Imbalance in media reports on China Mountain wind farm delay

No conservation spokespersons quoted-

Yesterday the big news in Idaho and northern Nevada was the 2-year delay and perhaps the demise of the proposed giant wind farm on top of Browns Bench/China Mountain on the Idaho/Nevada border (mostly BLM public land). There is much to be said on all sides of the issue.

Today we did a news search on stories about the delay.  In none of them were any people from the conservation viewpoint interviewed though, for good or ill, these people, play and will play a huge role in the outcome of the project.

This similar lack of balance in the traditional news media in Idaho and Nevada on many conservation, outdoor, wildlife news is a major reason why we created “The Wildlife News.”



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  1. Jared Avatar

    While it has been years since I last visited the Browns Bench area. It use to have incredible mountain shrub communities, sage grouse, reestablished sharp-tailed grouse leks. It is a challenge to balance incredible wildlife and energy demands.

  2. Brian Ertz Avatar


    As you know, this is a perennial issue with local and regional media outlets – one that I struggle with a great deal. Even when a conservation voice is interviewed, often-times those voices represent contacts that have little to do with the issues at hand – consider for example the bighorn issue, sage grouse, etc. it’s often just a token contact of the token conservation organization for a token quote that you could pretty much anticipate – a lot of folk – including reporters – aren’t really even aware of the substantive diversity of values and issues that our community enjoys – and they sure as hell aren’t going to take the time to figure out which is most relevant.

    There are so many compelling stories ~ really, really, remarkable stories ~ it’s a consequence of the miraculously dramatic subject (the wild/wildlife etc.) we’re involved with ~ inspirational landscapes, compelling wildlife, dramatically malfeasant and corrupt political organizations, etc. competing values, etc.

    there is a huge need for investigative journalism – a digging journalism – on these issues in the West. Unfortunately, all-too-often reporters at issue have a vested and superficial narrative, and relationships with political players/contacts that they don’t want to agitate for fear of lost access. I’ve had many many interviews where I know that the reporter at issue knows the underlying truth – understands it and has ample material with which to cite and rely upon to support its articulation — but the story published is cursory – follows the party line or some cheap superficial idea and the public is deprived the information that we need in order to be informed and ensure sound public policy.

    Is it the editorial boards ? the news organizations’ lack of resources ? the reporters ?

    Fortunately there is media like this – where we can bypass the gate-keepers who have been failing the public – and take the news directly to folk.

    I think this is why The Wildlife News has been so successful at cultivating a significant and informed community of activists, journalists, agency folk, decision-makers and citizens who participate in open and informed dialogue – the real meat is in the comments – and if you have a good idea about a subject and comment on it, there’s a good chance someone is reading that’s in a position of influence to think about that idea – maybe even do something about it. I know I’ve relied upon points made in the comments of these pages for material/points/ideas to include in advocacy brainstorming sessions, court briefs, responses to national news inquiries, and policy-groups time and time again. that’s the beauty of this forum, and it’s an attribute of this media resource that you don’t see in the comment sections of other mainstream media outlets on the web.

    The current state ~ the dramatic failures ~ of the mainstream media are as responsible for the tragic state ~ the dramatic decline ~ of western public land and wildlife populations as is anything else.

  3. Larry Zuckerman Avatar

    While not quite “McPaper” (aka USA Today), much of today’s written, spoken (radio), and viewed (tv) news media is a matter of sound bites. No matter how much the journalist and perhaps the editor know, want to include, garnered in diverse interviews, the bottom line often comes down what can you say in 500 words or less and have a story that stands on its own legs, unlike this forum, which can link to past stories and comments.

    It is not only a dummying down of the American public to catchy sound-bites and simple words (grade school even for the NY Times), but is also a reflection of today’s economy, where many media outlets took it in the shorts and to protect shareholders, investors, and profits, have reduced their news coverage dramatically. For example, the Idaho Falls Post-Register, a regional ID paper has reduced the number of pages, stories, and eliminated Monday editions.

    Others that are more dramatic are like the Rocky Mountain News, a tabloid that used to compete with the Denver Post and in Seattle, the Seattle Post-Intell., which used to agressively cover environmental and natural resources for the entire West and Northwest in particular, is no longer in print. Add the San Francisco Chronicle, and others, and you start to realize that Wall Street and the 1%s have gutted investigative reporting in the name of unrealistic profits.

    But what do I know… I am a fishery biologist… but the son of a newspaper compositor (defunct field), nutured on at least three morning papers and two afternoon competitors.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      I certainly appreciate the significance of what you write about the newspapers.

      I started taking “The Wildlife News” more seriously when a local journalist told me that we would have to do what they can no longer do (cover).

      1. Salle Avatar

        I most certainly noticed the decline of journalism in print and the airwaves over the past twenty years or so. It’s quite frustrating.

        Fortunately, I can be grateful for the internet and the less encumbered by corporate pressures news sites I can access, but it takes a long time to read through several articles on one topic just to get a well rounded perspective.

        And I am thankful for this forum, I gain a lot from the stories, the ability to interact on the concepts that others express about the subject matter…

        I had a bad feeling about blogging early on and I was kind of disappointed when Ralph first informed me that he was becoming more focused on it. I have come to appreciate it much more than I thought I would some ten years ago. (But I didn’t really like e-mail either, at first… back when Pegasus mail was all the rage and everything looked like DOS in monochrome-last century.)

  4. Ken Cole Avatar

    This is a typical story:

    “These actions by the BLM — in anticipation of the bird’s potential designation as an endangered species — ignore the true threat to its habitat, which is catastrophic wildfire,” he said. “By undermining multi-use energy development instead of focusing on the wildfire threat, BLM could do serious damage to economic development efforts across the Silver State.”

    The whole narrative centers on how awful this is for the elite but never do they consider the fact that all of these activities combined might not be sustainable.

    While one of the biggest threats to sage grouse is wildfire, they never connect that fact with livestock grazing. The BLM has “best management practices” for everything except grazing.

  5. Doryfun Avatar


    Thanks for creating this blog, and thanks to many of those on here that contribute. A long time ago I came to appreciate that one must dig deep and go where most folks don’t,to help decipher underlyng truths about history of people, fish, wildlife, and the land.

    That is why I like your site, it draws high caliber comments (most of the time) with informed folks and professionals from various stripes, who help shine a light on things often missed elsewhere.

    I don’t always have time to read everything I want or keep up on research/issue etc, as so much is happening in our fast paced world today, so this site is a semi-abstract/synopsis for me to get updated on important public concerns.

    Again, today, heading out fishing, so time only for this comment before leaving. As I feel more teacher than guide, while engaged with folks on the river, I hope to better inform them about issues effecting our area, and this site is a great help to keep me updated. Thanks again to all of you here with many great contributions for such.

    Since the name of the game is always bio-politics for anything to actually happen on the ground (rather we like it or not) it is important to have as much good (truth and fact) information as possible to make better dicisions. The goal – a better informed public and more respect for our planet.

    It takes many tributaries to make a river.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan