The Concord Monitor's Integrity Deficit - Granite Grok

The Concord Monitor’s Integrity Deficit

“I can only assume that your editorial writer tripped over the First Amendment and thought it was the office cat.” —E. B. White

On Thursday February 9, the Concord Monitor ran an opinion column written by Dan Williams regarding several pieces of Legislation pending in Concord affecting Hunting, Fishing and Trapping.  Aside from writing for Granite Grok, I am the President of the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation, and also the President of the Londonderry Fish & Game Club. I am a hunter, a fisherman (of lesser sorts) and a Trapper.

On Sunday, February 4, Dan Williams contacted me about the aforementioned column he was writing. Because it was the Concord Monitor, I greeted the contact rather guardedly. In the past, in fact, I have written about features in the Concord Monitor, regarding it as a, “Fishwrapper.” a decidedly left-wing newspaper. Speaking to Williams for the NHWF, I addressed the several concerns as articulated by the body of membership within the NHWF.

The net product was this opinion column. Not aware of when it ran, I received a couple of phone calls and subsequently read the column with intrigue.  I could opine that I wasn’t really quoted at all. In the inverse, a few bits and bites attributed to me were thrown into this column gratuitously and without context. Fine. that is what the Monitor does.  I responded to the Monitor assertions, but not without much difficulty and there is one cold-hard fact that is true regarding the monitor. The Monitor is not at all interested in unbiased publication. In fact, the Monitor appears to not be the slightest bit concerned about appearing biased or left-wing.

In order to respond to the Monitor, I was required to generate an account. I was permitted 1000 characters (not words) which included any html tags to bold face or italicize print response. Because the space was insufficient, I posted the first part of my response and then posted a second part of my response. The second part was never posted on the Concord Monitor site. Moreover, The Concord Monitor has elected to become the final arbiter of what is a fit response and what is not. Comments posted are not immediately revealed but must be approved by a moderator. I guess you could say I was moderated.  

Finally, one must pay the Monitor to read or otherwise view their content. A free on-line account limits the number of views. In the context of the free market good for them! But that “ain’t” really what we are talking about here, now is it?  

Unlike the Concord Monitor, I will be fair. Dan Williams contacted me thereafter and left me a voice mail on my cell phone, explaining that what he writes is subject to editorial review where things may, and are, ofttimes,  changed.  I think Dan is sincere but I think there existed two divergent goals: Dan Williams goal to provide some commentary and the Monitor Editors’ goal of making the hunting community look like a bunch of ignorant schmucks. Unfortunately for Dan Williams, he owns it. His name is on it.

One aspect never mentioned in the article is how Representative Paul Simard, on the day of the hearing on HB1646 (the anti-baiting bill) introduced an amendment to ban baiting for Bear as well. Williams offered his narrow view that baiting violates principles of “fair chase” yet left unaddressed the overall nature of how wild animals “forage” for food. Williams asserted concerns for Chronic Wasting disease encroaching New Hampshie’s Deer Herds, yet left unaddressed the fact that despite years of baiting, the Granite State has yet to have a single case. Williams further asserted that many other states ban baiting, yet failed to include the fact that most of those states are severely restrict in access to hunting, through leases and laws that impose strict statutory requirements to hunt on private property.

On House Bill 194 (regarding the definition and carrying a loaded long gun in a motor vehicle)  the article never mentioned how this is a Fish & Game law that bumps up against the larger non-hunting community who advocate for Second amendment issues. The NHWF views this bill as a “non-hunting” bill.  We will always advocate and encourage hunters to adopt safe hunting practices, because, unlike carrying a long gun loaded in a vehicle for personal defense, Hunting presents a higher likelihood that a firearm will be discharged, given the nature of “hunting”…that is, the taking of game with a firearm.

Williams wrote,

 “Giving the bill’s authors the benefit of the doubt, let’s say that this bill is not about hunting, but rather about self-defense. Can you imagine trying to carefully and quickly wield a 3-foot long firearm within the confines of your Prius – or even your pickup? Law enforcement officers are trained to do so, but the average citizen is not.”

First, anecdotally, I think the larger community of Prius owners are less likely found to be firearms owners. Perhaps you might find a Scone or a pair of Birkenstocks and other hippy fare with the confines of a Prius more often than one might find a firearm.  While Williams denigrates the “average citizens” training, that fails to take into account this massive cottage industry catering to defensive weapon use training, be it handgun or long gun. And most of those training sources are conducted by former law enforcement touting their years of training and experience. It is an unqualified viewpoint. Mere pandering.

Lastly, lets be clear about these bills. Many of these bills rose out of legislation last year that was one large bill arising out of one individual’s Fish & Game violations. While the bill was touted to “level the playing field, it was viewed as a self-serving retribution on the Fish & Game Department. But be that as it may, some of these bills we now see are neither useful or good, but some aren’t bad and perhaps needed. But given personalities and opinions, the good bills are being over scrutinized and greeted with suspicion for no other reason that who authored them. That is politics, for better or worse.

The Concord Monitor can continue to do what they do. They have established themselves for who they are and what they are. But they need not call me for comment.