"If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed."
- Mark Twain
Biased media. It seems to be the norm these days. In reality, it has always been the case that choosing where to get your news is the most crucial determining factor in what news you get...so choose carefully.
Today, I want to share with you a current example in the world of the Transfer of Public Lands. Two articles came out this week following an Idaho press conference where Speaker Bedke and other state officials spoke about the results of their current research and their plans to continue that research, as well as to watch what happens in Utah, whose legislation is further along than other states.
The first article we read in The Spokesman, and definitely leads the reader to believe that the state study found that no one in the state would support a transfer of public lands. Why? Because Idahoans value access to their public lands. Never mind that the people did not say they don't want the transfer of public lands to the state. They only said that they don't want to lose access to the public lands. This article chooses to leave out the fact that the Speaker of the House made it very clear that if the state manages the lands, access would improve. This article leaves a distinct negative taste in the reader's mouth concerning the possibility of a transfer of public lands to the state.
From the same press conference came another article, this time written by Magic Valley. This article gives a much clearer understanding of the results of the survey and the intent of the legislature. It shows that Idahoans want to make sure to preserve their access to the public lands, but stresses that the legislature has made it clear that they have no intention of blocking access, and they want to make sure to keep the public involved in the process of determining what they will do. Continued studies and public input. Both good things.
How did we, at American Lands Council, determine which article was correct? We called the politicians involved. Believe it or not, it's not that difficult. They all have contact information available online. They are just as frustrated...if not more so...than the rest of us at seeing their words and intentions twisted to manipulate the public. They are happy to clarify any misunderstandings and send out information to those who are interested.
In a world of the biased media, how can one find the truth? It can be a daunting task to be sure. Many, in their frustrations, retract themselves from the world of politics, convinced that there is nothing they can do...that all politicians are bad...that they are justified in focusing their attentions on other things more within their power to control. But these people would be wrong.
You can learn to tell fact from fiction. There are honest, good politicians. And you cannot delegate your responsibility as a citizen of these United States. You must know who is running for office. You must know who is running for office. You must select good, wise, and honest people. And they you must watch them closely to ensure that they are honoring the promises they made to you and their other constituents. Or...you must pay the consequences.
Below, I am copying the text of both of the articles because I want you to compare them for yourselves. Learn to discern between fact and fiction. See past the webs of manipulation and continue standing for truth.
American Lands Council
Fiction: The Spokesman.com article:
GOP lawmakers say they've learned that Idahoans treasure access to public lands Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, speaks at a press conference Friday at the Idaho Capitol (Betsy Russell)
Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, co-chair of the joint legislative interim committee that spent two years studying how the state could take over federal lands, said at a news conference today that lawmakers concluded they don’t want to do that. “We found that pursuing any type of litigation at this time would not be beneficial, and that we should wait and see what other states are doing,” Winder said. He said the panel came up with two major findings: That there’s dissatisfaction about how federal lands in Idaho are managed, and that “no one wants to lose their access to these lands.”
He joined other GOP lawmakers today at a news conference designed in part to counter fears that lawmakers want public lands sold, ending Idahoans’ access to them. “We need to continue involving the public,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke. He said he sees “three pillars” to the issue: That the public wants to keep its access; that it wants to be included in planning for public lands; and that it “does not want it to transfer to other entities.”
Winder said, “No one is satisfied with the status quo. There is a need to improve the management and the quality of management of public lands.” But he said, “It’ll be a political solution to improve management,” working with Idaho’s congressional delegation.
The two and Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, said lawmakers likely will craft another resolution this year on federal public lands, but didn’t say if they’d repudiate the one they passed two years ago demanding that the federal government turn over title to the state. “We learned some things,” Winder said. “The majority of Idaho citizens love the access to public lands.”
Fact: MagicValley.com article:
Bedke Says Law to Extend Federal Lands Committee Coming
House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, said Friday morning that he expects to see a law this session to allow the committee to continue to study issues raised by its report.
The committee was created in 2013 to examine federal lands management in Idaho with an eye toward increasing the state’s role.
It accepted its final report a week ago, recommending some approaches to accomplish this.
The report recommends not suing the federal government to get title to the lands, saying Idaho should wait to see what’s done in Utah, which has moved further down this road.
That final report asked the committee to be extended until the end of the 2016 session, to work out legal changes needed to implement its recommendations, and to appropriate up to $500,000 to do more analysis of the economic impact of a transfer of land into state hands.
Beyond that, the report recommends the Legislature create a couple of staff positions, possibly within the Department of Lands, and a permanent commission to implement its recommendations with $250,000 funding.
House Republican leaders held a news conference Friday morning, focusing largely on the report’s recommendations, making their case for increased state management and against some points raised by critics of the idea that the state should manage some federal lands.
Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said public testimony at the committee’s hearings last year showed most people are opposed to selling public lands, want to see continued public access and think the lands need to be managed better. Many critics of a lands transfer have said they worry about public access being limited and about lands possibly being sold.
Bedke said he opposes selling public lands and wants to preserve access and continue the public’s involvement in the discussions.
He cited the number of wildfires on federal land as evidence that current management strategies aren’t working.
“Mother Nature grows these trees, and they’re going to be either harvested or burnt at some point,” he said.
Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, who was on the committee, said Idaho’s timber resources are being poorly managed by the federal government, and the state should invest in collaborative management models to improve upon this.
“There are billions and billions of board feet of lumber dying on our national lands in the state of Idaho,” he said.
Opponents also have criticized the committee for hiring an outside law firm, Holland and Hart, to advise it.
Winder defended the cost Friday, saying that, considering the potential for improving land management, the money was worth it.
“That was one drop in the Snake River,” he said.