They knew the Wyoming coal delegation was coming to visit Whatcom County and Cherry Point on Tuesday, June 10. Indeed, both the Bellingham Herald and the Cascadia Weekly were invited to send a reporter to the “news conference.” Other local media were not notified, including NWCitizen, Sweeney Politics, or the Whatcom Watch. It was all so cozy.
They knew the coal delegation was coming but did not inform their readers or subscribers. Subscribers to the Herald pay to get the daily paper, hoping to get news that is important to our community. The Weekly pretends to inform us in-depth but, it seems, after the fact. But even in today’s Weekly, nothing, although they knew of the selective news conference ahead of time.
Ralph Schwartz posted a blog on the Herald site late yesterday, including his softball questions and the Wyoming folks answers. It reads like a PR report for Wyoming coal. He apparently did not ask about trains or their impacts. Bob Simmons attended for the Cascadia Weekly and maybe, if we're lucky, we will get something next week.
We have been checking to see what high level elected officials knew of the pending visit. So far, it seems Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville did not know of the visit until I informed her of it on the phone this morning. She is known to oppose the coal port terminal. The visit appears to have been focused on selling the coal concept to two local newspapers.
You can read Ralph’s blog piece online - “Wyoming sees bright future for coal.” How charming. What tough reporting. And still nothing in today’s print edition of the Herald. Nothing even in the online Herald news. Just buried in the blog.
Why the news blackout? Why the secrecy by the Wyoming folks if they think their story is so good? Maybe they can tell us. Maybe the Herald and Weekly can explain why they withheld the information and why they participated in a closed and secretive news conference. Reporters who knowlingly enable such secretive events know they are hindering open press reporting. They will no doubt have vehement defenses of their participation. Perhaps on FaceBook somewhere, where it can be deleted later.
Just imagine Riley Sweeney at that news conference. There would have been some tough questions. But Gateway Pacific Terminal, the host of the event, did not want to embarrass their Wyoming visitors with an actual news conference.