Matt Shea and Heather Scott

Matt Shea (R-WA Legislative District 4 Representative, Spokane Valley north to Mt. Spokane) and Heather Scott (R-ID Legislative District 1A, ID panhandle north and southwest of Sandpoint) have much in common. The activities of both were covered in “Report of Investigation Regarding Representative Matt Shea Washington House of Representatives December 1, 2019.” You can (and should) read that report here. Shea and Scott are state representatives in adjacent states in districts that share a border. Both were involved in planning several events legitimately described as “domestic terrorism.” During the armed takeover and standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016, both Shea and Scott hid their deeper involvement behind claims that they were only engaged in “fact finding” and “negotiations.” That armed takeover and standoff resulted in the death of LaVoy Finicum (now revered by Shea’s and Scott’s followers as a martyr, with Finicum’s widow promoting the martyrdom.)

Shea and Scott share another attribute: neither will grant an interview or in any way directly and publicly respond to questions. Instead, like Trump, they communicate only through their own ecosystem of right wing media from which they rail at “godless liberals,” impugn the values of lot of people they are supposed to represent, while inflame their own tight group of ideological followers. They pose as “patriots” while painstakingly plotting an armed rebellion with which they dream of establishing a theocratically governed “Redoubt” or a “51st State” or the “State of Liberty.” (They would claim their meticulous planning is defensive, even as they plot incendiary events like the armed takeover of the Malheur Federal Wildlife Refuge.)

On both sides of the Idaho-Washington border (and nationally), the Washington House investigation of Shea, Scott, and the extremists they represent has stirred up media coverage. I offer a sampling of that relative mainstream coverage at the bottom of this email. (You might hit some paywalls.)

Those articles are all from sources most of my readers would consider fairly mainstream. This is NOT, however, what a lot of people in this region read and listen to. I urge you to explore the media ecosystem that is inexpensively (but slickly) presented and maintained by this domestic terrorist movement with representatives in our state governments. (This is doable thanks to the internet and lack of need for actual reporting or a paper newspaper). Start here: Exclusive: Idaho Rep. Scott on Liberal Media Attacks at Redoubt News, December 22, 2019. A quotation:

Reminding all “free thinking” Idahoans that the following facts and unanswered questions really do matter when drawing your own conclusions, Scott says that the unbiased integrity of the Rampart Group’s reporting is in serious question when their top four information sources relied upon include the biased Wikipedia, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Portland uber-left journalist writer Leah Sottile and The Inlander reporter Dan Walters.

Savor that language: “biased” Wikipedia, “uber-left” Leah Sottile. Further on in the article Scott accuses (without irony) the “biased media” of a “label lynch” of Matt Shea. I guess for Heather Scott “uber-left” and “liberal” must not be labels. (I was first introduced the right wing construct of “label lynching” in a youtube video of James Allsup, the local white supremacist who infamously marched at Charlottesville, speaking at Northwest Grassroots in Greenbluff.)

Heather Scott’s defense in the Redoubt News gets even richer:

Why haven’t the Washington Democrats, the Washington Republican leadership and west coast liberal media mouth pieces like Dan Walters and Leah Sottile condemned the 2019 bombing and attempted armed violent takeover of a Washington federal facility by extreme left-wing terrorist Willem Van Spronsen?

Willem Van Spronsen? Huh? Do you not recall Mr. Van Spronsen? Perhaps that’s because the isolated Van Spronsen incident didn’t involve officials holding elected office. This is classic whataboutism, false-equivalence, a tactic much favored on the right. It is of-a-piece with McMorris Rodgers asking, “What about George Soros?”

After you scan the report of the Matt Shea investigation (again, here’s the link) I urge you to click around on articles in the Redoubt News echo chamber. Make note of the bias and the advertisers. Consider what you might be thinking about local and world events if this were your major source of news. Share your findings with friends and acquaintances.

Keep to the high ground,

Rep. Matt Shea expelled from GOP caucus after investigation finds he engaged in domestic terrorism  Spokesman, December 20, 2019.

A GOP state legislator helped plan an armed occupation in Oregon, investigators say, calling it ‘domestic terrorism’  Washington Post, December 20, 2019.

Shawn Vestal: Scathing House report should mark rapid end of Matt Shea’s legislative career Spokesman, December 19, 2019

Statesman Editorial: Is Scott a domestic terrorist? Let’s find out  The Lewiston Tribune, December 29, 2019

Religious components of Northwest political extremism Idaho State Journal, December 29, 2019