
If Fox news has been your source of media, it’s time to diversify.