NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, September 26th, 2014

American Academy of Pediatrics condemns Tim Eyman for use of obscene, violent image

Tim Eyman’s deci­sion to use an obscene, repul­sive image to illus­trate a polit­i­cal attack email against King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine (which I wrote about a few days ago) has drawn out­rage and con­dem­na­tion from many quar­ters, in addi­tion to fur­ther cement­ing Eyman’s well-deserved rep­u­ta­tion as a pur­vey­or of destruc­tive ini­tia­tives and prac­ti­tion­er of tox­ic politics.

But one orga­ni­za­tion in par­tic­u­lar was incensed (and cer­tain­ly has every rea­son to be): the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Pedi­atrics, which rep­re­sents doc­tors spe­cial­iz­ing in chil­dren’s med­i­cine. The AAP is a respect­ed orga­ni­za­tion of med­ical pro­fes­sion­als with chap­ters in all fifty states, includ­ing Wash­ing­ton. Today, the pres­i­dent of the AAP’s Wash­ing­ton chap­ter, Dr. Mar­garet E. Hood, sent the fol­low­ing let­ter to King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine and Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee.

Dear Exec­u­tive Constantine:

I am writ­ing to you on behalf of the near­ly 1,000 Wash­ing­ton pedi­a­tri­cians who are mem­bers of the Wash­ing­ton Chap­ter of the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Pedi­atrics (WCAAP), to express our out­rage at the vio­lent image includ­ed with a recent email sent by Tim Eyman to his sup­port­ers, leg­is­la­tors and the media.

Gun vio­lence is a very real pub­lic health threat in our coun­try. Firearm-relat­ed deaths remain one of the top three caus­es of death for Amer­i­can youth, and our state’s youth have not been spared: a child or teen is killed by gun­fire every 9 days in Wash­ing­ton State.

In light of these facts, gra­tu­itous use of an image of a woman hold­ing a gun to a child’s head is shock­ing and abhor­rent. As pedi­a­tri­cians whose mis­sion is to ensure the health and well-being of chil­dren, we could not let Mr. Eyman’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion go with­out remark. In clos­ing we wish to go on record as strong­ly object­ing to such inap­pro­pri­ate pub­lic use of this hor­ri­ble image for ill gain.

Sin­cere­ly,

Mar­garet E. Hood, MD, FAAP
Pres­i­dent, Wash­ing­ton Chap­ter of the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Pediatrics

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Tim Eyman has no regrets about using the obscene, vio­lent image that Dr. Hood spoke of. KIRO 7 asked if he had any “moral com­punc­tion” about using it. Eyman replied, “I did­n’t”. He ought to know bet­ter — he’s a father.

If Tim Eyman had any decen­cy, he nev­er would have used the image in the first place. If he had any shame, he would have real­ized imme­di­ate­ly that he had exer­cised poor judg­ment, and apol­o­gized. But he lacks both.

Hav­ing worked against Tim’s ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry for over twelve years, I’m sor­ry to say that Tim’s ugly, stinky, and dis­gust­ing behav­ior does not shock me, as it did Dr. Hood and her col­leagues. I wish it did. But this is what I’ve come to expect from Tim Eyman. He can turn on the charm in per­son when he wants to, but more often he acts like a child throw­ing a tem­per tantrum and hurl­ing insults. And when he’s behind a com­put­er screen, he acts like a troll. It’s sad.

Eyman clear­ly has a need for atten­tion. If too much time goes by when he does­n’t appear in the news, he con­cocts a stunt aimed at get­ting cov­er­age. There was a peri­od of time when he was dress­ing up in cos­tume for his media events — he’s appeared as Darth Vad­er, Buzz Lightyear, a goril­la, and a prison inmate.

I want to stress as much as I can that Eyman is only rel­e­vant because he has enablers — peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions who give him mon­ey, ink, air­time, and pixels.

There are a num­ber of wealthy bene­fac­tors who have kept gears of his ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry lubri­cat­ed with mon­ey: the late Michael Dun­mire, Kem­per Free­man, Jr., Great Cana­di­an Gam­ing and oth­er com­pa­nies in the gam­bling indus­try, the Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton Busi­ness, and big oil com­pa­nies like BP and ConocoPhillips.

The lat­est Eyman bene­fac­tors are Repub­li­cans Faye Gar­neau and Suzie Burke of Seat­tle, who are under the sore­ly mis­tak­en impres­sion that Eyman is some­body they can work with and trust. (Eyman is attempt­ing to launch an ini­tia­tive that would over­turn the the $15/hour min­i­mum wage enact­ed in Seat­tle and SeaTac.)

But they aren’t the only ones.

Wash­ing­ton’s mass media is com­plic­it, too, for repeat­ed­ly and inde­fen­si­bly giv­ing Tim Eyman a plat­form to attack our elect­ed lead­ers from.

To KIRO 7’s cred­it, they have been will­ing to talk to us and oth­er Eyman oppo­nents when oth­er reporters could­n’t be both­ered, as has C.J. Dou­glas over at Q13.

But when Eyman cir­cu­lates some­thing that is obvi­ous­ly sto­ry bait and not news, we would all be best served if nobody touched it, not even hon­or­able and pro­fes­sion­al jour­nal­ists like KIRO 7’s Essex Porter. Our polit­i­cal dis­course is already pol­lut­ed enough. As Eyman is not will­ing to behave like an adult, he has no place in the con­ver­sa­tion around bud­get­ing, tax reform, or fis­cal responsibility.

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