Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, September 12, 2005

The "Big Lie"

The "Big Lie" is a propaganda technique that was originally developed during WWII. The theory is that if a lie is told often enough, with enough authority and sincerity, eventually it will be believed.

For example (my emphasis in bold):
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 9, 2005

Contact:

Christopher Lupke (509) 335-2755; clupke@yahoo.com
www.pullman-ard.org

THE REAL BATTLE OVER THE WAL-MART PROPOSAL BEGINS NOW: PARD APPEALS CITY RULING

Pullman, WA - Attorneys for the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development (PARD)have filed an appeal in response to the City of Pullman's decision to issue a determination of nonsignificance regarding the environmental impact of the Wal-Mart Supercenter or, more accurately, mall, proposed for Bishop Blvd. in Pullman. As Christopher Lupke asserted, "we anticipated that Pullman Public Works Director Mark Workman, an unelected city official, would reach this conclusion because it has been clear that he has favored the Wal-Mart plan all along. Thus, while we were disappointed that he did not heed the words of area residents who submitted over 500 pages of documents voicing opposition to the Wal-Mart during the public comment period, we were not surprised at all by his decision. And his decision does not mean we are any closer to a Wal-Mart in Pullman because PARD is appealing the ruling, and we are confident we will eventually prevail. We have public opinion on our side."

PARD's appeal suggests that the Wal-Mart mall will render grave environmental impact upon the Pullman community. Implicit in the appeal is that the controversy will eventually be turned over to a Hearing Examiner from outside the community who is supposed to be unbiased. The appeal was filed at Pullman City Hall on Wednesday, September 7. The essential points of the appeal include the fact that the Wal-Mart mall is slated to be built adjacent to a historic cemetery, the boundaries of which have not been adequately established; that the mall will result in the generation of over 11,727 new traffic "visits" per day (Wal-Mart's own estimate), unsustainable for the surrounding conditions; that the project will be a threat to the natural environment by eliminating natural wetlands on the property and by covering a massive area that will eventually create severe storm water runoff and diminish the ability of the soil to absorb water for the water table; that the Wal-Mart's massive size (over 220 thousand square feet with a parking lot for over 1000 cars) is inappropriate for both the size and location of the site; that the added traffic burden will impact access to the adjacent hospital and cause a danger to pedestrians in an area near an assisted care facility, elementary and junior high schools, and a residential area; that the environmental checklist submitted by Wal-Mart was superficial, cursory and rudimentary and that it did not heed the concerns of residents and experts who filed letters during the public comment period; that the mall will create noise and light pollution in an area where many live; and that residents in the City of Pullman are generally against the project, as exhibited by the nearly 10,000 signatures gathered petitioning against the project.

It was additionally noted that as a corporation Wal-Mart engages in disreputable business practices such as predatory competition designed to drive competing retailers out of business through the promotion of a "one stop" shopping model and under-profit price slashing; that this business practice will have a negative effect on business in Pullman which is also an environmental concern; that many studies have indicated that the result of Wal-Mart's business practices in communities comparable to Pullman is a net loss of jobs and tax revenue; and that Wal-Mart is leading the way in undercutting the American manufacturing base by forcing its vendors to outsource their production to third world nations with cheap labor and few laws protecting the health or rights of their workers.
This "press release" is rife with factual errors, contumelious attacks on public officials, speculation, hyperbole and outright whining. The statement "...we anticipated that Pullman Public Works Director Mark Workman, an unelected city official, would reach this conclusion because it has been clear that he has favored the Wal-Mart plan all along. Thus, while we were disappointed that he did not heed the words of area residents who submitted over 500 pages of documents voicing opposition to the Wal-Mart during the public comment period, we were not surprised at all by his decision..." should be followed by "Waaaaaaaaaahhh." But let me concentrate on some of the more notable falsehoods.

Public opinion is behind them? Have these people been on Mars? It's just the opposite. Public opinion is growing AGAINST PARD

10,000 petition signatures exhibit that Pullman residents are against Wal-Mart? I challenge PARD to once and for all show the EXACT number of full-time PULLMAN RESIDENTS whose signature appears on the petition. PARD has described this as a "consumer petition" open to all "in the region." Now, it proves Pullman residents are against Wal-Mart? Sorry, you can't have it both ways.

I have personally seen parts of the petition, and only about half of the names that I saw were from Pullman. Even T.V. Reed, PARD chairman, himself said in a column in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News published over the summer that no one knew exactly how any people supported or opposed Wal-Mart in Pullman. So why do they persist in releasing this untruth to the media?

One thing is true in this putrid piece of propaganda. PARD continually and wrongheadedly refers to Wal-Mart as a "mall." While any sane person knows that is not true (by their standard Safeway, ShopKo and Costco would all be considered "malls" as well), it does remind Pullman residents that this group of fanatics is just like the group back in the 70's that cost Pullman the Palouse Mall and 30 years of economic dominance by Moscow.

Never again Ignore the "Big Lie."

1 comment:

Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

Excellent job!!! I started reading this blog about a week ago. I think the supporters of a Wal-Mart or any reasonable development in Pullman need to band together. We have got to stop letting the T.V. Reed's and others of his ilk from turning Pullman into a town truly stuck in the past!