Sunday, August 29, 2010

Shame on the Sun-News & the Hispano Chamber

In the article Report: Wilderness areas good for economy Sun-News reporter Amanda L. Bradford writes:

A report on the economic benefit of wilderness conservation is being touted by one local business group as proof of their claim that federal wilderness areas help bring in revenue, but the leader of another business organization called that claim "overreaching."...

The 290-member Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces, which supports the federal Desert Peaks-Organ Mountains Wilderness Act and has launched a local TV advertising campaign to promote it, said the report shows that investing in wilderness conservation and restoration in southern New Mexico provides increased employment and revenue related to tourism...

Emphasis mine.

I'm curious as to where Bradford got the term "wilderness conservation", as that term never appears in the referenced report. The second quote above attributes the term to the Hispano Chamber. If the term is from the Hispano Chamber, then they are once again distorting the facts.

In fact, the word "wilderness" never appears anywhere in the report.

The Audubon Society put out an 1100 word press release about the report, and the word "wilderness" never appears in their press release.

Read the press release and you will understand the report is aimed at the New Mexico legislature to prevent any cuts in conservation funding:

“In today's economy lawmakers have tough budget decisions to make, and this report clearly demonstrates that investing in conservation and restoration projects pays large dividends now and in the future,” continued Stockdale. “Our state’s leaders have an opportunity to fund vital conservation programs that will enhance our quality of life and create jobs.”

Read the report and you will see most of the types of recreation and restoration projects given as examples would be totally prohibited in Wilderness areas.

Here's a picture from the report:

Try doing that in a Wilderness area.

So we have a news story with a misleading headline that mentions wilderness, with the body of the story using the term "wilderness conservation", all concerning a report that never uses either term and which is promoting projects that cannot occur in a Wilderness area.

The Sun-News needs to do a better job of fact-checking their reporters and the Hispano Chamber should rein in their exec and apologize to the public.

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