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Shea Responds To Criticism Over Web Chat

Ted S Warran/ AP

State Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) is firing back after criticism for participating in a chat event in which a discussion took place calling for violence against people with liberal views. 

The conversation in November of 2017 on the messaging app Signal was reported in the Guardian newspaper.

At that time, Shea and two other men were discussing a supposed Antifa, or antifascist revolt, that never took place.

The discussion focused on ways to confront those Antifa members and others, through surveillance, harassment, and even violence. At least one of those men said Shea himself never discussed using violence.

On his Facebook page, Matt Shea linked to an Australian article that links the author of Guardian article to “violent Marxist revolutionaries.”

But that Australian article from the website XYZ comes from a source with some questionable legitimacy.
Lindsay Schubiner is a spokeswoman for the group Western States Center, which works to counter alt-right and White Nationalism. She says the XYZ site is openly white nationalist.

“Even a cursory look at the site shows deadly anti-semitism such as the harmful conspiracy theory blaming Jews for the 911 attacks. That was in an article published on the site this past fall. Throughout the site you can finds nationalist conspiracy theories that say white people will be replaced by people of color,” Schubiner said.

Also on Tuesday, Democrats in Shea’s 4th legislative district called for his fellow Republicans to take steps against him. Rebekah Mason is one of those Democrats, who said she was delighted when Republicans removed him as the caucus chair earlier this session over a different controversy.

“That was great and I would also love the GOP to take him out of the committees that he is on," she said. "So far they have done nothing but converse with him, but the time for conversation is over.”

In an article in the Spokesman Review, House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox said he was unswayed by the calls from Democrats.

“Threats of political violence have no place in our society and I condemn them in the strongest terms,” Wilcox said.

While the talk of violence was attributed to people other than Shea, he said the statements were “wrong and deeply upsetting” and that he would continue to discuss the matter with Shea.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.
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