Wally Wonders Why No editor, no publisher, you get what you get

November 15, 2008

All hail Paul Harvey

Filed under: Media Issue — Tags: , , , — wally @ 9:31 am

ode Hold on there; Paul Harvey didn’t get elected so why the hail?  Well why not?  He is the king; the king of looking for the rest of the story.  And darn it where would we be if we’d never heard that melodious phrase “and now here’s the rest of the story.”

When I pick up our paper, It would be helpful if there were  a little Paul Harvey running around the pages shouting out the rest of the story.  Thankfully there is no little gnome, as that would actually be scary, but neither is there, on many occasions,  the “rest of the story.”

Such was the case reading Local Iraq veterans discuss life after war in this mornings paper.  As the title indicates, the article covers a forum at WWU where Iraq veterans discuss life after war.

The veterans, English, Rick Lawson, Ash Woolson and Jared Gardner, discussed difficulties they face in receiving benefits from their service from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or, for some, overcoming post traumatic stress disorder.

Doris Kent, whose son, Jonathan Santos, died in Iraq, and Tiffany Schoessler, whose husband, Adam, is a veteran, discussed what is was like to go through life with a loved one serving in a combat zone.

Listening to those who have served is an invaluable experience and I almost feel it a duty for those of us who haven’t served in the military.  I’ve listened to many a relative’s story of WWII or Vietnam and only on occasion heard the troubling rest of the story.  I’d encourage people to listen intently to anyone who has or is serving; there always seems to be more to a story.

The story of this article is no different; there is a rest of the story.  And as the rest of the story unfolds, I should remind you that nothing past this point was available to the thousands of subscribers who only read the regular paper.

Sam Taylor had more of the story in a blog post which he describes as information coming from a group connected with the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center (WPJC).

Join a discussion with local veterans and those directly affected by the Iraq war, as they share stories of what it means to return after war time. The community is invited to an unbiased, depoliticized discussion around issues of what it means to be a returning soldier in the U.S., current V.A. treatment, and readjusting to civilian lives. This event is co-sponsored by Bellingham GI Sanctuary city, Social Issues Resource Center, Veterans Outreach Center, and Civil Controversy Series.

More towards the rest of the story, Sam has included the list of sponsors when he passed on the WPJC information for the event.  However, the real rest of the story lies deeper than just naming the sponsors.  The first sponsor is a likely candidate to look at for the rest of the story because, also in Sam’s blog post was information about a fundraiser for the group.

Join the Bellingham GI Sanctuary city campaign as we celebrate an evening to benefit war resisters in Bellingham. “The Desserter” is a gathering, party, dessert music show to support the campaign to make Bellingham a Sanctuary city for war resisters. Join us for an evening of celebration and conversation.

So the “unbiased, depoliticized discussion” the paper subscribers read about was actually sponsored by a group who wishes “to make Bellingham a Sanctuary city for war resisters” or as the WPJC referred to it in their newsletter, “support the campaign to make Bellingham a war resister friendly community.”

Here’s what the group says about themselves at GI Sanctuary City, Bellingham, WA.

The people of Bellingham are calling for an ordinance that will provide legal sanctuary for member s of the military who exercise their duty to object to an illegal war. To that end, we hope to have grassroots community effort to urge City Council to pass resolutions to not waste public funds on the arrest or detention of service members who are absent without leave.

Really?  The people of Bellingham are calling for this ordinance?  You’d think that’d be in the paper if it were the case.  So really, the supposedly innocuous “unbiased, depoliticized discussion” veils the rests of the story, which is the campaign by a few in Bellingham to see the city become a haven for AWOL soldiers.  And not just a place to gather covertly as it is right now, but they are asking Bellingham to ignore laws and not arrest or detain service members who are absent without leave.

Now you know the rest of the story, but what about the paper reading portion of the public?  Why did the Herald keep the rest of the story from them?   When will we hear the rest of the story?


  1. Sorry folks. There is no local sanctuary from military justice. You might as well vote on an amendment to the U.S. constitution and expect that to be binding.

    Comment by mark - meneltarma — November 19, 2008 @ 2:31 pm

  2. The event was put together, jointly by the Veterans Outreach Center on WWU’s campus, as well as the Bellingham GI Sanctuary city project, the discussion was a chance for veterans, and loved ones of veterans to express their perspective of what it’s been like returning to civilian life after combat.

    At least from a veteran’s perspective, this event was not a chance to encourage any particular movement other than a movement to get the public to support veterans who are returning home.

    It was a good forum to talk about my experiences and be able to inform more people about the realities of the military and war.

    Comment by RL — November 28, 2008 @ 8:02 pm

  3. It may have been a great chance for veterans to express, and the public to hear about, what it’s like for veterans returning to civilian life. However, my point was that identifying sponsors and their mission is pertinant information that was left out by the Herald. I wonder why.

    Comment by wally — November 29, 2008 @ 3:28 pm

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