Unethical Journalism, Fear and The Erosion of Civil Liberties

 Unethical Journalism, Fear and The Erosion of Civil Liberties

The level of bias and sensationalism demonstrated by a local Washington State News Media source implying that the tragedy in Waco could happen in Washington is equally shameful and irresponsible. Good journalism explores, researches, and reveals both sides of an issue.  Good journalism embraces truth over surface level and unsubstantiated tabloid tactics.  This is simply not good journalism, it is unethical journalism. This type of sensationalized reporting is exactly what perpetuates the cycle of discrimination and stereotyping that has resulted in an epidemic of profiling nationwide.

There is no balance and no research. The only source is an unidentified and biased Seattle Police Detective that makes claims without validation. A claim without a warrant is not an argument.


“The motorcycle gang culture is a culture of violence. To be a part of that culture is to basically understand that at any time you need to be able to either defend yourself or your organization over a disrespect or a slight.”


Curious why the Seattle Police Detective is not asked why people would ever join a department that has had officers indicted and even been investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for criminal activity?

Unethical Journalism is Always One Sided

There is absolutely no discussion or acknowledgement of the Due Process issues involved with Waco or the idea that the suffering of the innocent outweighs punishing the guilty. It is not once mentioned that over 170 individuals were arrested without individualized probable cause and given $1 million bonds because Waco officials believed those arrested were not being cooperative.  Why would a legitimate news source choose to sensationalize a stereotyped and protected community over a legitimate discussion of the 5th and 8th Amendments?  The answer is simple. A legitimate news source would not.

There is also zero discussion about peaceful political gatherings involving most clubs in Washington State that have been occurring for decades. There is no acknowledgement that government profiling of motorcyclists is illegal in Washington State and that grassroots motorcycle club members were the driving force behind the law (RCW 43.101.419) passed in 2011.  There is also zero discussion about membership in motorcycle clubs being constitutionally protected associations.

Instead of legitimate discussions, Q13 chooses to perpetuate fear through sensationalism, ignoring that the facts surrounding Waco have not yet been revealed. This is irresponsible journalism, particularly when competing narratives are not even acknowledged.  To imply that similar violence could occur in Washington without knowing these facts is specious at best. To imply that the actions of the few define the whole is not only a fallacy of logic, it is illegal in Washington.

These Statements Are Not Only Unethical, They Are Illegal in Washington

RCW 43.101.419 says motorcycle profiling is the illegal practice of using the fact that an individual rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle related paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to take any enforcement action against that individual. This is the law. Membership in a motorcycle club is also constitutionally protected by the 1st Amendment. It is unethical journalism to promote a stereotype that is illegal to use as even a factor in government action.

During the television broadcast a co-anchor interjected stating that he knew a Bandido that was an average working family man. The co-anchor then asked the reporter whether she was saying that all Bandidos were criminals. The reporter replied by not answering the question. She instead replies by asking why any non-criminal would join a club with such a criminal reputation.  This circular answer begs the question.

Many organizations have members with a criminal past. Many organizations have individuals break the law. But the actions of these individuals do not define the entire group. This is called stereotyping, and it is discriminatory. Applying this rationale across the board would impact the majority of legal associations from churches to VFW’s. It is irresponsible, discriminatory, and inconsistent with state and federal law.

Double D is the Spokesperson for the Washington State Council of Clubs, Founder of the Motorcycle Profiling Project, and works with motorcyclists at the national level.

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