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Seattle’s Revolt of the Elites

With residents fed up by the homelessness crisis, city leaders and their allies coordinate a PR campaign to convince them that everything is fine. Originally published at City Journal

In Seattle, people are losing patience with city leadership over the homelessness crisis, but the frustration is running in both directions: the city’s political, cultural, and academic elites are conducting their own revolt — against the people.

Since the release of Eric Johnson’s documentary Seattle Is Dying, which depicts an epidemic of street homelessness, addiction, crime, and disorder, city elites have launched a coordinated information campaign targeted at voters frustrated with the city’s response to homelessness. Earlier this month, leaked documents revealed that a group of prominent nonprofits — the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Campion Advocacy Fund, the Raikes Foundation, and the Ballmer Group — hired a PR firm, Pyramid Communications, to conduct polling, create messaging, and disseminate the resulting content through a network of silent partners in academia, the press, government, and the nonprofit sector. The campaign, #SeattleForAll, is a case study in what writer James Lindsay calls “idea laundering” — creating misinformation and legitimizing it as objective truth through repetition in sympathetic media.

Continue Reading at City Journal

Christopher Rufo

Former Director, Center on Wealth & Poverty
Christopher Rufo is former director of the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty. He has directed four documentaries for PBS, Netflix, and international television, including his latest film, America Lost, that tells the story of three "forgotten American cities.” Christopher is currently a contributing editor of City Journal, where he covers poverty, homelessness, addiction, crime, and other afflictions. Christopher is a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University, Claremont Institute Lincoln Fellow, and has appeared on NPR, CNN, ABC, CBS, HLN, and FOX News.