M’s owner dies
Seattle Mariners principal owner Hiroshi Yamauchi died in a Japanese hospital early Thursday at age 85, succumbing to pneumonia. When he bought the Mariners and helped save Major League baseball for Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, he said he wanted to make “a gesture of goodwill” to the community. With support from Sen. Slade Gorton, Yamauchi overcame xenophobic opposition within baseball and beyond to having a foreign owner heading a U.S. pro sports franchise. At home and through Nintendo America, Yamauchi made Nintendo a worldwide leader in electronic gaming. (He also transformed a company that had over its 120-year-plus history engaged in a variety of other entertainment ventures, including a popular line of playing cards and a chain of "love" hotels in Japan — much more respectable and mainstream in Japan than it may sound.) Whatever the complaints about the lack of success for the Mariners in recent years, just about all of the excitement in the club’s history stems from that bold, generous move by Yamauchi. While Mariner CEO Howard Lincoln has asserted the Mariners are not for sale, speculation will surely resume about whether ownership might change with Yamauchi out of the picture. — J.C.
Media Consolidation? Not in our backyard
Sen. Maria Cantwell, in a Senate Committee hearing yesterday, pressed an Obama administration nominee to the Federal Communications Commission on whether he would oppose rules that would allow more media consolidation. She also said her constituents don't take the topic lightly. Cantwell made her opposition to changes clear: “Seattle will turn out thousands of people at a moment’s notice to debate this issue. They don’t like to be force-fed by a concentration of media that says ‘this is what you are going to hear’ or ‘this is what you are going to listen to.’" The Republican nominee, Michael O’Rielly, said that while he wants to review “the complete record in the situation,” he is willing to explore relaxing some of the rules that currently prevent consolidation.
The FCC has debated for almost a year now whether to ease longstanding rules that limit joint ownership of newspaper and broadcast outlets. Supporters say relaxing the rules would allow for much needed investment and innovation in the print-news industry, while opponents say allowing more consolidation would make big-city media more vanilla. Gannett, which recently announced the purchase of Seattle's KING-TV from Belo, would become the fourth largest broadcast group in the U.S., if the FCC approves the deal later this year. — B.L.
Article about mass shootings fires up Spokane
An Atlantic Wire article about using statistics to predict the characteristics of the next mass shooting begins with this jarring sentence, "The next mass shooting will take place on February 12, 2014, in Spokane, Washington." The author, Phillip Bump then dials back his claim in the second paragraph saying, “Every assertion in the first paragraph is a function of probability, not fact.” The article has drawn criticism from the FBI and the Spokane County Sherriff. In an interview with Spokane’s local ABC affiliate, KXLY, Sherriff Ozzie Knezovich called the article, “Junk science.” A columnist in the Spokesman-Review, Doug Clark, went further calling it a, “rancid piece of speculative crap.”
Controversies aside, a paragraph late in the article does mention a less specific, though perhaps more disturbing statistic. In analyzing the data, Bump found that as a state’s population increases, the number of mass shootings increases, which is unremarkable. Washington however, is an outlier. “Washington state has had far more shootings than its population would predict — five incidents where 1.27 might have been expected.” Bump used data compiled by Mother Jones earlier this year. The data set lists five mass shooting incidents in Washington between 1994 and 2013. The incidents include the Federal Way apartment complex shooting that took place earlier this year, the 2012 Café Racer shootings, the 2009 "coffee shop police killings" in Parkland, the 2006 "Capitol Hill massacre," and the 1994 shooting at a Fairchild Air Force Base hospital. The data also shows that three of the five shooters exhibited signs of mental health problems and all five used assault rifles or semi-automatic weapons. — B.L.
Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!