In “Inquiry finds state lawmaker engaged in domestic terrorism” [Dec. 20, A1], The Seattle Times refers to the Patriot Movement as “a loose organization of conservative groups and individuals in mostly rural areas that includes organized militia members and so-called sovereign citizens …” [my italics].

The use of the word “conservative” to describe what are truly radical, far-right — often overtly racist — individuals and groups does a disservice not only to true conservatives of the kind who, pre-Newt Gingrich, pre-tea party, used to dominate the Republican Party, but to the English language itself.

The Times is not alone in the misuse and abuse of the term; it’s all too common throughout the mainstream media. But, until media like The Times re-examines how it defines “conservative,” they will continue to lend a degree of respectability or legitimacy to those, like state Rep. Matt Shea, who clearly don’t deserve it.

Jim Lobe, Seattle