Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wanted: A Newspaper in Coeur d'Alene

I cancelled my subscription to The Spokesman Review yesterday. My reason was that the quality of its news coverage in north Idaho has deteriorated steadily over the past few months. I had seen the deterioration long before the newspaper announced it would be laying off news staff.

An example: The Spokesman Review no longer routinely sent a reporter to every City Council meeting, let alone commission meetings. It appeared as if a Spokesman Review reporter showed up only after receiving a press release or phone call from the city telling the newspaper that the city would be doing something newsworthy (meaning generating good publicity for the city). Journalism or PR flackery? It was the latter. It will be even moreso now that the number of Idaho reporters has been reduced dramatically.

The Coeur d'Alene Press is no better and no worse than The Spokesman Review at reporting news completely and objectively. The Spokesman Review's editor claims the owners and business side of the newspaper do not influence the news coverage. That is a laugh. At least the Press doesn't even make that specious claim.

The writer(s) of a November 7, 2007, Press editorial titled Whew! Glad that's all over said, "If critics of the Coeur d'Alene City Council, Lake City Development Corp., Kroc Community Center, Mickey Mouse Retirement Village or any other publicly financed entities have proof of unethical or illegal activities by officials, produce it and let the proper authorities do their jobs. The Press will publish the outcomes of any such investigations upon their completion. In the meantime, our reporters will not be writing stories on allegations or speculation."

Read that again carefully. The Coeur d'Alene Press said editorially it will not publish stories demonstrating unethical or illegal activities by officials unless the "proper authorities" conduct an investigation and make the results public. Who would the "proper authorities" be? The Mayor? The City Council? The LCDC Board? The Board of Directors of Mountain West Bank? The prosecuting attorney? Advertisers? Who?

I wonder if it occurred to the editor and publisher of the Coeur d'Alene Press they have just said they will take reportorial direction from the "proper authorities?" How can readers not reasonably conclude that if the "proper authorities" want a story killed, it's killed.

Does the Press not understand that sometimes public officials ("proper authorities") are dishonest and unethical? Does the Press not understand that it has a responsibility to gather and report information independently so we, the people, have trustworthy information, not the propaganda and self-serving crap that flows from City Hall?

The last line about reporters not writing stories on allegations or speculation was gratuitous foot-stomping. No one expects any newspaper to publish stories based on allegations and speculation. But some of us wish the Press would diligently follow up and investigate allegations when a reasonable person reading the allegation and supporting proof would conclude something newsworthy is there. If there's no factual basis, then there's no story.

We don't have a newspaper in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. I wish we did.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly the city is at the whim and decision of 2 privately held news sources each with its own personal and obtuse agendas. The public be damned and they are indeed! Hagadone got hisself in a tizzy over his garden so he allowed the Press to be a haven for a certain level of public dissent. He kept his distance and he kept any formal endorsement from possibly tarnishing any salvageable relationship with the powers that be. The SR is a joke. They can't even finesse. They just bald faced support corruption. In the mean time the common citizen is held responsible to find out on their own about a crooked gov't who keeps their activities off the radar screen. They're so used to it around here that they see no value to wasting their time voting. The one unimpeachable wrench in the works is providence itself that may indeed squelch this Mayor with malignant melanoma. Just desserts I say.

3:08 PM, November 10, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


You've said it very well. In particular, I'd agree that The Spokesman Review has knowingly and willingly turned a blind eye to the corruption in Coeur d'Alene, maybe in north Idaho as a whole.

In my opinion, The Spokesman-Review has a clear bias favoring north Idaho corruption, and that is what caused me to cancel my subscription and to lose any trust for any of the reporters and editors associated with that paper.

7:54 AM, November 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Unbelievable what I've just read here.

commenter: "The one unimpeachable wrench in the works is providence itself that may indeed squelch this Mayor with malignant melanoma. Just desserts I say."

Bill McCrory: "You've said it very well."

Bill, you've just endorsed and wished cancer on another human being, Mayor Sandi Bloem. I'm utterly appalled. I hope your colleagues at your church don't see this as a Christian gesture. I sure don't.

I'm guessing you won't let this post be on your site without editing it or the offending comments (theirs and yours), but at least you'll know that there are some who understand your unedited thoughts and who think you should be deeply, deeply ashamed of yourself.

5:04 PM, November 11, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


No, I would not wish cancer on anyone else. Reread my response to the other "anonymous" and you'll see that my agreement was explicitly with the allegations concerning north Idaho corruption. I chose not to comment on the last two sentences in the other "anonymous" comments.

5:27 PM, November 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill, when you allow that sort of personally vindictive type of hateful comment to stand, you endorse it. On your part it is a sin of omission.

5:38 PM, November 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Silence usually means approval.

There is a cancer in this town, and I believe it is in the hearts of people like you.

5:57 PM, November 11, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

Anonymous and Anonymous,

Thanks for reading and commenting. I do not feel obligated to respond to every word of every opinion expressed by someone else on my blog. If an anonymous commenter expresses a personal opinion, my failure to comment on it does not signify that I either adopt or reject that opinion or parts of it. It does signify that I respect anyone's right to have and express an opinion, regardless of my agreement or disagreement with it. That is the essence of free speech. However, when it is brought to my attention that one of my own comments has been misinterpreted, I will do my best to correct the misinterpretation. Again, thank you for reading and commenting.

8:32 PM, November 11, 2007  

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