Sourcing

Noting here a new Northwest public affairs site, Idaho Reporter, which we’ll keep on our regular-check list. It says that it will be following Idaho government and politics, and has posted a number of news stories already.

So who is doing this? Its about page says this: “We provide non-partisan, non-biased, un-opinionated news and information about government actions and proposals for use by the general public, elected officials and the news media. IdahoReporter.com does not endorse or voice support candidates or policies. IdahoReporter.com is a product of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan education and policy research organization based in Boise, Idaho.”

The key phrase here is, Idaho Freedom Foundation: Its base is not dispassionately neutral. Its main public face and prime writer (and one of its board members), Wayne Hoffman, is a former spokesman for conservative Republican Representative Bill Sali. Its board also includes Dan Symms of Caldwell – and of the same Symms family that produced former Senator Steve Symms – so you should be getting an idea of where the financing and impetus is coming from. You may consider the “non-partisan, non-biased, un-opinionated” aspects to be in the eye of the beholder.

Not to be dismissive, though. The foundation also has been developing a substantial database site called OurIdaho.com which tracks the details of government spending, and is turning into an excellent information resource. And the columns by Hoffman (who has been working on the database) frequently have been doing in fact something conservatives should be doing a lot more of (instead of the generic and tiresome moan about how awful government is): He’s been mining into the details of government spending, writing seriously about the nuts and bolts, and going after the specifics of what doesn’t make sense. (A recent favorite: The column “Salaries of many state department heads outpace inflation.”)

This material is not politically neutral. It has an agenda. But it is facts-based, quite useful and worth the read. If Idaho Reporter matches those standards, we’ll be reading it regularly for some time to come.

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One Comment

  1. fortboise said:

    Your post prompted me to go take a look.

    I didn’t look at a lot of the stories, but I was interested to see how they covered Allred’s candidacy. Seems a little distorted… starting with a misrendering of his photo that they had on the first article. Probably just careless, that.

    But in the flap raised by the GOP about whether The Common Interest violated IRS regs, the “coverage” seemed to be mostly about digesting the GOP press releases. They didn’t get around to reporting that the TCI had, in fact, produced the letter from the IRS that granted them 501(c)(3) status, for example.

    December 26, 2009

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