Now, if you said my dog is better looking than Paul Gottlieb, that's true, but not the answer I'm looking for. No, the key difference is that when I let my dog outside, he's a dog, and he loves to go dig things up. But if you let Paul Gottlieb outside, he's supposedly a reporter, yet he just loves to cover things up.
One reveals, one conceals.
Yet, you might think that Gottlieb's status as a "reporter" would compel him to go forth and dig up, to reveal, to, you know, report. Ah, but...
Anyway, let's step outside of the coverage of Port Angeles from locals, and see how it looks to outsiders. Let's revisit that Canadian TV coverage from just a few days ago. Hopefully you've seen the snippet, the one that describes the "ailing businesses" in Port Angeles, and the "sense of desperation." That seems a pretty frank and realistic view of Port Angeles. Ailing businesses, a sense of desperation, and all they neglected to mention was a thoroughly corrupt local system of governing. You can argue about the scale of those things, I suppose, but no rational person would deny the existence of all those things in Port Angeles.
How did it get that way? How did things get so bad? How did businesses get so desperate that they're willing to take seventy-five cents on the dollar just to try and get someone, anyone, into their shops? How did public anger reach such a point that so many people are agitating for a majority of the City Council to step down?
Of course, there are probably a number of causative factors. No one thing or person is to blame for the totality of the dysfunction and decay in Port Angeles. But there is one thing, one element that can be blamed for aiding and enabling the destruction, distrust and decay. There is one resource in the community that has self-stifled its own ability to make a real difference. And that one thing is the pathetic and compliant local press, which is to say, the inky toilet paper known as the Peninsula Daily News.
The examples are legion. Today's coverage of the "return of the Coho" that fails to mention that there were protesters there is but the most recent example. The PDN doesn't even pretend to try and cover news; it just tries to fashion news-like stories that give an impression of reporting what's going on in Clallam County. There are different tactics - the slanted coverage, the total non-coverage, the greatly, ridiculously delayed (and partial) coverage, etc. - but they all fail to meet even the barest of journalistic standards for full and unbiased reporting.
All this effort - or lack of effort - is done in the service of propping up a corrupt, aging and clearly failing status quo. There are people of influence who must be obeyed, and whose egos must be stroked, and whose interests must be protected. But this is a short-term, self-destructive approach to reporting, to governing, and to economic success.
Again, Port Angeles is a town that is dying. The population is falling. The economy is weak, and unemployment is high. Drug abuse rates are also high. Disgust and frustration with so-called local leadership is through the roof. The infrastructure is failing, corruption is endemic, and the City is carrying a truly terrifying amount of debt. Clearly, undeniably, things aren't going well.
But you'd never know that from reading the PDN. They are completely complicit in the death of Port Angeles; they have put the noose around their own neck and tighten it a little more every day. Which is to say, it is also clear that ignoring the myriad problems facing Port Angeles isn't making those problems go away. Which is to say, there are stories and truths to be told - that must be told - if the town, and the businesses, and the newspaper, are to simply survive.
This blog tries to tell some of those stories. The Port O Call tries to tell some of those stories. (See their new story exposing the wicked, twisted world of Judge Rick Porter for an excellent example of one such tale that needs telling.) But the PDN? They are content to sit back and feel that noose tighten a bit more with each passing day.
I always think of a few years back when the PDN did a big "story" on the City buying new chairs for the City Council members. They spun it like it was some sort of big spending, fat cat thing to do, buying seven chairs (from a local source) for a couple of thousand dollars. The way they positioned it, you'd think they'd hit scandal central.
Except, at the same time, they were studiously not doing any in-depth (or just plain any) reporting on the investigation into Karen Rogers. Or the outrageous lies Glenn Cutler told to justify the $50 million dollar Turd Tank. Or the City's ballooning debt burden. Or Don Perry's inappropriate interactions with female staff members at the City. Or the backroom, sweetheart deal when the Port essentially gave away public lands to land rapist Dan Morrison for his stupid sprint boats. Or, or, or...You get the picture. But the public never did, at least not those who count on the PDN to report items of public interest and importance. Literally MILLIONS of dollars were flying out the window, and the PDN was patting itself on the back for "exposing" two grand worth of chairs.
And so you end up here. With "ailing businesses" and a "sense of desperation." No, the PDN isn't the causative factor in all this, but the fact remains that it could have had a curative effect. Lance those boils, heal those wounds, and move on. Instead, the PDN just keeps adding layer upon layer of BS and sunshine over the wounds to the community, which only causes them to fester and worsen.
A professional and ethical press is supposed to act as a cure for what ails a society. But the PDN doesn't provide any antidote, it just keeps doling out the same old sugar-coated, community-killing poison.