Cross-posted from Rocket’s Brain Trust


I should preface this post with a comment from a previous post here to explain my passion re seeking “The Truth”:

IMHO the S-R is being used as an instrumentality of an ongoing criminal enterprise to conceal the illegal acts of its owners [River Park Square and other projects] through its own self-censoring of stories and censoring of alternative info and reader comments. The systemic level of political/governmental corruption in Spokane is the worst I’ve witnessed in my 35-year law enforcement career.



Dear Dr. Tallent [new S-R Ombudsman]

I thought I would welcome you to the “club.” I hope your tenure is longer than Steve Blewett’s. Notwithstanding what Mr. Smith has told you, Mr. Blewett’s departure probably had more to do with him actually considering a complaint filed by award winning investigative reporter Tim Connor re Mr. Smith’s shooting from the hip re the River Park Square mess. You may be interested in reviewing the reporting and documentation that both Tim Connor and Larry Shook have amassed at their online magazine:

I suspect you will be hearing directly from Mr. Connor in the near future.

Since I’ve been relegated to the realm of little green men, I’m forwarding my complaint directly to you. I have my doubts it will reach you:-)

Again welcome to the club. I’m including a draft bio to show I’m a “wacko” that has the education, training, and experience to have a professional opinion on RPS.

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)
Riverside PD

PS: Here’s the link to the Orange County Register’s web page (Orange County, CA) re the Mitch Gold multi-million dollar charity fraud that was national in scope in which I played a small part. See in the right margin:

: A police detective describes what he saw during a raid on a Mitch Gold boiler room.


From: rocketsbrain
Date: Jan 25, 2008 1:44 PM
Subject: A complaint for the new S-R Ombudsman
To: Gary Graham

Mr. Graham, Managing Editor

Re: News is a Conversation – Censorship

I thought my comment [below] was civil and to the point re having an ethics code. No point in having one if those involved are won’t follow it. Mr. Smith immediately pulled my post and sent me a personal rant unbecoming of that of an Editor of a paper that is soliciting comments. In what’s becoming common place he again called me a a wacko much like he has award winning investigative journalists Tim Connor and Larry Shook as well as former Sheriff Bamonte and others. Mr. Smith essentially libeled award winning investigative TV journalist Tom Grant a while back in the S-R Blogs for which he issued an apology of sorts.

i still think you’re a whacko. you have no credibility with me on this issue and my blog will not be a place for your repeated digressions.

I think I made my point:

Without a commitment of those involved to abide by the Code, this is an exercise in futility.

If you’re going to have a Code of Ethics then it’s incumbent for those involved to abide by the Code. I do believe I have the professional education, training and experience to have an opinion re RPS et al and the lack of investigative zeal on the part of S-R. Mr. Smith attempts to marginalized me in a vary paternalistic manner. It would be more appropriate to let my comments stand and let the readers decide for themselves as to my veracity and my qualifications and thereby to decide the worth of my opinion. This assuming if I don’t violate the normal blog etiquette and general conventions re obscenity, name calling, and/or personal threats. To do otherwise IMHO is censorship plain and simple which violates the very core values of the Society of Professional Journalists.


Det. Ron Wright (Retired)

Personal note from Mr. Smith

you are at it again. no dice.

you may cmment on substance, you may make suggestions for changes in the code.

but i won’t let you beat your dead horse. especially on things you know nothing about.

and, trust me, i still think you’re a whacko. you have no credibility with me on this issue and my blog will not be a place for your repeated digressions.

you call it censorship. fine. take that charge wherever you want. but if you don’t watch it, you won’t be posting on the blog at all.

we are clear on that, correct?



Wow! That was quick. My comment in Mr. Smith’s thread on soliciting comments on the new S-R Code of Ethics was censored already!



More from the S-R ethics debate.




You asked the $64 question.

My question is: what is the process of the newspaper when stories are perceived by readers as biased, when it can be simply explained away as a difference of perception? How is this accountability to readers to be actually assessed?

Sorry if Mr. Adams and I digressed a bit but both of us have had our comments in this thread, censored, without a trace. I won’t go into specifics but feel free to visit my blog for more information (Click on my screen name below). Naturally we are a little gun shy when it comes to discussing a Code of Ethics. Without a commitment of those involved to abide by the Code, this is an exercise in futility.

Ideally an independent Ombudsman is what you’re asking for but the last S-R Ombudsman perhaps was straying to close to the “darkside” and was abruptly terminated. We are watching closely how this new Ombudsman will respond to reader complaints and criticisms.

Both Mr. Adams and I along with others believe the S-R has failed in its responsibility to its readers on stories where the S-R owners have an active involvement/interest. Mr. Smith has with a broad brush dismissed us as loons. He has called us conspiracy theorists, wackos, and little green men without refuting our challenges. Kinda like what attorneys do by blowing smoke to the jury when they can’t dispute the facts.

It’s a fine line that Mr. Smith must walk. Will he bend to the interests of the owners or will he exercise his journalistic independence based on the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists. It’s humane nature not to bite the hand that feeds you. Sophe was dead on with this quote:

While minimizing bias and telling the truth are ideal, it is not reasonable to believe that employees would take on the owners of the paper, biting the hand that feeds them. Nor should reporters be expected to do so. This is an inherent conflict of interest. An independent resource for such reporting should be obtained, one that the owner or editor cannot just terminate upon displeasure.

This is why I linked to the OCR story on the Mitch Gold fraud. One to demonstrate that I do have the training, education, and experience to a professional opinion. Secondly to show how a major paper of record took the leading role in a very complex fraud that many governmental agencies were reluctant for a number of reasons to deal with.

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)
Posted by rocketsbrain | 24 Jan 8:05 PM

Update I:
More re Mr. Smith and hypocrisy re professional journalistic ethics

Mr. Smith and I had another exchange of opinions in S-R Blog HBO. I sent this along as an update to Dr. Tallent the new S-R Ombudsman. See the bolded comment.


Dear Dr. Tallent,

Please see this excerpt of the thread at S-R HBO where Mr. Smith’s comments re blogs were cross posted. Mr. Smith is again attempting to marginalize me in an attempt to dismiss my professional opinion re the S-R coverage on RPS. It would be refreshing if Mr. Smith would refute anything that Tim Connor and Larry Shook have documented at their site re the RPS et al fraud.

If Connor and Shook are so wrong with their reporting/documentations why is it that the Cowles Companies haven’t sued them for libel? The answer is they can’t. They can’t afford to be cross-examined during the depositions. The “truth” will come out.

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)