Sunday, January 08, 2017

The false science of Journalism

Agenda Based Reporting
Read Local
The false science of Journalism
By Stephen L. Wilmeth


            The rain continued to come down.
            There were no sheets or buckets of battering rain, but the steady drone of drops on my hat and slicker made me glad I had layered more clothes that morning. I was dry and warm and enjoying the world around me. There had been no dazzling sunup because of the heavy overcast, but mornings like this are rare in southern New Mexico. So seldom do we see slow, steady rains that soak everything. It was reminiscent of California spring rains when the air is so soft, cool but not cold, and absolutely no wind was blowing.
            I watched for the outside rider who would be coming down the fence line with cattle that I would pick up and throw into my growing drive further north. Popalote was watching, too. He was alert for scattered horses and was as interested as I was in the eventual meeting.
            He was not legged up like he needed to be for this big work. I had been out of commission and hadn’t ridden any horse for three months. The saddle I had thrown was the first in all that time. Both of us, growing older partners, were not what we had once been, but there we were savoring the rainy morning and gathering our cow herd to start weaning calves.
            Pardner arrives
            From afar I saw a hat flashing through the mesquites.
            The few glimpses of the horse suggested it might be one of the cross bred horses B.J. Kane, our ranch foreman, and his family ride. They are Percheron-quarter horse crosses and they are surprisingly nimble, handy ladies. They can snap a rope.
            When I got closer, over the edge of the lip from a different direction came a cowboy standing high in his stirrups in a long trot with his head swiveling looking for cattle he had to know were there. I caught a glimpse of him and a big smile appeared as he crashed off the canyon rim away from me.
            It wasn’t BJ’s son, Caleb, so I knew it must be Jesse Bell’s son who had started with another group of riders from the other side of the pasture. I sat there trying to observe what he was up to and he reappeared now posting an extended trot off the slope. I heard him engage the cattle he had seen, and, through the morning mist, I heard the yip and the sing song hooey of a cowboy who was much older than his age. He took that bunch of cattle with him as he hustled back to his assigned corridor in the drive.
            When I met up with Caleb later, I learned the young puncher was indeed Jesse’s son. I reminded Caleb we didn’t like to chouse our cattle quite like that and Caleb admitted his friend was used to gathering horses (with the obvious, unstated implication of doing it with speed). I didn’t get to see either of them again until we had the drag end of the herd held up waiting for some remnants to come in before we started the drive up the drainage to the headquarters. Over the cerro, came the two little buckaroos driving a handful of cattle at the same rate of speed I had previously observed. You hear them talking as they came. Without pulling up, the little cowboy came right up and swung his horse to me in a side pass and reached out with his hand.
            “Hello, sir,” he began. “My name is Pardner.”
            “Well, hello back to you, son, and what was your name again?”
            “They call me, Pardner, sir.”
            “It’s good to make your acquaintance, Pardner,” was the response. “And, how old might you be?”
            “Nine years old, sir.”
            “Well, Pardner, you take your place over there alongside Caleb on the wing and let’s get this thing going. We have a long, wet drive ahead of us.”
            Through the mud we pushed the combined herd which had begun drifting northward before we had even started. The rain continued and the whole affair became a surreal scene from a century ago. Those two young boys gossiped and talked incessantly as they kept their side of the drive generally intact. Another Kane family friend off to my left called them out several times as they got too engrossed in discussion and pinched the drive down by holding cattle up behind them. Their much used wet, felt hats were held from covering their eyes by their ears, and their cowboy gear offered as much protection as most of the rest of the crew.
            The whole thing could well have been out of a scene of John Wayne’s Cowboys when Clay O’Brien-Cooper’s character was about the same age as Pardner. These were little boys but they weren’t just kids. These were bona fide cowboys who could hold their own. They rode their mounts with skill and authority without ever touching a saddle horn. They had learned to see and observe. They were alert as only young senses can be.
            Oh, if the rest of the world could only understand the implications of our youth learning to be productive by living and breathing in a real, structured, productive world around them.
            Behind the slow moving herd and through the rain and the mud, I enjoyed the ride like I haven’t in years.

Pardner Bell is on the far right, next to Caleb Kane.

             Agenda based reporting
            A regional newsprint reporter has been trying to talk to me about western issues.
            I have had some experience with her in the past, and I must admit she is a nice lady. I even told her recently that if we had been school mates, we would have likely been friends, but I no longer trust any news outlets or organizations that are not neutral, fact based standard bearers. Her newspaper is similar to nearly all others, owned under an umbrella of holdings, and driven by a standard liberal agenda.
            Period and unbending …
            Similar to the small town Enid, Oklahoma based paper that endorsed Rodham-Clinton because corporate gave the marching orders, this reporter’s regional newspaper should be boycotted by long standing subscription holders. The news they received was not only unfair, but glaringly inaccurate. The majority of news outlets no longer have the capability of reporting fairly. The methodology is to determine a subject line, contact a visible citizen involved, and then confirm the evidence by calling the network of liberal collaborators that contribute to the legitimacy factor. The story goes out safe in prevailing context and acceptable to the corporate ownership and their relationship to the left leaning national elites.
            A case in point involves the 40 ranches and 90 families impacted by the Organ Mountain Desert Peaks National Monument. There was not a single article anywhere in prevailing news that described the plight of those people or their businesses.  They were never given the benefit of any doubt much less a personal glimpse of the overwhelming uncertainty they faced.
            There was never an unbiased account of their real concerns, but, the reality is, theirs are immense public interest stories that remain untold. There are genuine Pulitzer Prize story lines that never get told, but the science of journalism has no mechanism to accommodate that. The practice is an urban based, socialistic society of insulated operatives that have lost touch with America. If the participants don’t start out of touch, they migrate to that condition because of the environment in which they live and work.
            They are homogenous scribes.
            Read Local
            The lady reporter will likely never meet Pardner.
            Certainly, she will never see the immensity of his existence because she has no bearing of the condition of his world. She could attempt to dress the part, but even nine year old Pardner would immediately identify her esoterical misconceptions. She can see him, but she can’t view him in the context of truth. It is the same for every issue that divides urban with rural and mainstream with Main Street.
            Pardner’s family never trusted mainstream. They don’t read newspapers. They do text and read social media. They home school their children, pay cash for their obligations, and can’t tell you who is playing in the collegiate national championship game, but they do attend close knit churches, congregate and tell stories, and coexist in a culture that does more for the good of mankind and the natural world than can ever be imagined.
            They do things constantly that the greater world would turn away from or demand others to attend. They make tough decisions. They face dangers that are at once frightening and exhilarating. Their story is seldom accurately told, but they don’t really care. Only what can be controlled is what matters. Their message to Main Street scribes remains.
Our trust is hard to earn.


                Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Read true local … liberal driven news has done us no favor.”

 When Wilmeth writes of cattle, horses and little cowboys, many of us can relate, but very few describe it the way he does. The Westerner and all our readers owe him a big Thank You for the weekly sojourns into this industry and its culture.

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