Hate groups tough to cover - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Hate groups tough to cover

Press staff members share experiences at panel discussion

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Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Mike Patrick, managing editor of the Coeur d'Alene Press, said he hates to be played.

That instinct is triggered each time a hate group such as the Aryan Nations organizes and participates in an event in North Idaho.

"I feel a very strong responsibility to let people know, good and bad, what's happening around you," Patrick said Friday, speaking to more than 40 people at a panel discussion hosted by the Kootenai County Democratic Club at the Iron Horse bar and grill in Coeur d'Alene.

One of the toughest parts of his job, he said, is deciding both whether and how to cover the activities of hate groups, "especially when we know that they're being perpetrated by people who really only want the publicity."

While it's a matter of avoiding giving the groups the publicity they crave, it's also important to make sure a local media outlet doesn't overstate the presence of the groups relative to others who call the area home.

Kootenai County human rights leader Tony Stewart has organized a series of weekly speakers this month who will address the issue of human rights. For the first in the series, Patrick was joined on the panel Friday with Press reporters Maureen Dolan and Jeff Selle.

Following on what Patrick said, Selle explained that he learned a lesson about reporting on hate during a protest outside a Coeur d'Alene hotel years earlier.

Then Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler got arrested at the protest for trespassing.

Selle took a photo of Butler getting arrested, and gathered quotes from Butler as he was being pushed into a cop car. He hustled back to the newsroom and cranked out a story.

That story then was picked up by the wire news service The Associated Press, giving Butler a lot of publicity.

Ben Wolfinger, who has since become Kootenai County's sheriff, called Selle on the phone after the story ran.

"He said, 'Jeff, just something to keep in the back of your head. Richard Butler paid a $75 fine, and he just got a front-page ad across the country.'"

Dolan wrote about the Westboro Baptist Church for The Press, choosing to focus her coverage more on the community's response instead of the actions of the group.

"The most important thing was the way the community rallied against them," Dolan said. "We saw people (from the community) who don't normally agree with each other standing up to that kind of hate together."

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  • greyhound2 posted at 12:53 pm on Mon, Aug 5, 2013.

    greyhound2 Posts: 809


  • Mahiun posted at 8:27 am on Mon, Aug 5, 2013.

    Mahiun Posts: 5185

    I knew a schoolmate who smiled when he'd beat the krap out of someone. He was happy, not angry, not mad or even expressing hate. He just really enjoyed pounding people into the ground.
    You seem to be using this as an excuse for his behaviour, as if being "happy" pounding people into the ground somehow made it all okay....

    We've heard stories from convicted mob enforcers who killed just as a matter of fact, not hate just "a job".
    Again, does that magically make everything all better?

    "Hate crime" is really a misnomer. It might be better, and more easily, understood if we called it what it actually is: domestic terrorism. A "hate crime" is prosecuted as such not just because of the crime against one person, but because these crimes are intended to "send a message" --- if a woman is raped simply because she's a woman, it sends a message to all women that "this is what you've got coming to you if I catch up with you." It's a form of terrorism toward all women. If a Muslim --- or a Christian, for that matter --- is attacked because of their religion, that sends a message to all Muslims/Christians that if they can be identified, they will be attacked. Again, it's a form of domestic terrorism. If a gay man or a lesbian is attacked because of who they are, it sends a message that no gay man or lesbian is safe --- again, a form of terrorism, designed to instill fear (terror) in any and all members of a particular group of people. That is terrorism.

    That's what makes it different from a crime in which the victim happened to be female, or Muslim, or Christian, or gay, or whatever --- but that fact didn't have anything to do with the reason for the crime. It's that "intent to send a message to the entire group" part that makes it domestic terrorism, or a so-called 'hate crime". Now does it make more sense?

    And that's what gets back to the question about, "Is such-and-such a hate group, for their view on [[fill in the blank]]?" Not automatically, probably not. If you belong to a group that opposes abortion and you give speeches and write letters explaining why, and vote for candidates who agree with you, that doesn't make for a hate group. but if you and your group bomb an abortion clinic, or harass pregnant women outside that clinic, those are hate crimes; they're intended to "send a message" and terrorize any and all women seeking an abortion. If you oppose marriage equality......well, for starters, your travel plans may not be what they once were..... But if you vote your conscience or even form a group to oppose marriage equality, that's not a hate crime; you're operating within the law. If you commit a crime against a married gay couple because they're gay, that's a hate crime --- it's intended to "send a message" and terrorize any and all gay people. And so on, and so on, and so on --------- and yes, it even applies to crimes against Christians, if the crime was committed because the victim was Christian and the perpetrator intended to "send a message" to any and all Christians.

    Just think of it as "domestic terrorism", and it's a lot easier to understand....

  • bob-athol posted at 5:19 am on Mon, Aug 5, 2013.

    bob-athol Posts: 192

    Another way to bring exposure to bigotry using positive human relationship stories rather than judgmental journalism. A great read and superb journalism >>>> http://news.yahoo.com/sikh-temple-attack-united-victims-son-ex-racist-151739382.html
    I have no problem with a person confessing that "hate" is or was in their head and their actions for they alone know what they were thinking, I do take issue when others (reporters or lawyers HRI) try to tell readers what is going on in a persons head ie "hate".
    If someone kills someone else with premeditation .... what does being a hate crime have to do with it? They willfully killed, and the death penalty is fitting regardless of internal thoughts.

    When I was in school back in the days when fighting was just part of school life, I knew a schoolmate who smiled when he'd beat the krap out of someone. He was happy, not angry, not mad or even expressing hate. He just really enjoyed pounding people into the ground. We've heard stories from convicted mob enforcers who killed just as a matter of fact, not hate just "a job". If I make a comparison to another area of law, why does someone robbing a bank get more time than someone robbing a storekeeper? Only because bankers have more influence (bribing officials who write laws) getting laws passed.

    Hate is a common human emotion that I venture to say we have all at least thought if not practiced. Drive over to Seattle during rush hour ... you'll experience it yourself, you'll "hate" the traffic! Back to my earlier post ...the reporter is deciding if a persons position or objection to a topic/issue they embrace is hate ..... mind reading and reporting just don't seem to go together.

  • Ziggy posted at 8:56 pm on Sun, Aug 4, 2013.

    Ziggy Posts: 1182

    I was here in the early days of Butler and the other 4 tired old men. They were a joke then. They moved here because they could say what they wanted without the threat of some big black guy punching their lights out as there were few blacks or Jews here then. They were a joke. Then.....one day on a slow news day, just as described above, the local papers covered a Butler parade or something and the skinheads saw it on tv and decided to come to Butler's Idaho. Then Butler found out he could attract all these like minded people by recruiting in prisons. Then...the bombings and Butler pulled in his horns as some of the people he attracted sacred him as well as everyone else, esp after the big shootout on the west coast of Washington. Still Butler continued to get coverage in the national newspapers and on national tv and his little empire grew.
    Mike has a tough spot. Do you report all the news knowing that that very news could attract the haters to Idaho or do you ignore. I say, ignore. Because there is lots and lots and lots of news the CdA Press ignores. Mainly because it's a community newspaper and not a big news newspaper. So, ignore the Butler types.
    Those stories just add to the unpleasant mix of people we have encountered here in N Idaho which, by the way, was once a great place to live, pre-Butler, pre Expo 74 and Pre Ironman.

  • Bichardrutler posted at 7:44 pm on Sun, Aug 4, 2013.

    Bichardrutler Posts: 19

    If you think the days of North Idaho Nazis are long gone, you really need to get out more, or maybe spend some time in a place besides downtown Coeur d'Alene. They're still around. They might not be marching down Sherman Avenue any longer, or passing out their silly propaganda with godawful grammar, but they are definitely here. And it's amazing how young a lot of them are. Apparently the old guard had a bunch of kids and passed on their totally awesome worldview to the next generation.

  • local res posted at 6:41 pm on Sun, Aug 4, 2013.

    local res Posts: 1164

    While I don't agree with butler's group, is the human task force any less of a hate group? I just find it odd that groups who demand tolerance never give tolerance to others.

  • Mahiun posted at 6:01 pm on Sun, Aug 4, 2013.

    Mahiun Posts: 5185

    Is a pro-life group a hate group in the reporters eyes? Is a church group who espouses marriage between man/woman a hate group? Is a property rights group a hate group?
    That would probably depend on how they approach it, wouldn't it?

  • ChessOwl posted at 5:59 pm on Sun, Aug 4, 2013.

    ChessOwl Posts: 11

    Sounds like someone is disappointed that there is NOT still a Richard Butler-type person stirring up hate and division in the community, or at least enough to create breathless nonstop coverage by the news media. Seems like the Press especially has to resurrect the thought of "hate groups" on a fairly regular basis in case we all should forget. For heaven's sake the vast majority of North Idaho is GLAD to have such stories in our PAST and we do NOT wish to have "hate groups" rear their ugly heads here again. Can we stop dwelling in the past and MOVE ON? How about objective investigative reporting about subjects that affect our lives and well-being today.

  • Lussier posted at 11:21 am on Sun, Aug 4, 2013.

    Lussier Posts: 132

    People are coming to America for the simply reason that where they lived was miserable with little hope of buying all the neat gadgets advertised. Every travel show I see describes their former homeland as lush with food. Immigrants arrive here and quickly pile on the pounds with processed, easy food. They become unhealthy, AND INDEBTED, chasing the American dream.

    No news source is covering the hate directed at unsuspecting consumers! The intended consequence is premature death while exhausting family financial resources chasing cures.

  • Randy Myers posted at 7:20 pm on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    This week in Spirit Lake, will

  • greyhound2 posted at 4:24 pm on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    greyhound2 Posts: 809

    Uncontrolled immigration, both legal and illegal, is not a "hate" issue. Also, there is no such thing as "collective guilt". What happened 150 years ago has no bearing on events today.

    Since 1970, the year I graduated from college, in less than one lifetime the population of the planet has almost doubled from about 4 billion to near 8. Natural resources have increased marginally but not near enough to support the increased numbers. Most of the explosion has occured in Third World countries which could not feed their own populations in 1970, let alone in 2013. There is a mass migration occuring and headed to the United States and Europe for food and the social safety net can not support the influx. When a lifeboat is overloaded it sinks and if you don't get tough, you will drown..

  • Why Not posted at 10:27 am on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    Why Not Posts: 4529

    The news media is market oriented, the objective in my opinion seems to be to formulate niche markets, there in is why a Fox is popular with some while MSNBC, CNN and for that matter, the sound byte big three. If you want more in-depth coverage relative to your own opinions, you switch on a Fox or MSNBC, or if you are like me you avoid the slanted news sources and instead gravitate to outliners such as BBC, NPR or Al Jezerra.

    Mike Patrick’s point seems to be that by granting coverage, good or bad, to any controversial group or organization, the broader media is likely to pick it up, spin it and give the groups wider outlet for their message and this is exactly what they want. Where North Idaho received much adverse publicity because of Butler, later on it was learned to it was best to ignore their negative attempts to get more. The Press, in my opinion is a great example of a feel good local newspaper. They report on issues affecting the community and leave the rest to others, KHQ has a similar philosophy and while sometimes it seems corny, it serves the community.

    “There is no right or wrong, only opinion and opinion can change with a little common sense” - Thomas Paine

  • cedarincda posted at 10:12 am on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    cedarincda Posts: 28

    I understand your point, Mike, but then I also wonder why the media spends anytime covering Jesse Jackson or Sharpton. They are not official anything. I have also wondered why we care what the leader of North Korea says when we all know that is nuts. The list could go on and on. They are all covered, love them or hate them, because it is the news.

  • Just_K posted at 9:15 am on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    Just_K Posts: 84

    If you want to talk about news tough to cover, how about the child beaten to death by its own parent? Or a battered woman arrested for finally fighting back after taking it for too long? What about the child who lost both parents in a tragic car accident and is left an orphan? Rape? Brutal murder? Untold numbers of innocent people killed by their own corrupted government? There is a LOT of tough news to cover, but it all comes down to the root of journalism: OBJECTIVE. Once a journalist loses their objectivity and starts judging the news they are to report, they need to bag it and move on to politics where that sort of questionable character belongs.

  • Miketeague posted at 8:46 am on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    Miketeague Posts: 2165

    Paul Mullet of Hayden “we will rebuild” or Shaun Winkler last Nov “neo-Nazi protégé of Aryan Nations founder Richard G. Butler is building a new compound in North Idaho”
    And of course there’s “will”????

  • will-- posted at 7:49 am on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    will-- Posts: 960

    Butler is dead and gone. When is the last time an Aryan group organized a gathering here in North Idaho?

    It's time to move on.

  • max power posted at 7:31 am on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    max power Posts: 559

    Yes! If you want the Federal Government to enforce current immigration laws already on the books you are a Racist, Bigot and a Hater. Just ask mexican activist groups like Lulac, La Raza, Mecha and Maldef or any Liberal Lawmaker. They see these illegal alien invaders as undocumented future democrap voters. That's predicated of course on the ability of the libtards to pass comprehensive immigration reform/top to bottom immigration reform. Translation: Pass out the Amnesty candy...

  • SeanC640 posted at 7:11 am on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    SeanC640 Posts: 16

    Well said.

  • Flash Gordon posted at 7:06 am on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    Flash Gordon Posts: 1346

    Unfiltered news? Now Bob, I know your particular bias and you know mine. I'm really surprised that you'd spend all this time trying to sound as if you're really looking for objectivity when you're not. And if you dug deep down inside of what you really know about the reporting of news, you'd realize there is no such thing.

    Why don't you just come out and say what you really want to say to Mike:) instead of circumventing what you already "know".

  • concernedcitizen posted at 7:03 am on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Are those of us that want ALL people from ANY other country to abide by FEDERAL LAW and use proper channels to gain citizenship considered a hate group?

  • bob-athol posted at 5:21 am on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    bob-athol Posts: 192

    This was a good read, (kudo's!) I've often wondered why the media in general frequently will give so much coverage to events put on by the likes of the Aryan Nations or Westboro Church. Mike and the other reporters gave me some insight as to what they deal with as reporters when deciding what to do. I'm sure even in N. Idaho we'd all agree the two groups cited in this article are indeed way off base.

    While I do not want to take away from the importance of this topic, I do want to point out a concern. If you will an additional observation from what I read is that media reporters sit as not only "judge" in determining if you or your group will be covered, but also what will be said or written should they decide to cover you.

    That is scarey to me, and it highlights why so many power people what to own or control various types of media. With media you can control thought .... if you can change thought, you have power.

    So now we are left with the reality of Mike's comment, "each time "a" hate group ...." and I am left wondering if the reporter who is in front of me is judging the person or group as hateful (Mike's point) or "choosing to focus her coverage more on the community's response instead of the actions of the group" (Dolan's point) ?

    Is a pro-life group a hate group in the reporters eyes? Is a church group who espouses marriage between man/woman a hate group? Is a property rights group a hate group?

    So in retrospect, shall we as readers/watchers of the media rather seek a news organization that "only reports the news" and does not filter it ?

    To help the Press understand the depth of my concern, what if they could only write about stories that 1st passed thru Rush or Pelosi? Is that real news? Mike, Dolan, and Jeff would strongly object, but indeed they clearly pointed out that is what they do, they put on their own internally biased judgement cap and decide what the spin will be should they decide to cover.

    While I could cite several examples of bias, I'll pick one ..... I've noticed the Cda Press prefers to write mocking type stories when covering the republican mtgs, but look at all the good when covering democratic mtgs. (which the editor speaks at with some frequency lately) And when the media prints only "their view" of what the news shall be, what is left for the poor slob or group to unwind misleading reporting? Nothing.

    I remember how refreshing it was when CNN 1st came on the air. The only goal CNN initially had was finding enough news 24/7 to stay on the air. I watched it a lot back then because it seemed they did not have the time to put in the liberal/conservative filter. Today I never watch CNN, like all news media, building in the ideology/agenda is the main goal, not the actual news.

    So the question I have is two fold .....
    Who do you and I TRUST for unfiltered unbiased news today?
    If you or a group you belong to were interviewed, would you get a fair shake?

    Again, I appreciated main focus of the story, but it also clearly pointed out what goes on when internal bias gets to determine what we read or watch.

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