October 18, 2019

Why Newspapers Can’t Be Relied on as Intelligent, Factual Source of Information

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DontUnderstandIt began this way. On April 4, 2014, Pulse published an article by Jim Lundstrum called, “Wolves at the Door.” That same day Jim Beers, a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper with a comment to make about the substance of the article, “Wolves at the Door.”

The entire back and forth between Mr. Beers and the newspaper editor would make a fantastic comedic routine for any pair of standup comics. The problem is, this actually really happened. Beers introduces the act this way:

Talking to a (WI) Newspaper about Wolves

The following interchange followed a Letter to an Editor regarding an article about wolves recently arriving in his popular and populous NE Wisconsin County, where one would (mistakenly evidently) assume a modicum of familiarity with wolves. It is enlightening for anyone dealing with wolves and the media. I say this not to impugn my skill or this editor’s response, but only to present this rare glimpse of what often is the case when we assume we are having a conversation that is merely gibberish, for whatever reason, to a listener. Jim

“Are you Druids?

When you quote a respected warden regarding wolves in Wolves at the Door, to wit “It comes back to, what can the landscape tolerate” you are simply using your human-owned newspaper to promulgate a secular animal rights’ belief to justify government force to oppress rural people with dangerous and deadly urban fantasies.

To paraphrase the good warden, wolf presence and tolerance “comes back to what those being forced to live with them can tolerate.” It is really quite simple and quite American, I might add.

Jim Beers
Eagan, MN
4 April 2014”

The editor of the newspaper writes back to Beers and says:

“I have no idea what you are implying. I can’t run a letter that makes no sense.”

Perhaps a bit frustrated or something more, Jim Beers makes another attempt at making his point:

I imply that you present the matter of the presence and abundance of wolves as only limited by what “the landscape” can tolerate.

What you publish is literally that human objections and perceived harm to human values are of no importance. In other words, humans and their objections are of less importance than the amount of food and surface conditions wolves encounter.

This philosophical difference supports the value difference between us that establishes people like myself believing that the threats and harms from diseases, dog loss, livestock loss, game reduction and human safety concerns caused by wolves are not justifiable and others like Druids (?) or nature worshippers that believe that human enterprise and society like the rest of “the landscape” must and should adjust to whatever wolves cause much like, for example, what is happening to the Minnesota moose, European sheep flocks and The Northern Yellowstone elk herd thanks to wolves placed and protected by the force of government fiat.

I assume the warden’s job security is tied to such a statement and that your paper would only engender strong reactions from readers that obviously are not hosting many or any wolves to date and like other public factions from urban donors and environmental activists to bureaucrats and politicians whose families and livelihoods remain unaffected by what we are talking about here. It might be better stated (though more words) as:

When you report that a Wisconsin warden believes that the presence and abundance of wolves is limited only by “what can the landscape tolerate” you and he are legitimizing an environmental falsehood that dates back to ancient pagan nature worship. This justification for forcing wolves and their continued presence by government fiat on local communities where residents strongly object to them is greatly flawed because it treats human concerns as equal to or lesser than food availability and other survival conditions that affect wolves. Human concerns about wolves in settled landscapes are always superior to other factors. These concerns include but are not limited to, diseases and infections, livestock losses, dog losses, game herd reductions and most important the human safety of those forced to “live with wolves”.

To paraphrase the warden, wolf presence and abundance is ultimately limited only by “what those being forced to live with them will tolerate.”

It is really quite simple, quite sensible, and it reflects American traditional cultural values I might add.

To which the editor once again responded”

“Sorry. I still don’t get it.”

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