In today’s issue, reporter Joe Smillie demonstrates what true journalism is all about. In a story about the Wal-Mart appeal hearing, he quotes extensively from PARD’s “expert” witnesses and public comments. But rather than simply parroting what the PARDners had to say, Smillie applies the “BS Detector” of critical examination and gives the other side of the story.
For example, Smillie mentions Deirdre Sommerlod–Rogers testimony about how since Wal-Mart appeals to those of lower socio-economic status (boy, that’s going to play well in Colfax and Whitman County) and to youth, the police are going to be drained by having to go to Wal-Mart all the time. Rogers also worried that if Wal-Mart builds a Supercenter in Moscow and with one already in Lewiston, the Pullman store might be closed.
To quote from Smillie, “Rogers had plenty of anecdotal evidence, but mentioned no specific case studies”. OUCH!!
Smillie brought out a number of other good points, none of which made it into the Tribune or Daily News, including:
Can any other employer say that of its part-time employees? Not WSU, that’s for sure. But we'll see no petitions against them. Even mad dogs won't bite the hand that feeds them.
Most of the [PARD's] experts also brought up the fact that the city of Pullman failed to conduct a fiscal impact study before approving the site plan. Neither Washington nor Pullman law requires such a study. In his opening statement, [Public Works Director Mark] Workman said, “I don’t think Wal-Mart should be subject to any different rules than any other development projects.” Presently, the Moscow Wal-Mart has 205 employees. The store’s personnel director said about 75 percent of employees work there full time and receive benefits. He pointed out that part-time employees, those who work less than 24 hours per week, are eligible for benefits after two years of service.