Taking a Closer Look 

Watchdogs

It's a sad fact, but not "all the news that's fit to print" makes it into print. Time, staff, budget and space constraints are constant challenges for news media of all types, but there are other, more sinister hurdles to truth-telling: advertising conflicts, political pressure, journalistic cowardice and plain-old laziness.

Boise Weekly prides itself on navigating these various shoals as best it can--and better than most. This week we dive into a couple of stories that have either gone unreported or badly reported. You'll find a fascinating dispatch from freelance writer Matt Furber, who spent a weekend in the small town of Salmon, which has recently found itself in the crosshairs of the always-contentious debate euphemistically called "wolf management."

For those who follow issues related to wolves in Idaho, the so-called "predator derby" hosted in Salmon in December 2013 was indeed big news--garnering headlines in media outlets across the country. Billed as an opportunity for hunters to win cash prizes for their kills, the derby resulted in more than a couple of dead coyotes and some property damage. But no wolves taken. Still, the event drew headlines like "What's the Matter With Idaho?" and "Wolf and Coyote Derby Turns Small Idaho Town Into a Battleground."

Meanwhile, a professional hunter was called in by the state to stalk two wolf packs in the rugged backcountry of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness--a move that resulted in a pending lawsuit, alleging the hunter should not have been allowed to use federal property during his hunt.

While coverage of the derby and its aftermath has focused on the broader issue of what to do with wolves, BW wanted to know what the people of Salmon think about the issue. Part of our BW Watchdogs program, which uses reader contributions to fund investigative journalism, we found--as with all good reporting--things are more complicated than they seem.

We reprint "Project Censored," an annual wrap up of the stories that didn't get the attention they deserved in 2013. In it you'll find an assessment of the media's decision to focus on government whistleblower Pfc. Bradley Manning's personal life and politics, rather than the content of his leaks; how global corporations have hidden just how rich they are; and more examples where the narratives we're fed don't quite jibe with the realities behind them.

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