Cross-posted at Rocket’s Brain Trust
An Army of Davids Strikes – Spokane, WA
UDPATE – SCROLL FOR UPDATES
To All Good Citizens of Spokane:
“All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing” [Link]
As many of you now know the Mark Fuhrman Radio Show was axed by KGA1510 AM (Citadel Broadcasting) in Spokane, WA. While many including the Spokesman-Review (Owned by the Cowles family) have brushed this off as just business a matter, the Mark Fuhrman Show was an important independent voice in the Spokane media market dominated by the Cowles family. Mapleton Communications LLC is purchasing KGA and other Citadel owned stations in Spokane. Apparently Fuhrman’s independent voice was a factor in this sale. After reading the below information, you decide in what manner of “business” this was.
I have information from a reliable source that the Fuhrman Show was in play from the very first contact by Mapleton representatives with Citadel about purchasing KGA. IMHO this was a “hit” plain an simple by a criminal enterprise to cover its ongoing robbery of the citizens of Spokane. This criminal enterprise has so thoroughly and systemically corrupted the political and governmental bodies in Spokane to a level I’ve never witnessed before in my entire thirty-five year law enforcement career.
Terresa Monroe-Hamilton of Media Mythbusters has been kind enough to host at the MMB blog these key informational pieces:
Censorship – All the News Fit to Print (if we like it…)
Timeline for the River Park Square Scandal
BREAKING – Mark Fuhrman’s Radio Show Axed!
There is past pattern and practice re the squelching of investigator reporters in Spokane who have cut to close to the bone of the River Park Square fraud (RPS). The Cowles family was the principal RPS developer. I have documented my suspicions based on my education, training, and experience in a demand letter to Mapleton Communications LLC:
. . . to commission a formal due diligence analysis to determine whether or not there is any involvement in this sales transaction by the Cowles media, Cowles Family Trusts of Spokane, its agents or subsidiary interests either overtly or covertly. Similarly I hereby request that you provide me with a copy of this analysis prior to closing of this transaction. The reason for this request is that Cowles cross ownership of media in Spokane appears to already violate the regulatory scheme, and perhaps the letter, of FCC regulation of the public airways that it holds in trust for the public. Not only would such a violation be serious in of itself, evidence suggests that violation could be part of a much broader ongoing criminal enterprise. For this reason I am now researching the filing of a complaint with the FCC.
There is evidence to suggest that the Cowles family is also using its ownership of the Spokesman-Review to control and censor the free flow of information to misinform the people who would if so informed hold their elected and appointed governmental officials accountable:
Coincidently there is a move to systematically censor comments in the Spokesman-Review blogs re the cancellation of the Fuhrman Show that provided links to useful alternative sources of information such as Camas Magazine. In fact S-R [Editor] Steve Smith responded to a post re the squelching of Tom Grant with such wanton and reckless disregard for the facts that some termed libelous[*]. When challenged by Tom Grant, Smith had to issue an online apology in the S-R Blogs. On one hand Mr. Smith’s careless shooting from the hip would call into question his fitness to be the editor of a major metropolitan newspaper or perhaps on the other hand and more sinister a calculated hit to misinform the readers as to the credibility of Tom Grant to sway public opinion away from what Camas Magazine [www.camasmagazine.com] has amassed in their archives as the product of Kooks, Nutsos, Conspiracy Theorist, or from the realm of little green men. Mr. Smith has regularly referred to the award winning independent investigative journalists Larry Shook and Tim Conner of Camas Magazine as being such.
* As a sidenote Prof. Glenn Reynolds a Univ of TN law professor (AKA Instapundit – the granddaddy of all bloggers) has a new law review article re blog libel:
Libel in the Blogosphere: Some Preliminary Thoughts
This self-censoring is no new phenomena as this practice goes back decades as an entrenched “No Surprises” policy regarding references to the Cowles family in the S-R’s newsroom as reported by Larry Shook in “Spokane’s Toothless Watchdog” (Seattle Weekly, April 13th, 1983. Archived at Camas Magazine under “Past as Prologue”):
The Cowles media, over the years, have practiced what Spaniards under Franco called autocensura, self-censorship. More than one Cowles reporter has been heard to say that inside the paper one simply learns what can and cannot be written about without actually being told. Bob Jebb, a former editorial writer at the Spokesman-Review, now living in New Hampshire, says he found it very difficult to write about any local issues because of the sway various financial interests seemed to have over the paper. He says Cowles and former managing editor Jim Bracken “used to try to discourage me from writing about just about anything. But they would never say you can’t write something. They would just discourage me. Or I would write an editorial they didn’t like and they would say, ‘We can’t use it…’” Jebb eventually resigned in protest.
Reporters, too, talk about a “no-surprise” policy whereby any story containing reference to the Cowles family businesses must be seen by the publisher before appearing in print. One Chronicle editor is quick to point out that this policy is fairly common within the industry–but in a town where the publisher controls nearly one-third of all downtown real estate, as Cowles does, it may take on a slightly different significance.
Read and decide as to the journalistic integrity and professionalism of Tim Conner and Larry Shook in this damning investigative piece in the archives of Camas Magazine, “Inside Job.” This report on its face alone should have led to federal indictments of the players a long time ago:
Three years ago the River Park Square developer and allies in city government confronted a multimillion dollar collateral shortfall. The money was found at city hall and carefully removed. Almost without a trace.
Mind you Connor and Shook have challenged on many occasion the Spokesman-Review to refute any of the information and documentation that they have amassed in their seven year investigation of the RPS fraud. Editor Mr. Smith will not respond or refute the evidence Connor and Shook have gathered. Mr. Smith broadly waves them off and dismisses them out of hand as Kooks, Nutsos, or Conspiracy Theorists. More telling is that none of the parties involved that have been fronted by Connor and Shook have sued for libel.
I for one will not wear as I walk the streets of Spokane a sign on my back that says “Rob Me!” IMHO the RPS fraud is nothing more than a street robbery perpetrated by a clever group of thugs.
Good people of Spokane its time for us to collectively rise up and storm the Bastille to restore the heart and soul of Spokane and to restore a government that WE THE PEOPLE empower to govern.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE – An Army of Davids Strikes
Larry Shook of Camas Magazine sent along this additional follow-up. Also there is a Mark Fuhrman fan site in the works that should be online shortly at:
Thanks for sharing this with me. It’s worth noting that while Steve Smith, the current editor of The Spokesman-Review, dismisses as empty conspiracy theory charges that his employers used their newspaper to suppress evidence of fraud in their River Park Square project, that is exactly the danger that some of the paper’s own reporters complained of, albeit perhaps implicitly. In any case, the mountainous evidence produced as part of the RPS securities fraud case and IRS investigation removes any doubt that the essential character of the RPS deal was fraudulent. Similarly, the evidence shows clearly that the Cowles family’s use of its media was an integral part of that fraud. I believe the fraud rises to the level of criminality because of the abundant evidence showing that the developer and city officials INTENDED to violate the law. That aside, consider the following brief excerpt from “All In The Family,” the Camas story that took first place in the media reporting category in the national Alternative Newsweekly Awards in 2002:
Reporters understood their stories were sent “upstairs” for more than spell-checking.
Spokesman-Review readers learned from Alison Boggs’s story the next morning only the barest facts. The city council had given its final approval to the $100 million downtown redevelopment project, even though “the garage’s parking revenues could be put at risk because of parking validation programs.”
In other words, the city council ordered the Coopers and Lybrand study (at a cost of $80,000), then ignored its serious warnings. Spokesman-Review editors ignored them, too, against the recommendation of a veteran reporter.
Rewriting River Park Square
Four years later, Camden brought this up at Chris Peck’s public roundtable discussion. The reporter was agitated enough that EWU journalism professor William Stimson, one of the invited guests, thought Camden “had something he wanted to get off his chest.”
Reporter Oliver Staley had something he wanted to get off his chest, too. Another guest asked publisher Stacey Cowles if River Park Square stories had received special editing treatment from him or his sister. No, said Cowles; he only checked the stories for spelling. (At least one Spokesman-Review reporter found Cowles’s statement insulting. It was generally assumed, said the reporter, that the policy of sending River Park Square stories “upstairs” involved more than spell-checking.)
On the spot Staley registered his disagreement with Cowles’s offhand assurance. The young city hall reporter then said a River Park Square story of his had been rewritten over his objections.
When asked recently about this incident Staley explained that the story in question was fairly innocuous. It merely pointed out that the Spokane Nordstrom store would not have many of the lavish features of the Seattle flagship. Staley’s recollection was that Nordstrom itself wanted this understood so as not to falsely raise expectations in Spokane.
“I feel that if we were writing about a new Bon Marche,” said Staley, “I don’t think the story would have raised any eyebrows. But it did raise eyebrows, and I was given an opportunity to either rewrite it or not run it. I said, ‘I think we should run it, but I’m not going to rewrite it.’ It was rewritten.”
Staley wouldn’t tell me who rewrote it. (Chris Peck subsequently told me the story was rewritten by a business editor.)
Why was it rewritten?
To satisfy concerns of River Park Square’s “landlord,” said Staley. Was that a reference to Betsy Cowles?
“That’s how it was related to me,” said Staley. “My understanding is it was read by both Stacey and Betsy, and both Stacey and Betsy had concerns about it… I was not in a room with Stacey and Betsy. There was a sort of a shuttle diplomacy kind of a thing, where my stories would be taken upstairs and discussed and brought back.”
Were stories involving the Cowleses handled differently from other stories?
“Oh, clearly,” he said. “They’re the only sources who pre-approve the story.”
According to Staley, the attitude toward reporting on River Park Square has since changed at the Spokesman-Review. Until 2000, he says, there had been a “top-down philosophy that… this is not a story that we are going to aggressively report.”
Staley says he isn’t exactly sure why the newspaper decided to begin reporting more thoroughly on River Park Square. Whatever the reason, by the time he and Camden began working the story, the mall deal was set in concrete.
Staley says Spokesman-Review reporters have long “chafed” about the problem posed by their owners’ involvement in River Park Square. “As you can appreciate, it’s not something you’re really enthusiastic about. It’s a real uphill battle in terms of morale. It’s kind of hard to muster the enthusiasm to wade into a situation that’s a real conflict of interest.”
It’s worth reading “All In The Family” in its entirety (www.camasmagazine.com ) in order to fully appreciate the nature of S-R editor Steve Smith’s protestations. Best, Larry
I posted a link to this piece in the S-R’s editorial blog, “A Matter of Opinion.” As you can see this comment was immediately killed. I sent a protest to S-R OP-ED Editor Doug Floyd who also moderates this blog. S-R Editor Mr. Smith responded.
Read and decide if someone is protesting a little much:-)
*The Mark Fuhrman Show?*
I see in today’s paper there was an OP-ED letter lamenting on the demise of
the Mark Fuhrman Show and wondering if he will reappear on another local
station. I was going to post a note in the lively Fuhrman discussion
few days ago but the comments are now closed.
I just updated my blog with this piece that on the significance of the loss
of the Furhamn Show. It has new link to a Fuhrman fan site that is in the
Subject: Mr. Floyd – Blatant Censorship at A Matter of Opinion yet again!
I appreciate your reply of the other day. I just posted the following
self-explanatory comment in the Friday loose thread at A Matter of Opinion
This is a screen print with your server’s time stamp on it that goes back to
this thread however my comment disappeared within minutes of its posting.
Unless I’m mistaken this is blatant censorship. There wasn’t anything
objectionable here except that Mr. Smith may not favor the contents of my
link over. How about letting the readers decide for themselves? This
selective censorship in the S-R Blogs is becoming very annoying. Filter or
kill what you wish but as I’ve said before this is not Russia, China, Iran,
or Saudia Arabia the last time I checked.
If you’re going to host blogs then it should be incumbent you to follow the
generally accepted blog customs re killing comments. Further if your going
to kill comments you should announce to the readers that you have done so.
To not disclose the killing of comments misinforms your readers.
I’ve been tolerant. I don’t flame. I’m generally very civil although my
credibility has been challenged many times by Mr. Smith however I haven’t
In a free society critical debate of issues of the day is what sets us apart
from ideologies that have failed e.g ., our current war with Islamofascism
which is still stuck in the 7th Century after disapproving/squelching of
criticism of those in power.
There is an interesting legal issue developing here re this selective
censorship. If this continues I may come out of character as RBT and
challenge the S-R Editorial staff from my real persona re your involvement
in something you may not be aware.
On Dec 2, 2007 3:14 PM, Steve Smith < SteveS@spokesman.com> wrote:
This will be my last communication with you re: your postings. In a free society, you are free to express your opinions where you want and where you can without government interference. You have numerous resources at your command. As you have noted, the blogosphere is bigger, in your view more accurate, and more activist than our newspaper or anyone other element of the so-called MSM. You are free to accesss the Internet. You are free to publish pamphlets, post bulletins on phone polls, write The Inlander, the CDA Press and talk on the radio.
But newspapers are not absolute open forums. We have many rules regarding content we publish. We reject letters to the editor for any number of reasons. We reject advertising that fails to meet standards. We are in charge of the content we publish or post. That isn’t censorship, that is editorial control. You may mount a legal challenge. You will lose.
Our blogs exist at our pleasure. We have opened our doors for unprecedented examination of our internal workings and processes. But we have banned some posters for inappropriate postings. We have banned you from certain topics because there is nothing new. We will await events. You should, too.
We have told you we will not let you use our blogs to post your looney tooney conspiracy theories. We won’t let you use our blogs to call our owners criminals, our journalists criminals or worse. We won’t let you link to Camas. We won’t let you make vague threats or recruit fellow travelers to take some unspecified but “you’ll-regret-it-Spokesman-Review” investigation. We have also told fellow posters of the restrictions we have placed on you.
RBT, you know the rules. Follow them and post on the many other topics here or go away. Keep this nonsense up and we’ll simply ban you altgether.
As to going public under your real name, do it. We know who you are. Most folks on Hucks know. Go for it. Your credibility isn;t tied to your name, but to your actions.
If you want to challenge us legally for anything we’re involved in, just do it. No more vague threats and hinted at actions. Put up or, with all due respect, shut up.
If you don’t like this decision, blame me. No need to write the others, this is now my call and I have made it. Take it public. Mail your buddies. Use your blog. Call The Inlander, The Washington News Council, the WSU journalism department. Call President Bush. Call whoever you want. You will get the attention and respect you deserve.
So, RBT, please take off your tin hat long enough to understand what I’m telling you. Got it? Good.
I don’t know if you’re responding to my post to Mr. Floyd. Your call but my opinion still stands – this is censorship. You ask me to put up. I will address that in the near future.
Instead of attacking me as some “loon” how about for once addressing where the folks at Camas are in error or have their facts wrong. Seems to me this is what the paper of record in Spokane owes and is obligated to its readers.
My read of their stuff is that they are not conspiracy theorists. Trust me I’ve dealt with a number of conspiracy theorist professionally.
Larry Smith of Camas Magazine had this oberservation:
Thanks, Ron. Again, I personally consider Smith’s rhetoric too tedious and transparent to bother with. He writes:
“But newspapers are not absolute open forums. We have many rules regarding content we publish. We reject letters to the editor for any number of reasons. We reject advertising that fails to meet standards. We are in charge of the content we publish or post. That isn’t censorship, that is editorial control. You may mount a legal challenge. You will lose.”
It seems to me that he makes an interesting assertion here. Namely, that newspaper’s are above the law. Fraud is illegal. “Editorial control” for the purpose of furthering fraud must necessarily be illegal, too. Again, I believe the evidence is overwhelming that the River Park Square transaction turned on multiple commissions of fraud. The bondholders cited 91 instances of securities fraud, and the city agreed with them by paying $45 million to purchase their claim. As I have also said, I believe an abundance of evidence exists on the Camas site showing that The Spokesman-Review’s “editorial control” had the effect of furthering the River Park Square fraud. Again, I believe that the Camas editorial package “Inside Job,” all by itself, proves that point. Smith can rale all he wants about the outrage of accusing his paper of suborning fraud, but until he, his employers and colleagues face and refute the evidence that that’s exactly what happened, his protests are empty.
If I’m right, that the evidence shows that The Spokesman-Review was used in the commission of a massive public fraud, that the paper is an integral part of systemic public corruption in Spokane, I doubt that a legal challenge based on that evidence would “lose,” as Smith so confidently predicts.If the legal challenge is ever brought, and the evidence is found true, but the law is not enforced, the real loser will be American democracy itself. Even Smith should be able to comprehend what an unspeakably tragic event that would be. Meanwhile, his stance seems to be that he has no journalistic duty to look at the evidence himself. He seems to be saying that that’s the job of others. And he seems to be gambling that they won’t do their job. I guess he’s just playing the odds, which is what gamblers do. Best wishes, Larry Shook
STAY TUNED – The gloves are about to come off:-)