Friday, April 13, 2018

Punditry Disguised as Journalism

A week ago, Joel Funk of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle interviewed me for a story on the GOP gubernatorial race. He's a decent guy who normally writes well researched stories and sticks to traditional journalism. I have always treated him with respect and courtesy, and generously given him the time he needs for interviews. 

This time, however, he has stepped over a line that I cannot ignore. In his story, he characterizes Wyoming Prosperity as "a far-right economic policy group". 

Two days ago Funk asked me in a text message: 

"What in your mind is the best way to describe Wyoming Prosperity for my article?" 

I replied:

"An economic policy project to inform and educate the general public in Wyoming." 

He expressed appreciation for the definition. Based on his previous journalism I assumed he was going to use that definition, or something similarly neutral. 

Instead, he went ahead and made two big mistakes: 

1. Wyoming Prosperity is not a "group" of any kind. It is precisely what I told Funk, namely a project. It has no formal organization, it is nothing more than my project to educate the people of Wyoming on economic policy issues, and whoever wants to follow, comment on and spread the message. It has no funding other than my volunteer time. 
2. This project is not "far right". All this project is meant to do is explain a) the dangers with higher taxes, and b) the best fiscal policy path to a prosperous Wyoming. 

That more prosperous Wyoming would mean better business for the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, but apparently Funk and his employer are not interested in that. I am disappointed in Funk and from hereon I will interact with him accordingly.

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