LA Times Cries Wolf
Per the AP:
A quote in a fake news release that was intended as an April Fool's joke ended up in a front-page story in the Los Angeles Times. The story in Tuesday's editions of the Times noted how successful the reintroduction of wolves had been 10 years ago, but said the predators remained controversial.
"In Wyoming, for example, Gov. Dave Freudenthal last April decreed that the Endangered Species Act is no longer in force and that the state 'now considers the wolf as a federal dog,' unworthy of protection," the story read.
(by the way should it not be "feral dog" not "federal dog"?)
So what leads to the LA Times running on their front page a joke - hoax story? Well take a look at the LA front page story in question:
(note the disclosure after the second paragraph: FOR THE RECORD:
Gray wolves —An article in Tuesday's Section A about tensions over the federal effort to reintroduce wolves into parts of the West wrongly attributed to Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal a statement that Wyoming considered the Endangered Species Act no longer in force and "now considers the wolf as a federal dog." The statement, which was circulated on the Internet, was purportedly from Freudenthal but was in fact a hoax.)
Julie Cart appears from her article to be a strong supporter of wolves and that's fine as long as her views are not misrepresented in an informational news story vs. an op-ed piece. However you can see why she jumped on the hoax story so fast and so hard, it allowed her what she thought was a dramatic story source from the Gov. of the state to promote her point of view. What is Cart's point that I get from her article? Well that all people that don't support the wolves being reintroduced are idiots, outlaws and derelict officials. Just check out the people and their statements that she uses along with the false Gov. Fredudenthal quote:
"I'm shocked that human blood hasn't been spilled on this issue," Sundles said in an interview. "I'm surprised there hasn't been a gunfight. I'm surprised that the feds who've done this haven't been hunted down and killed," he said of the reintroduction of the wolves.
"Let me tell you something. We will get rid of these wolves, one way or another," Gillett said, his index finger stabbing the air, during a recent interview in Lakefield, a hamlet east of Boise.
"We are law-abiding citizens. We will try it legally. But I'm not going to live with no elk, no deer, no bighorn sheep and no goats, just because some environmentalist someplace wants to hear a wolf howl. No. You either give up or move over, because we are going to run over you. No compromise. No negotiation. No Canadian wolves in Idaho."
We are law-abiding citizens. We will try it legally. But I'm not going to live with no elk, no deer, no bighorn sheep and no goats, just because some environmentalist someplace wants to hear a wolf howl. No. You either give up or move over, because we are going to run over you. No compromise. No negotiation. No Canadian wolves in Idaho."
By quoting a person charged with illegally attempting to poison wolves and another person who is the chairman of Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition, Cart certainly appears to have selected pretty extreme examples for those not wanting wolves in the wild. I'm going out on a limb here but I suspect that there are probably lots of very credible people Cart's could have quoted instead that have legitimate issues and concerns with the wolves being re-introduced ( business people, ranchers, parents, etc).
I'm guessing however that she was looking for a stronger framing that people like Sundles & Gillett gave her position, especially given the "wolves treated like a federal dog" false Gov. statement. It would appear to fit all together nicely for Cart's pro-wolf position.
Cart definitely has a very strong environmentalist leaning based on her other offerings listed in a search of the paper. Nothing wrong with that, but this story is a good example of a journalist taking information that fits her agenda and using it to push that agenda to the subscribers. There is no doubt that the sources used were clearly used to produce a favorable view of wolves verse the concerns of residents opposed to the wolves. The sourcing was false as well as tainted to produce favorable views towards the reporters own personal views.........................................................
Seems that the LA Times has a pretty long history of being very Pro-Wolf:
They covered a story about a proposal to start hunting wolves in Alaska back in Dec 2003 with the headline "Howls of protest over wolf hunting". Following is the jest of article:
Alaska's new policy of allowing hunters to shoot wolves from the air to cull the population has touched off a very loud reaction by animal rights supporters.
The Darien, Conn.-based Friends of Animals is planning a series of "howl-ins" to protest the policy the weekend after Christmas in New York; San Francisco; Sacramento; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Lansing, Mich.
Another article in Feb 2005 about wolves:
Robin Hood Wolves
In this article the Times reports that wolves are a valuable benefactor to over 12 species:
Enter the gray wolf, an unexpected source of grizzly aid. Since 33 wolves were introduced to the park in 1995 — they number 170 today — bears have developed the habit of stealing their kills. John Varley, director of Yellowstone's Center for Resources, the park's science branch, says wolves provide food for at least 12 species, including bears, bald eagles and some beetles.
My gosh wolves seem to be the Robin Hood of the American west animal kingdom...................................
The LA Times really likes wolves and have consistently promoted a favorable argument about reintroducing wolves into the wild. They have been an advocate of the practice and that makes this latest story all the more damaging to their credibility.................................