The TSW Fair Reporting Award Nominations Requested- Stories on the Proposed BLM Public Lands Regulation

From this Pew study

First, I’d like to express my disappointment with the journalism community on this topic. There are many interesting things in the Proposed Rule, but it’s like news sometimes is simply a springboard to a Preferred Narrative. So we haven’t heard much about the complexity of peoples’ views, especially since the recent House hearing, where partisans pontificated about it. Our friends at the Center for Western Priorities posted three stories this morning that basically said it’s a great thing for people who have our interests (obviously all right-thinking people) and Republicans are bad. Oh, and we have zero skepticism about what this Administration says, even though politicos have never been famous for telling the truth.

“Is politics nothing other than the art of deliberately lying?”- Voltaire.

The star who stands out so far is Sammy Roth of the LA Times who received or found the solar industry’s comments. And that was a great find. But I’m looking for something deeper. And I can’t find all the possible contestants for this award without the help of TSW readers.

So.. I am proposing the TSW Fair Reporting Award. I will send the beverage of choice, and the honor of being the first recipient of the TSW Fair Reporting Award, to the reporter who, in the view of me and other TSW readers, does the best job of presenting a variety of views on the Proposed Rule fairly, as well as digging below the surface. We’re hosting this in the hope of helping people write their public comments in a meaningful way, other than saying “it’s swell the way it is” or “it’s the worst thing ever.” Extra points for interviewing people not on an obvious side.. not ranchers, oil and gas folks, ENGOs and so on. We exist and have opinions, and maybe the story would look different if our voices were heard.

Nominations of reporters and stories are open below, and you will all get to weigh in them openly in the comments. We can potentially add criteria as well. We may disagree on how well different stories meet the criteria, and that conversation will be interesting as well. I reserve the right to make the final decision, as, well someone has to and it might as well be me. And if we round up some excellent stories, we can give out more than one award.

Also, if anyone knows anyone of the philanthropic persuasion, and actually anyone is welcome to sweeten the reward pot.

What could be more to our democracy than quality, fair reporting on complex issues; reporting that takes a more than superficial look at the claims and views of both “sides”?

4 thoughts on “The TSW Fair Reporting Award Nominations Requested- Stories on the Proposed BLM Public Lands Regulation”

    • Thanks Rebecca! this was interesting including the many quotes from Birdsong at the end it says..
      “The Nevada Independent is a 501(c)3 nonprofit news organization. We are committed to transparency and disclose all our donors. The following people or entities mentioned in this article are financial supporters of our work:

      Susie Lee – $4,120
      Bret Birdsong – $1,150”

      I don’t know if this is a new thing.. “pay to play” journalism. At least they’re transparent about it.

      I also like their honesty about conservation leasing, that the point is to develop mechanisms that outlast administrations. It’s kind of creepy in a political philosophy way.. is the point of electing an Admin not only to carry out their own policies but to prevent future Admins from having different policies? Because this sounds like Roadless. Plans aren’t final enough, let’s do a Rule! Rules aren’t final enough, let’s get Wilderness! The Congress won’t go along with us so let’s Monumentize and argue in court that future Presidents shouldn’t be able to undo Monumentization.. it seems like intentional narrowing the scope of future Executive Branch decisions. I’m not a fan of narrowing the scope of future elected officials. It seems.. well.. undemocratic, at least to me.

      • I also see the resemblance to the roadless area rules. Of course I see it differently. I think public land management is a long-term proposition that requires some stability and therefore longer lasting policy decisions. I also think that it’s easier to undo a long-term protection decision than a development, so I have no problem taking places off the development table. If and when they are really needed for something else (based on some democratic process), they’ll be available. (We now seem to be in an era where every administration rewrites the regulations from the last one, so maybe this point is moot.)

  1. I guess I’d like to know what “equal coverage” means, and I think it is ambiguous enough that this graphic may not be worth a lot (it may mean different things to journalists and the general public). And what is a “side?” There is only one set of facts, and there are often stronger facts supporting one interpretation, and that should be evident in the reporting. If someone reported on both “sides” of the greenhouse gas debate, they should also report that 97% of the experts are on one side if that’s a fact. (And maybe some people are also thinking about the decision about what to cover at al.)


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