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Idaho Dispatch

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Op-Ed: Media Bashing not New in Idaho Politics

By • August 12, 2022

News flash: Conservatives hate the “liberal” media. Always have, and always will.

Wayne Hoffman, president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, well describes sentiments from the right. “What you read in most local daily newspapers or see on the daily news isn’t really journalism. It’s leftist propaganda.”

He says that Idaho’s media is “hot garbage” and encourages others – including his followers – to stay away.

Again, there’s nothing new about this rhetoric. In 1985, a short time after I began covering politics with the Post Register in Idaho Falls, a group of Republicans accused myself and the Idaho State Journal of showing favoritism to Democrats. They measured column inches in the newspapers and concluded that Democrats were getting the bulk of coverage.

I wrote a scathing column lashing out at Republicans for daring to suggest that the Post Register (and myself) stood for anything other than truth, justice and the American Way.

The controversy caught the eye of Idaho Public TV and I was invited to Pocatello to appear on a program with Debbie Field to discuss the matter. I was halfway expecting to see a wicked witch riding into the studio on a broomstick, ready to cast an evil spell on me. As it turned out, Debbie – who later became a state representative — had a warm personality, a friendly smile and a delightful sense of humor. At least she laughed at my goofy one-liners when we were off camera.

Maybe along the way, Debbie saw that I didn’t have a forked tongue or an eye in the middle of my forehead. But the show went on and, I suppose, we presented our cases well. I received a few pats on the back from co-workers at the Post Register and I’m sure that Debbie received some high-fives from Republicans for putting that rotten Chuck Malloy in his place.

I doubt if many minds were changed. But we had some fun in the process.

Today’s version of political bias wars is not so civil. Hoffman has been making snide comments about the media for years and recently he joined two other fellow conservatives – Greg Pruett of Idaho Dispatch and podcaster Bryan Hyde – in a forum about how to handle media “malpractice.” There were no clear examples of media bias on the reporting end, but some general comments about how the media has shifted to the left. They also talked about how the liberal media used terms such as “far right” and “extremists” to describe legislators.

To at least some followers of Wayne’s world, descriptions can be based on how legislators score on Hoffman’s “Freedom Index.” Those who score high are “principled conservatives” who can do no wrong – even when they do something ridiculous. Any Republican who grades low is clearly a RINO.

Betsy Russell of the Idaho Press, who has spent four decades reporting on Idaho politics and is president of the Idaho Press Club, takes exception to the idea that Idaho’s media has taken a turn to the left.

“That’s not true,” she wrote. “I’ve been here all along, and I know this from first-hand experience. I still do what I’ve always done: Seek the truth and report. Hoffman’s continued agitation against real journalists is encouraging his followers to engage in actual harassment against the hard-working reporters who work to bring you the news every day. It needs to stop.”

From what I’ve seen, reporting from the Capitol is as strong as it has ever been. Betsy and the Lewiston Tribune’s Bill Spence are two of the best in Idaho. Then you have the Idaho Capital Sun, Idaho Education News and the Associated Press covering the Statehouse from all angles. With all the veteran reporters, and institutional knowledge, it’s not a pleasant environment for politicians who stonewall the media, dance around the truth, or outright lie.

What Hoffman is doing, says Russell, “is so repugnant that it cries out for robust denunciation.”

Of course, to the far-right extremists – or whatever you want to call them – a “denunciation” from Betsy Russell is the best thing that can happen for their cause. And Hoffman’s as well. With Wayne’s backing, conservatives will go on thinking that the reporting profession is filled by left-wing socialists.

ctmalloy@outlook. Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at

Note: The following Op-Ed was submitted by Chuck Malloy. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.

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Tags: Betsy Russell, Chuck Malloy, Media, Wayne Hoffman

24 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Media Bashing not New in Idaho Politics

  1. It is hard for them to see the “log in their own eyes”

    There are two ways to promote a political narrative. One is to not tell the truth and the other is to not tell the whole truth.

    The mainstream media in Idaho has always been biased. They have now become provocative prevaricators.

  2. Where does the agnostic go when he dies? It is a little late to claim to be completely fair to both sides and still expect to be rewarded in the end.

  3. huhboy…Does this guy read his own schtick?, the op-ed itself is a great example of what conservatives are concerned with in regards to the “free press”,(free to take sides, demonize and front for their “horse in the race”, which, given the predominant body of “work” currently spewing from the gaping maw of the MSM?, ain’t Republican OR conservative.)

  4. To Mr. Malloy,
    You would do well to heed your own counsel. You complain about the supposed lack of examples exhibited by those you criticize and then engage in precisely the same!

    I’ve read the attack “editorials” written by members of the Idaho Press club who denigrate those such as Hoffman and Pruett simply because they don’t kowtow to the leftists in the Idaho media. Good grief, one only needs read the “news” pieces published in the Idaho Statesman regarding Ammon Bundy to see the explicit bias on full display. And don’t get me started on the “editorials” which are nothing more than sanctioned hit pieces. Their treatment of Janice McGeachin and Priscilla Giddings were shameful and entirely dishonest.

  5. I enjoy reading his releases, and believe that he is correct in his assessment. The bottom line is that if you don’t like it, believe it, or agree with it, then don’t read it. Simple.

  6. I agree with Blair, and his comments appear to me to be spot on. I feel that the news papers AND TV news have not reported facts without their leftist slant for years. It’s more “editorializing” than reporting, so I do what I suggest to friends, find sources that (like the Dispatch) to get the real story.

  7. I agree with Blair, and his comments appear to me to be spot on. I feel that the news papers AND TV news have not reported facts without their leftist slant for years. It’s more “editorializing” than reporting, so I do what I suggest to friends, find sources that (like the Dispatch) to get the real story.And

  8. “They accuse of us labeling them far right extremists”… as he labels them far right extremists. Got it.

    I’ve read maybe 5 “articles written by this man. Every one of them has been written to prop up a Democrat, prop up the “Reclaim Idaho” frauds, or tear down a conservative. But the issue isn’t his bias… it’s those who call him out for it. K.

  9. I laughed when I read Betsy Russell’s counter to the notion that Idaho local media has taken a turn to the left by stating, “That’s not true. I’ve been here all along…” Yes you have, madam. You’ve been on the left all along and what you call truth in the remainder of your “counter” is the same leftist propaganda you peddle as “news”.

    For example, you relied on the CDC, the NIH and Fauci for “truth” when lambasting the few brave Idaho physicians, such as Dr. Cole, who continued to practice real medicine in Idaho and did early treatment to save patients from having to go hospitals (where way to many died for no good reason) after they couldn’t breath anymore because their miseducated physicians told them they couldn’t do anything until that happened. Regrettably, the hospital still got its $100,000. This is but one of a myriad of examples of how you don’t recognize the truth when it smacks you along the side your head and underscores the damage you do by writing for public consumption. You endanger our state.

    1. Your comments are so true, I wish all Idahoans would remove the blinders and ear plugs to see and hear the truth. You are spot on. Good post.

  10. Here in Idaho we actually witnessed the weaponization of the media (tv news, local rags, social media) against Trump, Janice McGeachin and Priscilla Giddings in a concerted attempt to derail their campaigns. The local terrorists who present themselves as activists and reporters, worked closely with politicians and rogue media to attack, lie, and misrepresent our leaders and our citizens. In essence the mobsters planned every step, all in bad faith. We Idahoans should have a mechanism to bring accountability upon all of these criminals. If that is vague, let me be more specific. The true enemy of Idahoans are those who label you (a normal law abiding, contributing citizen) as a…”white supremacist”, “militant”, “far right extremist”, “racist”….you get the drift. Their goal is to cause division, hate, and assist in bringing true fascism, communism and socialism into Idaho in order to destroy your freedom. Ultimate goal, globalism. Right now the battle in is the media. We The People must take over the “Narrative.” We The People must override their “Agenda” and write our own. So our biggest task at the moment is to hold the criminals accountable and replace the media. Call the deceptive and crappy reporting out and expose it to the public. Get avenues going that reach all Idahoans with the truth. Right now most of the media outlet and stations have been compromised. We have work to do.

    1. Excellent comments, and so true. The media is not only left leaning, they drink the Kool aid laced with a lot of Pelosi vodka.

  11. While spewing vast amounts of toxic propaganda crap. The main stream media in Idaho is nothing but a hate mob against the truth. Those slamming someone trying to get out another side of the issues, (The Truth), obviously have an agenda. Idaho’s main stream media has an agenda, just like the Corporate News media controlling the narrative on those propaganda box’s of vast destruction setting in almost every home. Now who owns Idaho’s main stream media? Those that own 90% of all media and their so called journalist are nothing but paid liars.

  12. “Seek the truth and report” means something altogether different to a left wing ideolog like Betsy Russell than it does to thinking conservatives. Her comment would have been more accurate if it said, “Promote the lefts agenda by any means necessary”.

    I must have missed something. Why is readers here have to endure the non-stop arrogance and leftist missives of people like this buffoon Chuck Mallory? Most of us would prefer NOT to have even more media manure on our plate. Keep it up and I’ll go somewhere else for my news.

  13. The problem with fake journalists like Chuck Malloy is that they have been groomed and indoctrinated into a system where they assume the identities of their captors. It’s like a Stockholm syndrome for media members. All one has to do is go all the way back to when this nation was founded. Before the Declaration of Independence was signed or the Constitution composed, the British government treated the colonists in the exact same tones that Malloy treats us. The Crown actually called protesters “seditious” and labeled their claims as “false and frivolous” or what the media calls a “conspiracy theory” today.
    Chuck Malloy would have found himself right at home back then, writing op-eds that would serve Governor Hutchinson well, with perhaps minor criticisms.
    The atmosphere of free expression was so severe, that the protesters had to conduct secret meetings to form the resistance that ultimately became the Bostons Tea Party, or as Malloy would perhaps have described as a “costly act of vandalism.” He might label protesters’ claims as a “list of imaginary grievances.”
    Scribes like Malloy will always be with us. They cover their fannies and kiss the rings. Thanks Chuck, for your piece of comedy. Now, why don’t you figure out how to get Idaho some cheaper gas…..WITHOUT relying on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve trick?

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