UPDATE:  The Currency of the New Media

My remark that was pulled from S-R Editor Steve Smith’s blog “News is a Conversation,” in the post Greetings from Reno has interesting reappeared after porn spam was deleted from this thread.  This thread has continued on with a lively debate regarding accountability of the MSM and the new media.  Two commenters, David Brookbank and Green Libertarian, who take issue with my views regarding the GWOT actually agreed with my comments.

“Ron the Cop”

Here’s Mr. Brookbank’s comment:

Given the topic of this “News is a Conversation” thread is review & critique, transparency, and ethics, all as applied to the conversation about news in the context of the Spokesman-Review, I find it very appropriate that this particular evenings conversation has come to rest at Dick Wright’s comments on Det. Ron Wright.

Let me start by saying I am pleased to see that Det. Wright has chosen to identify himself by name, and left behind his old monikers of Rocketsbrain and RBT. I can only hope that other law enforcement participating here and at other S-R blogs will do the same.

Why do I say that? Because he has something valuable to contribute and his credibility is enhanced — or at least not detracted from — by his use of those aliases.

What some see as his “obsession” with certain aspects of the Cowles business, potential conflicts of interest (which abound, in potential at least, if not, on occasions, in inevitable reality), and the River Park Square parking garage can be seen as a solid focus on one of his areas interest. In that sense, he is one of the experts that the S-R says it wants to make use of in the type of community dialog it envisions for its online presence. Ron Wright believes the courts have yet to fully speak on the matter of River Park Square and I see no reason to object to his often excellent analysis. (True, I have problems with other aspects of his world view, mostly dealing with foreign policy, and have made that known in other S-R threads and on my own blog.)

Two points on which to commend Det. Wright:

1) I greatly admire the quality of his blog, from a technical perspective. It is attractive and very functional. You will excuse me if I borrow ideas from it, Det. Wright, or even ask you a periodic question about how you did this or that.

2) Whether the S-R publishers and editors or others like it or agree, Det. Wright has become an important source of critique and a storehouse of information on the 125 year old Spokesman, the city’s only daily paper. His blog appears on its way to becoming a legitimate source for those looking for a place to go for info on the S-R and for quotes from other sources, incl. current & former S-R reporters (such as Bob Jebb) and other important Spokane journalists (such as Tom Grant, Larry Shook & Tim Conner). When a single family & its business interests casts the sort of shadow that the Cowles family enterprises inevitably do over the reporting of reality in a region & over the business environment shaping the lives of the residents of that town and region, a voice — however grating some may find it — such as Det. Wright’s is a very valuable voice in our system of checks and balances. There is no need for conspiracy theories to appreciate an aggressively critical eye being applied to forces as powerful as newspapers and police departments.

Finally Det. Wright’s reposting of certain things censored from the S-R blogs — such as his response to Green Libertarian’s question about the Department of Justice methodology used to determine what percentage of the media the S-R controls in the Spokane area (80%, by the way)– and his reflections on censorship in historical and contemporary contexts are very valid and, perhaps most importantly, very local.

After all, many a comment or line of thought has been rejected or deflected by the S-R online staff with the generalized defense that the S-R really is about reporting local news and events.

As much as it used to bother me, Det. Roctetsbrain is now local. Go to it, bro.

Posted by David Brookbank  |  16 Mar 11:55 PM

Green Libertarian added this comment:

Oh fer Gawd’s sakes, people.

Anyone and everyone paying attention KNOWS the chicanery that went down with the RPS deal [my emphasis]. It’s plain on it’s face. Cowles decided they needed a $10-20M infusion (from the tax-payers) to make the project “pencil out”.

Thru a series of convoluted moves and bogus parking studies, they conned the City Council into it. The IRS, WSJ, Camas/The Local Planet blew the whistle on the deal and the thing unravelled, still, Jim West, a “made man” if there ever was one, and the Council signed off on the bail out deal when the fundamentals on the project (HUD loan etc) went south. The taxpayers in the City of Spokane (not a rich bunch, mind you) are on the hook for not only the original “public/private” capital infusion but millions of attorney fees that the sham deal generated, and will be paying such for many years, if not decades. Standard operating procedure or the monied elites. Basically the same scam happened in Seattle as well. Go Nordy’s!

In the end, the project helped spur additional DT development, which probably won’t recapture the cost of this fiasco to city coffers, however, especially at the time, the alternative was in fact looking rather bleak. Travelled much, seen cities of Spokane’s size with completely decimated downtowns? I have. They’re all over the country.

So don’t shop at Nordy’s if it’s too pricey, and it is. But definitely eat at Chick-N-More and support that DT business.

Posted by green libertarian  |  17 Mar 5:44 PM

I posted these additional comments:

Mr. Brookbank,

I’m shocked and literally stunned that we are in agreement on something. Even though we may differ on issues regarding the GWOT, we can agree on others. Regarding accountability of the MSM, this is the exact point I’ve been trying to make here and when I linked to this excellent piece at a new media outlet Pajamas Media:

The Power of New Media on the Presidency

Garyc apparently failed to notice I’ve agreed somewhat with his opinion on Boeing losing the tanker contract and cited concurring views in the Blogos.

I working on recruiting some local correspondents with expertise in other others. I mentioned a possible story on the frozen meat being buried in the Nortside Landfill. I’ve also developed a contact who is very familiar with the circumstances surrounding the AMR over billing fraud.

Yes, my interests regarding Spokane seem to focus on the owners of the S-R, their development projects, and their cross-ownership of media in the Spokane Regional Market that is monopolistic in nature. As I’ve said above there is an inherent conflict of interest with their development interests. Actually I feel compelled based on my professional training, education, and experience to do so. There were many times in my professional career I let some cases slide because of time constraints. I no longer have those constraints and I’m repaying my civic duty debt.

My significant other and I chose to relocate to the Spokane Area because of its many excellent attributes e.g., three major and lesser educational institutions, three major health/research institutions, a fine airport, arts and culture, four seasons and banana belt climate, lack of geologic and natural hazards, three malls with the usual stores, Lowes and Home Depot, unique geology and landscape, somewhat unPC Russian is the “second language”, and friendly people. The one thing lacking is a “normal” political/governmental environment. This is a “company town” than needs to shed its apron strings in order to evolve, prosper and grow.

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)

Posted by Det. Ron Wright (Retired)  |  17 Mar 10:21 AM


Gee this is a real landmark day! GL and I agree on something too.

Garyc, yes there will always be a need for reporters who can aggregate/assimilate info for readers. Citizen journalism however is a little different. These are more narratives and opinions will be expressed. It’s the nature of the beast. Blog readers I’m sure are aware of this and hence my recommendation about surveying the views on many blogs. I too am curious why Spokane seems lacking in the diversity of local blogs. Perhaps HBO has spawned the interest of bloggers in Northern Idaho. We need a similar incubator here in Spokane.

Mr. Brookbank I can’t take all the credit for my latest blogging venture, Friends of Mark Fuhrman. Its main focus will be local. While Mark was very opinionated and whether you agreed with him or not, he provided an important source of information that otherwise might not be provided by the MSM. Hopefully as this site grows I may be able to lure Mark back doing virtual net radio/podcasting doing his interviews with local guests on topics of interest.

Friends of Mark Fuhrman is a co-creation with Terresa Monroe-Hamilton of Noisy Room, Monroe Virtual Services and co-founder of Media Mythbusters and its related blog site.

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)

Posted by Det. Ron Wright (Retired)  |  17 Mar 6:45 PM