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Why just reporting isn’t good enough, verification is necessary

Why just reporting isn’t good enough, verification is necessary

Recently, the local paper has produced what can only be described as awful editorials regardless of which side of the opinion you’re on. As is the paper’s habit, it doesn’t bother building an argument it simply makes a collection of unsupported declarative statements. “Mollusk survival is not their real concern”, for one, and in the case of the recent “mollusk” piece it throws in a few folksy colloquialisms like “that dog won’t hunt”.

Then the paper proceeds to prove they haven’t read the 67 page report from a hearings officer, Andrew Stamp, regarding a natural gas pipeline through Haynes Inlet they claim to be citing. Stamp suggested in his recommendation that the record be re-opened by the Commissioners in order to allow Pacific Connector to correct a technicality opponents of the project had courteously pointed out to them and yet the company failed to correct. The paper calls this “an astonishing ploy” by a local activist.

The paper says the oyster “need not fear a pipeline inflicted slaughter”, but Stamp’s recommendation does not say that these Oysters will be okay. He suggest imposing additional conditions that would be required before the county land use permit would be valid that essentially passes this issue on to the next level. In other words, if his suggested conditions are accepted by the Coos County Commissioners other permitting agencies will have to include these conditions.

This editorial was a deliberate hit piece on Jody McCaffree and the paper ought to be above that sort of thing but resorting to bad information to try and make a point is just plain dishonest.

Next, the paper published a quote from Messerle about federal land ownership in the county. The reporter stands by Messerle’s quote but what Messerle said is false, the federal government does not own half of the county, it owns 24%, and so publishing a wrongful statement without providing the proper information leaves the public with the same bad information. This problem is so pervasive that the paper followed up with another badly written editorial a day later saying the government owns the “lion’s share” of the county. Even the paper believes its own misinformation which should demonstrate the importance of going beyond just stenography when reporting on public matters.

Verifying these quotes doesn’t take a lot of time. Public lands in Coos County, federal, state and local, comprise 33% of the total land mass of more than a million acres. That is not the lion’s share. At least four of the current county candidates, including Messerle have made false statements about public land ownership in Coos County and Oregon and the paper has so far done nothing to correct their own perpetuation of bad information.

If the paper expects to be taken seriously it should respect its readers enough to vet the facts it publishes.

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About magix

Profile photo of magix When my oldest son, a Marine, left for war and crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq in March 2003 I started writing my conscience. After two tours that young combat veteran’s mother is now an ardent peace activist and advocate for social, environmental and economic justice. MGx has matured since those early vents and ramblings and now covers relevant and important local and regional matters in addition to national and global affairs.


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8 Responses to "Why just reporting isn’t good enough, verification is necessary"

  1. themguys  March 4, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Clark buried his “correction” at the very bottom of his vanity column, Cheers and Jeers. He made NO attempt to do the right thing. THAT is not a correction, that is a cowards’ move, a devious one.

    Any high school journalism student would know better how to post a corrections to inform the readers.

    Nothing but a hack.

  2. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-50 alignnone photo of magix
    magix  March 4, 2012 at 7:00 AM

    The World offered a correction in Saturday’s paper
    “Crow eaten here

    Our editorial about the Bandon Marsh exaggerated federal land ownership in Coos County. Though Uncle Sam owns 53 percent of Oregon, the Coos County Assessor’s Office says the local figure is just 20 percent. That doesn’t constitute “the lion’s share,” as we described it. We apologize for the careless wording, but our basic opinion doesn’t change. Moving more private land off the tax rolls and into federal ownership would be a mistake.”

  3. Richard Chasm  March 2, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    The role of both the World in Coos Bay and the News Review in Roseburg is to be shills and pimps for the big timber companies who run the show from the back room. Regardless of one’s political beliefs this is a bad way to run a government. The fact that the goal of the back room is to keep the public hurting for jobs and in the dark shows that they are scared of the public. Vote the morons out. All of them. Keep up the good work Jody and Mary both.

  4. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-50 alignnone photo of magix
    magix  March 2, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    It is sad to see young and promising journalists start as a rookie with such shoddy role models. If MGx could, it would hire a real investigative journalist to cover the county, the Port of Coos Bay and that damned airport district which I just don’t have the time to dig into but is sorely ignored.

  5. Salmonologist  March 2, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    “State says All Is Fine Outside That Mine!”

    “Naturalists Retort-We’ll See You In Court!”

    Is the local cheer squad writing passive-aggressive headlines for The World?

    The World is a disgusting display of lies and misinformation. Although I can happily live without it, and have no birdcages to line, it is distressing to see the lies repeated. I hear a few folks kvetching about the “Feds owning more than half the county”, as if Fred Messerle had an above-room-temperature IQ and wasn’t one of the largest landowners himself.

    I am embarrassed for The World’s reporters – no job is worth abusing the power of the press, and The World is not an award-winning paper. Perhaps if the few remaining honest folks at The World started their own paper, I’d give it a try. For now, they are only doing a disservice to the county and themselves.

  6. themguys  March 2, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    It wouldn’t be so bad if we had a paper that was simply run by a bumbling old fool, we don’t. Everything that is written must be vetted by his handlers, this paper has a very narrow vision and they refuse to do anything but pimp for their cronies’ interests. It would be easier if it was just a lack of professionalism, it is not. Clark will twist himself in knots to please his handlers at SCDC and Chamber of Consorts. The one that sticks in my caw is the splash Clark put up when the Port wanted their last half a million dollars, they set up, and carried on with a bald faced lie about a supposed “emergency” to do so. Well when reported on this very blog, they were lying, just plain old soap in yer mouth lying, there wasn’t one retraction/correction in the World, not one word to tell his readers, “oops, that was a lie”, and bold faced it was , and to this DAY Clark hasn’t seen fit to report the truth, he lets the lies stand, lies he saw fit to print with multiple photos too.

    It’s a sorry day in Maraka folks, when local citizens have to educate themselves, because their paper is owned and controlled by the King in another country. Right back where we started, only the King is US.

    Remember Little Al declaring as truth , publicly, “didn’t you see the poll in the paper last week?” Yes Al, we see them all, and almost every one is put there to serve a purpose, it’s scratch put out to be used by his cronies. It’s dishonest at least, and it’s really disgusting to see the abuse of this estate.

  7. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-50 alignnone photo of magix
    magix  March 2, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    Bice made several good points, not the least of which was his view of the paper. He also accurately noted that you simply cannot run a government like a business. They are two very different animals and while thoroughbreds and cheetahs are both really fast they can’t run in the same race.

  8. ima curious  March 2, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    Has anyone else noticed in recent months that the misleading daily paper editorials of great length follow the preceding days large print lengthy article covering the same subject that is full of editors opinions and light on fact. Anything to fill space of an eight page newspaper. Those who read every page of that excuse for a newspaper will note that since the arrival of the current publishers helper, the editor, who also gives us a lengthy say nothing important several column food article weekly, too many articles are headed in bold type with the word “Disarray”. If the recent immigrant from small town New York editor believes that,the Coos County governemnt and so much more locally is in disarray, send some suggestions to impriove the area.

    Recognizing that it is difficult to love Jim Bice, he like MGX is demonstrating each week on his radio program what you state above. The daily garbage can liner as he refers to it is not a friend of the average Coos County citizen. In recent years the papers circulation has been dropping like a stone while local weekly papers have experienced a surge in circulation. There is reason why the circulation in three counties where the daily paper is sold is less than 9,700. The people want the thruth. Sadly the daily paper has a great small town sports section. Just maybe if Mr. Gunther and Ms. Finney ran that daily paper we would buy it.


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