The graphic to right is an online screenshot of a Seattle Times article from Thursday, May 28. The Bellingham Herald reprinted the Times article today, Friday, May 29, in their morning print newspaper. But apparently they could not resist editing the article to remove an especially important and key word: whistleblower. The Herald eliminated “whistleblower” from the first sentence of the Times article but did not indicate on the byline that they had edited Ron Judd, the Seattle Times reporter in Bellingham.
No big deal, some will say. Yet actually, the whole story on Dr. Ming Lin is about his blowing the whistle on St. Joseph Medical Center and its poor-to-the-point-of-dangerous management of their medical staff by allowing them to be exposed to COVID-19 from patients. And while we know that a number of hospital staff did contract COVID-19, St. Joseph Medical Center has refused to let news media or the public know what the relevant numbers are.
Whistleblowing was the reason PeaceHealth (the large corporate owner of St. Joe’s) instructed TeamHealth (the large corporate employer and doctor rental outfit) to terminate Dr. Lin in March. Lin tried to quietly inform hospital management of serious shortcomings and they ignored him. So he went public - something he is allowed by law to do. And they fired him for it. Which is illegal. The Herald opted not to report on the story for days, until it was being reported nationally and internationally by multiple media outlets. Everywhere except in Bellingham.
I subscribe to the digital edition of the Seattle Times for $9 a month - actually $7.96 per four weeks. I also subscribe to the Bellingham Herald digital for $17 a month. The Seattle Times has their reporter cover major stories in Whatcom County and I am often able to read a story in the Times that never appears in the Herald. I subscribe to the Herald because I live here and even car crashes and local business news is important to me. Still, it is sad that our local paper does not report on our local governments, our planning departments’ decisions, our city and county councils, and so much more that is paid for with our property taxes and impacts us. I subscribed to the Herald print edition for decades, until March when we stopped bringing the paper inside because of concerns with COVID-19. So I cancelled the print version and went with digital-only. Then I was informed it would be the same price I was paying for both print and digital. Really?! Over the past year or two Herald subscription prices have been volatile - jumping up by $6 a month with no notice.
Subscribing to the Bellingham Herald is like buying a plane ticket; the person sitting next to you may have paid half what you paid. So, I was not surprised to learn that digital prices could be conveniently matched to what I was paying for both the print paper delivered to my home and online access. Such is the Herald.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ming Lin is working today and for the next week or more in South Dakota, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, the home of the Lakota/Sioux, at their Medical Center. I asked him for a photo of himself there and he sent me this little snapshot. He is providing medical care where it is needed and appreciated.
Northwest Citizen does not pretend to compete with nor replace professional media, like the Herald. But we do serve the mission of nudging and prodding them into covering important local issues. And we try to fully report on issues, especially on development planning, that the Herald ignores almost totally.