CDA Press’ one-sided story does little service to readers evaluating school board race

CDA Press’ one-sided story does little service to readers evaluating school board race

by
Emri Moore
September 13, 2021
Emri Moore
Author Image
September 13, 2021

The first rule of journalism has always been fairness, giving both sides an opportunity to be heard in a single story. However, for some reason, we often see fewer reporters committing to being objective in their work. A perfect example of the decline of this practice comes from Mike Patrick, managing editor of the Coeur d’Alene Press. 

Patrick recently wrote an article about Coeur d’ Alene school board chair Jennifer Brumbley not seeking re-election. Patrick noted that Brumley’s decisions for withdrawing from the race stemmed from fiscal oversight, curricular decisions, and politics. 

Patrick wrote that Brumley strongly supports three of the four candidates but said she wouldn’t endorse Lesli Bjerke because she is affiliated with the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) and John Birch Society (JBS). Patrick never explains why these affiliations should raise a concern for voters. Both groups support limited government. Why is that a problem? The story presents no clues.

Patrick did not mention if he asked for comments from Bjerke, IFF, or JBS. We know that no one called us to ask if Bjerke is actually “affiliated” with IFF or why someone should be concerned about it. One can only come to a conclusion that Patrick either failed to do his job correctly or decided to follow the trend that fairness in journalism no longer holds any importance. 

Moreover, Patrick doesn’t even have the decency to write a sentence or two of Bjerke’s career accomplishments to keep his article somewhat neutral. Patrick could easily have informed his readers that Bjerke is a former elementary school teacher and has a Master’s degree in education administration. She also served two terms as a school site member for North Park Elementary in Valencia, California. Bjerke has also been a part of  numerous committees, work groups and has participated in many volunteer activities. 

If Patrick had just written half of these career benchmarks, maybe his readers would have a different perspective of Bjerke — instead of a one-sided belief by someone who already has a biased opinion about her. 

A single-source story has long been considered a no-no in journalism, and that’s especially true if the story seeks to hold another person or organization in a bad light. In this case, the level of bias presented by the Coeur d’Alene Press’ managing editor speaks volumes about the newspaper’s regard for fairness. 

View Comments
  • ErnieL says:

    The official FBI position on the Birch Society was as follows:

    "The supporters of this organization and those influenced by the vicious propaganda it has been putting out are typical of the fanatics who have been attempting lately to disparage and discredit Bureau speakers who have been giving audiences a true, factual picture concerning the nature of the threat which communist activities in this country represent." [FBI-HQ 62-104401, serial #791, March 9, 1961, Chief Inspector W.C. Sullivan to Assistant Director A.H. Belmont].

    “The John Birch Society is an extremist organization which was founded by Robert Welch in Indianapolis, Indiana in December 1958…We certainly should not allow ourselves to be placed in a position where an organization of the character of the JBS can use statements attributed to the Bureau or to the Director to support its position in this or any other matter. This organization would not hesitate to twist any statement by the Bureau to confirm with its extremist position.” J. Edgar Hoover wrote “OK” on memo as did Associate Director Clyde Tolson. [FBI HQ file 61-7582, #4729; 2/8/61 memo from A.J. Decker to A.H. Belmont re: JBS member phone call; also, in HQ file 62-104401, #unrecorded]

    J. EDGAR HOOVER, November 1964 press conference:
    "Personally, I have little respect for the head of the John Birch Society since he linked the names of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the late John Foster Dulles, and former CIA Director Allen Dulles with communism.

  • Jim king. says:

    Such a disgrace! In Idaho, one of the last free states- free to live our individual lives, and free from the America hating leftist agenda. Turning CDA into a Portland like craphole daily. We must fight this with all we’ve got….

  • Dia says:

    Has anyone noticed that since Hagadone Sr.’s death the Press seems to have gone to one side reporting?

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