Supermissoulianreporter

by Pete Talbot

Missoulian reporter Michael Moore writes in a Sunday column about some of the changes taking place in the modern newspaper newsroom.

Not only are reporters writing stories, they’re shooting video (and recording audio), and then editing and posting that video and audio. And they’re blogging, too.

I once had a client ask me if I could also shoot still photos while I was doing a video shoot in the jungles of Borneo. I said, “sure, I can give you mediocre stills or mediocre video … actually it will all be kind of mediocre.”

I mean, I’m only a demigod. Show me someone who can write, record video and audio, edit and polish a piece, and do it well, and I’ll show you a god.

I know there’s a lot of pressure on the old print media to compete with television and the Internet. You Tube alone has revolutionized news gathering.

So has the print reporter gone the way of the cooper? I hope not. One of the reasons I rarely watch local television news is that I want more than a cliché-ridden, two-minute version of the news, sprinkled with a few ten-second sound bites.

Here’s another consideration. Will newspaper content be driven by how cool a video can be produced out of that day’s news events?

“Let’s see,” says the newsroom assignment editor, “should we cover the dancing dogs at the park or the county-wide zoning hearing at the courthouse?”

I know television news stories are often assigned on their visual potential: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

I read newspapers, and even occasionally online versions of newspapers, for detail and depth. I want background, research and lengthy quotes.

I just can’t imagine Carl Bernstein or Bob Woodward lugging around a digital video cam and shotgun mic. So, call me old fashioned, but I’m worried about the direction reporting is taking.

I certainly don’t begrudge newspaper reporters branching out and trying something different. The Billings Gazette’s Ed Kemmick does a fine job of both reporting and blogging.

But are there enough resources at your average daily to support all the extra duties being assigned beat reporters? Are more reporters and editors and photographers being hired? Is the training and mentoring in place to help reporters transition into this brave, new world? Something has got to give and news mediocrity will be the rule, not the exception, if reporters are asked to do more-and-more stuff with the same level of staff and preparation.

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  1. JC

    Pete, I have to agree with you about Missoulian reporters spreading themselves too thin, and forgetting their main purpose: reporting. I looked at the video of the Lochsa Lodge a few weeks ago in the Missoulian online, and was rather, eh, (let’s be generous here) underwhelmed. I just peeked at a few more, and they are rather amateurish.

    I really think that the Missoulian trying to compete with it’s local TV news bretheren online may not turn out as well as they want.

    Their blog, on the other hand, may be a welcome addition, if Missoulian editorial policy doesn’t adversely dictate the discussions.

    One just needs to look at the story of Chez Pazienza about getting fired from CNN for setting up a personal blog without running it by the home office for some insight:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chez-pazienza/say-what-you-will-requie_b_87282.html

    Blogging by traditional media reporters and producers is hobbled by editorial, advertorial, and contractual leg-holds. If Michael Moore can push the boundaries of the Missoulian noose without getting bounced, then moore power to him ;-)

  2. Hey there Pete, Michael isn’t the only person blogging in the Missoulian newsroom. I have a blog at Nickellbag.com. In fact, I’ve written a response to this post over there. I think you bring up some valid questions.

  3. Matthew Koehler

    Hello, Thanks for sharing your interesting perspectives and thoughts on this subject. For years I’ve been pretty disappointed with the Missoulian’s website in general, including the lack of opportunities for readers to provide feedback or share a thought. Seems like every other daily paper in the state has had more of these opportunities for years.

    I’ve been going over to the Missoulian’s westernmontana360.com page for quite some time and have, in general, found it not very interesting or even that relevant to important news and events here in western Montana. However, I also noticed that a change started taking place a few months ago and even before Michael’s article in yesterday’s paper more formally announcing westernmontana360.com the content of the blog has been improving. One concern that I do still have with the format is that the Missoulian is only opening up one or two articles per day for “thoughtful commentary” or “pointed, intelligent criticism.”

    However, overall this is a good step in the right direction and I applaud Michael and the Missoulian for taking it. I’m certainly willing to give it a try and I’m curious to see how this progresses and if the readership participates.

  4. Thanks to everyone who’s weighed in with thoughts and comments about the Missoulian’s news blog, westernmontana360.com. I’ll use all that feedback to try to improve the blog, but it’s a work in progress. I’m happy to admit we’ve got room for improvement, and we’re doing what we can to get better as quickly as possible.

    And I am so very mindful of Pete’s comments about being stretched too thin. I don’t know a reporter at a mid-sized paper who doesn’t feel stretched far too thin. I think it’s worth folks getting worked up about, frankly, but just remember that it’s not reporters and photographers who’ve decided to stretch themselves thusly. We’re the end of the line, the place where policy and finances come home to roost.

    I’m not going to say we’re doing the best we can every day. I am saying that we’re “trying,” though. I’ll get around to writing about this on our blog when — hehe — I find the time, but I want you all to know that I really value the input here, and appreciate the constructive comments and criticism.

  5. petetalbot

    You can always tell when journalists blog and comment. They have such reasoned responses and take such a courteous approach — unlike the many blogs and comments that read something like: “Talbot, you f***ing idiot, get your head out of your *ss.”

    Anyway, I appreciate everyone’s comments and posts. And Joe, thanks for linking to your site. I should have linked to it in my original post but then there are probably lots of reporters out there who have sites I should link to.

    Joe mentions an underlying “attitude” in my post: amateurs can’t do the job that trained professionals can in terms of video and audio. I’m probably being a little self-serving. After 30 years in the video business learning lighting and composition, editing and sweetening (and still learning), it pains me to see a print reporter running around with a Handycam. And it no doubt pains a working journalist when he/she reads my hackneyed prose on matters usually left to newspaper reporters.

    But really, my attitude is more about a print newsroom already being overburdened by its regular duties. My hope is that the reason why I read newspapers — in depth reporting, background information, a grasp of the complexities of issues — doesn’t disappear into a blur of video jump cuts and sound bites.

    Who knows? Maybe the future of news gathering will be everyone with a camcorder, edit system, blog site and satellite up-link. Life will be one big reality TV show.

  6. Maybe the future of news gathering will be everyone with a camcorder, edit system, blog site and satellite up-link. Life will be one big reality TV show.

    I think it already is. There are tons of people out there using their cellphones to upload blog posts, pictures and videos.

  7. Binky Griptight

    Sounds expensive, all this detail and depth, background, research and lengthy quotes. I hope the online ads earn a bucketload so that journalists can get paid a decent wage.

  8. Nick Domitrovich

    I’d love to see the Missoulian’s website pick up some of the features of the Billing’s Gazette online edition. Comments, troll ratings, photos, etc…

  9. I’ve come to believe that the owners of most newspapers don’t want us to see anything indepth. It’s easier to control us if we’re in the dark or distracted by dancing monkeys.

  10. JC

    Give me the ability to comment on LTE’s. That would be sooo much fun. ;-)

  11. Matt Koehler

    Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 10:47:32 -0700
    To: Sherry.Devlin@lee.net, stacey.mueller@lee.net
    From: Matthew Koehler
    Subject: Missoulian’s Removal of Blog Post and Comments

    To: Sherry Devlin, Missoulian Editor and Stacy Mueller, Missoulian Publisher

    RE: Missoulian’s Removal of Blog Post and Comments

    Yesterday afternoon around 4pm I was informed that you two had decided to remove the following blog post and the resulting 20+ comments from the Missoullian’s westernmontana360.com blog.

    When You Run Your Mouth, How Far is Too Far? (http://westernmontana360.com/?p=112)
    An Oregon blogger and forester has suggested that folks who are fed up with the Sierra Club should “please feel free to set their home on fire.” Michael Jamison’s story on Mike Dubrasich’s war of words ran in Wednesday’s paper, and it raised some pretty good questions. Using Dubrasich’s own words, what’s the difference between “suggesting” and “advocating” an obvious crime? What do the words “please feel free to set their home on fire” mean when the action that is “suggested” is against the law? Is an Internet threat the same as a verbal threat? When should the law get involved?

    Dubrasich says that what people do “is their own business,” but when that “business” is against the law, where does Dubrasich fit into the equation? Or is this all just free speech and nothing to worry about until someone actually does something?

    I was told the reason you decided to do this was because Mr. Dubrasich had contacted you and threatened to file a libel lawsuit against the Missoulian because of my comments posted on your blog. I was told that Mr. Dubrasich did not point out anything specific within my comments that he believes constitutes libel , but basically just said that he’d contacted an attorney and was considering a libel suit. I was also told that while the paper didn’t believe anything in my comments constituted libel, the Missoulian feared having to spend thousands of dollars on lawyer fees if Mr. Dubrasich followed through with his threat to file a libel suit.

    I have posted my comments that appeared on your blog, and later removed from your, blog, below. Could you or your attorney please inform me what specifically in my comments constitutes libel? To assist you with this effort, please consult with this link http://personal-injury.montana-injury-lawyer.com/defamation-libel-slander.htm, which was provided to me by my brother, who is senior council at a large law firm.

    Let’s remember that my comments on the blog were in response to the Missoulian’s story (Blogger levels heated threat against Sierra Club, 2/27/08) about Mr. Dubrasich’s statement “If you know a Sierra Club member, please feel free to set their home on fire.” The article also included other inflammatory statements by Mr. Dubrasich directed at the Chief of the Forest Service, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and others. Furthermore, the Missoulian invited their readers and the public to comment on Mr. Dubrasich’s statements by featuring the blog post above.

    Since I’ve had some dealings with Mr. Dubrasich over the years (he once dubbed me “arson boy” on his own website) and also because I’ve found some similar behavior by Mr. Dubrasich in other venues, I decided to respond to the questions posed by the Missoulian’s blog.

    Interestingly enough, it was Mr. Dubrasich who choose to use the Missoulian’s blog to level false and defaming statements against either myself or my organization, the WildWest Institute. Unfortunately I did not save a copy of Mr. Dubrasich’s false statements about myself or my organization because they were clearly posted in the comments section to your blog.

    Nothing I posted on the blog about Mr. Dubrasich was specifically pointed out by Mr. Dubrasich to be demonstrable false, yet my comments provided detailed responses to false statements and false motives assigned to me or my organization by Mr. Dubrasich. Unfortunately, all of these statements defending myself and the WildWest Institute have been removed from your blog, as have Mr. Dubrasich’s false and defaming statements against either myself or my organization. According to an attorney I spoke with this morning, given all the facts, if anyone has been defamed, it would be myself and WildWest, not Mr. Dubrasich.

    I called both of you yesterday and left a message regarding this matter. I again called this morning and left each of you another message. Neither of you have called me back. Please call me at 396.0321 to discuss this matter further.

    I would ask that if you or the Missoulian’s attorney cannot point specifically to any libel contained within my comments that you immediately place the blog post and all the comments associated with it back up on your website.

    If the Missoulian chooses not to do this, I just don’t see why you’d even bother having a blog, or even a newspaper for that matter. Apparently, anyone can contact the Missoulian’s editor and/or publisher and threaten a libel suit (without having to provide any specific details of alleged liable) and the Missoulian will fold in the face of such a threat, not because the Missoulian believes any libel occurred, but for fear of cutting into the Missoulian’s bottom line.

    As someone who routinely wakes up in the morning to see letters to the editor, opeds or news articles in the Missoulian that contain false information about myself or my organization (for example, the often repeated and printed allegation that my organization is responsible for all the wildfires) am I to understand that a simple call to the paper by myself or our attorney threatening a libel suit will result in the same actions you have taken in response to Mr. Dubraich’s threat of litigation, as baseless as it might be?

    Again, if this is the standard protocol at the Missoulian it seems to me that a small number of individuals could easily call the Missoulian’s editor and/or publisher on a daily basis, threaten a libel suit without having to provide any specifics, and thereby effectively stop the Missoulian from printing anything in the newspaper or posting anything on your blog simply because the Missoulian doesn’t want to incur any attorney fees.

    Finally, I’d also like to direct your attention to a recent post regarding this matter on Left In the West (http://www.leftinthewest.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1535).

    It states, in part: “Seriously, the Missoulian’s conduct in this case is shameful. It’s bad enough bullies like Dubrasich and his pals shoot their mouths off and try to intimidate regular folks from expressing their opinion on forest management, but for the newspaper to fold under an unfounded accusation of defamation only shows that bully tactics work. I’d also add that this incident brings into question the newspaper’s credibility. How can we trust that they’re reporting the news accurately and objectively if they pull content as soon as they’re bullied by some hoodlums? How many other stories have been suppressed or massaged for fear of an angry letter from the wrong person?”

    Please call me at 396.0321 to discuss this matter further.

    Sincerely,
    Matthew Koehler
    ———————————–

    Below is as many of the comments from the Missoulian’s blog post “When You Run Your Mouth, How Far is Too Far?” that I could find. There were between 20 and 25 comments posted when the Missoulian’s editor and publisher decided to pull the entire post and all comments based on the threat of a liable suit from Mr. Dubrasich. So unfortunately, not all the comments are here and therefore some comments may seem out of context because they were in response to prior comments that were removed and cannot be found.

    Posted by Matthew Koehler:

    It was ironic that this article about Mike Dubrasich’s track record for violent, threatening and bizarre behavior was placed on the front page of the paper along side an article/photo of Mark Rey, the former timber industry lobbyist who runs the US Forest Service as the Bush Administration’s Undersecretary of Agriculture.

    After all, it was Mark Rey who has lead the Bush Administration’s significant efforts to re-write rules changing long-standing Forest Service policy in favor of increased logging, oil and gas development, etc. Specifically, Rey rewrote the “categorical exclusion” rules back in 2003 despite being told at every step of the way by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups that he was doing so illegally and that lawsuits were certain to follow to ensure compliance with the laws of the land.

    If you’re looking for someone to blame for lawsuits against these illegal Bush/Rey policies, blame Rey and the Bush Administration who broke the law, not environmental groups or the US court system, for holding them accountable.

    But more on this Dubrasich guy. I used to visit his website and comment on some of his stuff, until he started getting aggressive, gross and quasi violent with me. If I remember correctly his nickname for me was “arson boy.”

    But his comment “If you know a Sierra Club member, please feel free to set their home on fire” is hardly out of the norm. For example, on December 10, 2007 he posted this on his website: “Gail Kimbell should be indicted, tried, convicted, and incarcerated for the rest of her natural life, if not put to death by lethal injection, in my opinion.”

    And check out this rather bizarre exchange at the link below. I’m not sure what qualifies as extortion, but this is certainly headed in that direction: http://www.demarcatedlandscapes.com/2007/02/more-from-mike-dubrasich-mailbag.html

    As far as I can tell by visiting his website, Dubrasich is part of the old-school forestry frame of mind. When he’s not leveling death threats against the Forest Service Chief or asking people to burn down homes of Sierra Clubers, he’s working closely with other old-school forestry types highlighting their studies, research and articles; however flawed they might be.

    In fact, it’s ironic that Dave Skinner would post above since Skinner’s writings and comments are often featured on Dubrasich’s website. So too is the work of James D. Petersen of the Evergreen Foundation out of Bigfork. And the recently formed Darby, MT outfit called Big Sky Coalition: Environmentalists with Common Sense has also been featured on Dubrasich’s website and the BS Coalition website still includes a prominently featured “letter of support” from Dubrasich’s Western Institute, despite being made fully aware of the recent death threat Dubrasich leveled at FS Chief Kimbell. Does the Big Sky Coalition really my organization is going to sit down and work with a them when their website features letters of support from a guy calling for Chief Kimbell to be killed and for Sierra Club members to have their homes burned down?

    My point in bringing this up is that I have never once seen any of these folks speak out against Dubrasich’s routine use of death threats and violent language on his website. Silence in this context is the next best thing to outright approval. Who on the logging/forestry/wood products side of the equation will speak out against this type of bizarre and violent behavior?

    Yet, people seem to be able to get away with saying anything about environmentalists. I guess there was a reason that someone once said environmentalists are the niggers of the west.
    ———————-

    Posted by Bob Zybach:

    Matthew Koehler:

    You are missing the point entirely. Asking someone from “the logging/forestry/woods product side of the equation” to “speak out against this type of violent behavior” doesn’t make sense.

    Mike’s words are NOT “violent behavior,” no matter how acrimonious you might find them. They are just words. Wildfires that kill dozens of people and do billions of dollars worth of damage on the other hand, ARE violent behavior.

    Bad laws and consistent anti-logging litigation by so-called “environmental” groups (often claiming to represent “the public” and “public interests”!) are the very types of enabling actions that exacerbate such violent behaviors and that cause Dubrasich and others to rail against them. The historical record is clear. It is in our denuded “Wilderness” landscapes, our federal “forests” of rotting snags, and in our courts of “rules” and “laws.” That is where the violent behaviors are taking place, and the words and actions that support those behaviors.

    Is that what you want the “logging/forestry/woods products side of the equation to place their concerns?” I think that is where they are needed.
    ————————-

    Posted by Matthew Koehler:

    Wow, looks like it’s fact check time…for those who still value and appreciate the truth. So please have patience and let’s hope all the links documenting the facts come through ok.

    On May 30 and July 23, 2003 the Bush Administration and Mark Rey put four new “categorical exclusion” regulations in place through an administrative rule making process, not through “a law that was thoroughly discussed, debated, amended, passed” as Mike claimed. Heck, the Missoulian even reported on this in a July 24, 2003 article, which anyone can check out. The Healthy Forest Restoration Act did include additional CE authorities, but that wasn’t until it was signed into law in December 2003. Besides, the recent Ninth District Court of Appeals ruling against the Bush/Rey CE rules was regarding the CE rules put in place through the administrative process, not in the HFRA.

    Dubraich claims, “The WildWest Institute sues the Feds chronically to halt every proposed HFRA project in Montana.” WildWest has filed one lawsuit on one single HFRA project, not “every proposed HFRA project in MT.” Besides, logging is on-going and nearly completed on the one single HFRA project that we did file a lawsuit on – the Middle East Fork HFRA project on the Bitterroot NF. To see photos of the logging done as part of this “healthy forest” project, go here: http://wildwestinstitute.org/pdf/MEF_Logging.pdf.

    All other HFRA projects in Montana have not been litigated. Ironically, the Forest Service’s recently released Draft EIS for the DeBaugan HFRA project on the Lolo National Forest includes full color cover photo of the WildWest Institute and local volunteer fire department’s community fuel reduction work weekend. See http://www.wildwestinstitute.org/pdf/DeBorgia.pdf and
    http://www.wildwestinstitute.org/pdf/DeBorgia_06.pdf for more info on these work weekends. Kinda funny how Dubraich claims WildWest filed suit against every HFRA project in Montana when the truth is that our organization and our employees and volunteers are pictured together with the local fire department on the front cover of the EIS for an HFRA project, don’t you think?

    Dubrasich’s claim that I gave him a “So what” about record fire seasons is also in need of fact checking. The truth is that when I was going to Dubrasich’s site (before he started getting violent and aggressive with me) I noticed that he was repeatedly calling the 2006 fire season “record breaking” because about 8 million acres had burned. As I recall, I simply contacted him and pointed out something to the fact that during the “dust-bowl” era of the 1920s to early 1940s an average of 37 million acres burned in the US every single year and the true “record setting” fire season was 1930, when 52 million acres burned nationally. Funny, but you can check all this for yourself at Dubrasich’s own website here: http://www.sosforests.com/?p=357.

    Next, Dubrasich’s claim that I “denied that forest fires kill old-growth” is completely ridiculous. For those interesting in seeing the truth about what I said – and what Dubrasich said, including his increasingly threatening statements – I’d invited you to check out the comment section to an article I wrote at this link: http://www.newwest.net/main/article/lawsuits_sometimes_necessary_while_working_on_forest_solutions/.

    Next, Dubrasich goes on to claim, “the WildWest Institute [is] in court every day suing to stop any and all fuels management projects.” Truth of the matter is that WildWest hasn’t filed a new lawsuit against a timber sale in Montana for nearly two years. True, our organization, local landowers, scientists, researchers and even more than a few loggers have legitimate concerns with how the Forest Service sometimes goes about conducting “fuel reduction” projects.

    However, the WildWest Institute is also an active participant in a number of collaborative groups around the state and region. Our goal is to help craft positive solutions that promote sustainability in our communities through jobs restoring naturally functioning ecosystems and protecting communities from wildfire. For example, we helped form FireSafe Montana (http://www.firesafemt.org) and we helped develop the 13 Restoration Principles of the Montana Forest Restoration Working Group (http://www.montanarestoration.org). We serve on the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests restoration committees that are working to implement the 13 Principles and we also serve on collaborative groups in Sanders and Mineral County, as well as in Lemhi County, Idaho.

    The WildWest Institute is also a founding member of the Kootenai Forest Stakeholders Coalition (KFSC). The KFSC has endorsed five fuel-reduction projects and helped negotiated a sixth on the Kootenai National Forest. The work covers some 7,000 acres in the Wildland-Urban Interface and these projects will produce over 16 mmbf of wood products. It’s also worth mentioning that the KFSC – including environmental groups such as the WildWest Institute and Sierra Club – voted with a “Consensus without Reservation” recommendation on every endorsement. These facts certainly call into question Dubrasich’s claim that we are “in court every day suing to stop any and all fuels management projects.”

    Regarding Dave Skinner’s post above, I’m honestly having a difficult time following any logic contained within it. If folks want to check out who works for the WildWest Institute or sits on our board, they can go here: http://www.wildwestinstitute.org/about%20us/staff.html. Even if you just look at the work backgrounds of people in our organization (to say nothing of our 1,000 plus members and supporters) you see a diversity that might surprise some: a Forest Service wilderness ranger, wildland firefighters, lumber yard workers, guides and outfitters, paper company owner, Vietnam veteran, roustabout, teachers and factory workers. In short, the people who work for our organization are probably a lot more like you and your neighbors than some might think. And if anyone would care to read a sampling of the variety of community activities that our staff and board of directors are involved with see: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1537/blog/comments.jsp?key=333&blog_entry_KEY=22622&t=.

    People are certainly entitled to their own opinions; however, posting violent and threatening language on a website calling for the Forest Service Chief to be “put to death by lethal injection” or “If you know a Sierra Club member, please feel free to set their home on fire” certainly seems to cross way over the line – morally and ethically, if not legally. And while I’ve seen Dubrasich, Skinner (and now Mike’s friend Bob Zybach) ride to Dubrasich’s defense again, I must ask, who on the logging/forestry/wood products side of the equation will speak out against this type of violent behavior.

    Furthermore, making groups like WildWest out to be the “boogie-man” through completely fabricated statements and connecting dots that exists only in your mind might score some points with your buddies, but does it really get us any closer to putting people to work restoring our forests and protecting communities from wildfire?
    —————

    Posted by Matthew Koehler:

    In an earlier post Bob Zybach started:

    “As this is being written about 1/4 of a million acres of wildfires have burned across Texas and New Mexico, causing the evacuation of Robert Lee, Texas (pop. 1500) and causing injuries to at least three firefighters.”

    As you can clearly see, after this statement Bob went on to somehow tie the Sierra Club and other environmental groups to these fires burning in Texas and New Mexico, including the fire that was burning near Robert Lee, TX. While this is a pretty common practice, once again I feel compelled to provide some facts.

    I just went to http://www.inciweb.org/, which is an interagency wildland fire incident information management system. Here are some facts:

    Most of the fires burning currently in central and west Texas were human caused. Every single fire that has recently burned in central and west Texas that I looked up was burning in fuel types that were described as “tall grass” or “brush”, with maybe a few trees mixed in. Far as I can tell, the nearest national forest is located hundreds of miles from these Texas wildfires. In fact, all the national forests in Texas are located on the opposite side of the state!

    Specifically, the Silver Fire, which was burning near Robert Lee, Tx was human caused. It is burning in tall grass and brush, with a few trees mixed in. Again, nearest national forest is hundreds of miles away. Yesterday the following weather details were provided: 89 degrees, 9% humidity, wind gusts to 50 mph.

    Yet someone Bob Zyback and others can get away trying to blame the Sierra Club and other environmental groups for human caused fires burning through tall grass and brush hundreds of miles away from the nearest national forest

    Talk about a serious non-sequitur! Perhaps Bob could fill us in on his logic? And I hope everyone notices how Zybach and Dubrasich have completely ignored all the facts I posted previously.

    P.S. I see in Dubrasich’s recent post he states, “Try to act like civilized human beings for a change.” Amazing coming from the same guy who posts violent and threatening language on his website calling for the Forest Service Chief to be “put to death by lethal injection” or “If you know a Sierra Club member, please feel free to set their home on fire.”

    And then there’s this rather bizarre behavior from Dubrasich:
    http://www.demarcatedlandscapes.com/2007/02/more-from-mike-dubrasich-mailbag.html:

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007
    More from the Mike Dubrasich mailbag
    Mike Dubrasich over at http://www.sosforests.com has apparently (if you are naive enough to believe him) followed through on his bizarre threat to get your author fired. (See January 29 post, below). He has evidently sent letters to various officials that detail the “criminal offenses” of this website and he claims to have discovered Zadig’s employer and boss, and contacted him as well as the F.B.I.. A recent Dubrasich missive ran thus:

    ———–
    “You work for me; I don’t work for you.

    I pay your salary; you do not pay mine.

    You are a public servant; I am the public. Get it? You servant, me master.

    I no longer tolerate eco-terrorists in my employ. I am going to monkey wrench you off the dole and out of the trough.

    You think you have a right to your job, and can behave in any which way since you were hired? Think again, bozo.”
    ————-

    His message before that one starts by describing his letter to Zadig’s boss and then moves quickly into his master/servant theme. He wrote:

    Fri, 02 Feb 2007 14:01:19 -0800
    To: demarcatedlandscapes@yahoo.com
    From: “Mike D”
    Subject: Ready to cut a deal?

    “It’s a fairly lengthy letter, detailing your offenses. Reads like a lawyer wrote it. I have an attorney, by the way, who loves this kind of thing.

    If I send the letter out, it will cause you grief. You may very well lose your job, and indeed your entire career. Even under the best of scenarios, your job and career will be severely damaged.

    However, I am willing to forestall mailing the letter, under certain conditions. Those are that you agree to learn ten lessons that I will teach you, and that you will demonstrate your acquisition of the lessons through the performance of certain tasks that I will assign you.

    Your first lesson is this: Understand the power I now hold over your life, to ruin your job and career.

    Your first task is to write me a nice email expressing your
    understanding of that lesson and your willingness to learn nine more lessons rather than undergo the troubles I could put you through.”
    ——————–

    Dubrasich’s last message was short. It said: “I forbid your use of my words in any public venue at any time.” Mike Dubrasich wants to be able to threaten people’s jobs in secret, it seems, but I am not inclined to honor that request.

    –Zadig
    —————-

    Posted by Dave Skinner:

    Hey Mike, thanks for reminding us of the Eugene 18 and Tedabomber. Yep. Arrested and convicted. And Matt, I didn’t make anything up. Your 2005 return, posted to Guidestar, had a letter right there with those names on it, those are the people your members respect… Wildwest probably hasn’t filed a lot of litigation lately probably because your budget has declined so much since 2001 when Ted Turner’s money dot-commed away. Never mind that your sister bunch TECI DID in fact litigate like crazy up until that point. Or have I mixed up my mergers? Again, my point that radicals have to train themselves to sound reasonable while normal people don’t do that, is valid. You are a shining example…well spoken, rhetorically peerless, amazingly disciplined and on message for the dialectic…but that’s the only skill you have. I really don’t think you understand the difference between deeds and words. Dr Zybach here has planted more trees than you’ve probably ever seen, and then completely turned his life upside down to get a doctorate focusing on the real history of Oregon forests. Amazing stuff, and if you know what to look for, by golly, you see it. Mr. Dubrasich has a creativity and depth of knowledge about arborism that would pop your head. Want fiddleback? Ask Mike, he knows how you can get it. Bottom line, Mr. Clark and Mr. Koehler can do all they want to try to manipulate the debate. But the facts on the ground are otherwise, as is being recognized by the real public, not the fake eco-“public.” Those so long left out of the discussion have simply had it, are tired of the yap, and want to see common sense, and common sense IMPLEMENTED. How that happens, well, we’ll see.
    ——————

    Posted by Jay Stevens:

    Sort of ironic you’re comparing me to deranged arsonists when it was your fella that called for the burning down of houses of people whose opinions differ from yours. No, Mike, firebombers belong to your camp, not mine. That’s your style of politicking, not mine.

    I asked you for something constructive and you give me…nothing. Less than nothing.

    As far as I can tell, your “forest management policy” consists of the following: “I can do whatever I want, regardless of the law, and anyone who disagrees is a terrorist and should be shot or have their house burned down.”

    Does that sound about right?
    ____________

    Posted by Matthew Koehler:

    Dave Skinner wrote: “You are a shining exampleŠwell spoken, rhetorically peerless, amazingly disciplined and on message for the dialecticŠbut that’s the only skill you have.”

    Thanks Dave. But that’s not the only skill I have. I’m also a pretty good athlete, a good cook and a decent house painter…My dad’s been a house painter for 40 years, so I guess I picked it up from him…you know, on account of us enviros being elitist who were born with a silver spoon and all.

    Besides, I thought “my message has no traction…” (see below).

    And Dave now asks where was I was the Unabomber was going on? Ahhhh, I think I was teaching special education at a high school in Wisconsin and coaching the freshman girls basketball team. If memory serves, we ended up the season 4-12, but the team learned a lot and improved every game, which at that level is what you look for.

    From: “Dave Skinner”
    To:
    Subject: Have a nice trip, Matt
    Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2002 12:31:49

    I read your screed in the Gazette today and I just had to respond directly. You and your message development cronies are missing the point. Nobody is listening to you any more.

    While the press still sucks it up, the fact is, each column inch you get is another inch in the hole you are digging for yourself. Your “message” has no traction with the people who deal with the consequences of your crap every day.

    Kinda reminds me of Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove. You know you can’t go back to your funders and admit you are wrong, so instead, yer gonna ride her down with the hopes that you leave a big crater at the end of a long ride to obstructionist hell.

    Have a nice trip. Alone.

    Dave Skinner
    Box 1486
    Whitefish, MT 59937
    406-862-0058 — voice mail, no fax

  12. ReformedHippie

    Matthew Koehler just proves what newspeople know:
    It all becomes white noise over 25 inches.

  13. Raising taxes on energy and a national RPS for electricity was not part of the Bush agenda. ,

  1. 1 A few thoughts on the SuperReporter…

    […] at local politico-blog 4&20 Blackbirds, a recent post by contributor Pete Talbot questioned a number of aspects of Michael Moore’s […]

  2. 2 Newspapers, blogs and democracy « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] newspaper is on the ropes. I’ve written about this before. It’s trying to make the digital transition but hasn’t really succeeded. I’ll read a blog site from a specific reporter but do I […]




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