November 6th, 2006 by Clark Humphrey

The new out-of-state management of Seattle Weekly is already failing miserably, just months after persuading all its top editors to quit.

The latest feces-storm: An unfunny “fake news” parody story alleging that Mayor Greg Nickels was spending $750,000 of city money on private soirees, starring big-name easy listening musicians.

The story, by chain-installed editor Mike Seely and filled with fabricated quotes from real political figures, doesn’t officially announce its ficticious status. The nightclubs it mentions (La Rustica and 5 West) are real businesses. Easy listening (or, under its more pretentious rubric, “smooth jazz”) is the known musical genre-of-choice for large swaths of the civic establishment (including several former Weekly editors). At least three people have asked me if the article was true; and, if so, why nobody else in the local news media has followed up on it.

In response to this childish, purposeless self-demolition of the paper’s 31-year journalistic reputation, two more longtime Weekly contributors have allegedly quit. (I haven’t confirmed the names yet.)

So why would Seely print something so simultaneously sophomoric and credibility-damaging? Either:

1) The New Times Publishing higher-ups thought it would be a great change-O-pace; or

2) Seely and/or his bosses felt desperate to get themselves some of that Stranger wacky-hip street cred.

The Weekly tried that before, albeit less severely, when it was first bought up by the chain that sold out to the chain that owns it now. Back then, it was sad, like a dowager dolled up like a young tart. Now, it’s closer to dangerous, like an elderly skier who can’t be persuaded away from the widowmaker slope.

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