Matt Driscoll

You rip, I respond: In which our local columnist offers some love (or not) to his haters

Readers rip into Tacoma news columnist, he responds

The News Tribune columnist Matt Driscoll debuts a video where he responds to readers’ emails.
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The News Tribune columnist Matt Driscoll debuts a video where he responds to readers’ emails.

I get emails. A lot of them.

Some are pleasant. Some of them … not so pleasant.

Recently, my editor, Adam Lynn, came to me with an idea: What if I was to dedicate one column a month replying to some of the more vitriolic dispatches? Then, what if we made a video to accompany the column, so readers could get a glimpse into what it’s like to open my email inbox each morning?

For some reason, I agreed.

It’s a feature we’re calling “You rip, I respond.” It will run the last Sunday of each month, and you’re reading the first-ever installment. The video is also available online.

I hope you enjoy.

And, as always, you can rip me whenever the moment moves you at

You guys just don’t get it. You are the problem … the fact that you think that not voting for a criminal corrupt career politician makes white people stupid (and you and your colleagues do insinuate this all of the time) is insulting and just makes us like Trump more. — John

Putting aside the Clinton-Trump debate for a moment, there’s a point here worth acknowledging.

The national media does operate in a bubble — clustered in big cities along both coasts. Often, the coverage this produces has been insulting, relying heavily on white working-class stereotypes and, in doing so, feeding the negative perception of the media that’s so often expressed.

While the media bubble is nothing new, the situation has been exacerbated by the financial struggles of smaller daily newspapers across the country. As they’ve shed jobs (or ceased to exist altogether), the problem has only become more pronounced.

According to a recent Politico article, by last year “more than half of publishing employees worked in counties that Clinton won by 30 points or more.”

That’s obviously problematic. It colors perceptions. So, when readers claim the media is “out of touch” with white working-class Americans outside of major metropolitan areas, they have an argument to make.

I get the resentment.

Still, if Trump is your answer to all this … we’ve got issues.

You wrote about racial harmony in today's paper. Well, here's your answer: President Obama set us back 60 years on race relations. — Anonymous

I’m always fascinated by this argument. And not in a good way. I think it’s sadly revealing of some very troubling truths about this country.

During Obama’s eight years in office, we experienced increased and organized opposition to biased policing and police brutality against communities of color. Institutional racism, bigotry and white supremacy all were rightly challenged. People of color, and their white allies, stood up to injustice and inequality.

While this might be uncomfortable for the dominant white culture, those are all conversations that needed to happen. They need to continue happening, and they need to result in real change.

At the same time, here’s a quick list of things that also emerged or reached new heights during Obama’s presidency:

▪ The Tea Party movement.

▪ The Birther movement.

▪ The white nationalist movement.

So, yes, perhaps racial tensions — at least visible ones — did increase during Obama’s eight years in office.

And you know what? Questions about why that is fall squarely on white people.

You just sit and write (expletive) from home? — Brian

Thanks for the note, Bri. Typically, I write (expletive) from the office.

Referring to illegals as “Tacoma residents” and “Tacomans” as you do in your article is such obvious bait it insults the intelligence of even liberals. All it shows me is that you and the TNT are very desperate to compete for readership, advertising, and comments with all the other cheap media trash out there. I don't pay for the TNT. I read it for free online because I grew up in Tacoma long before you were born. I keep cookies blocked and use an adblocker. — Brian

Wow. Pretty solid #lifehack there from ol’ Brian.

Wait … is this the same Brian?

What I would like to know, Matt, is do you drive a car to work or do you own a car? If so, isn’t it a bit hypocritical of you to be against fossil-fuel development? If you could prove that you never use any form of transportation, or don’t own anything made of petroleum, then I guess you can (complain) about it. Otherwise, shut up and stop being hypocritical!! Susan

It is not hypocritical to own a car, drive that car when life necessitates it, and — at the same time — realize that continued dependence on fossil fuels is unsustainable and comes at our planet’s peril.

In fact, it’s pretty much the reality we’re faced with. That breaking the fossil fuel-dependency cycle and still being a functioning member of society requires so much effort is a big part of the problem. We need to continue to support initiatives and policies that make it easier to live without fossil fuels.

Now, when I don’t bring my reusable bags to the grocery store, that’s hypocritical!