Years ago, I lived in several different small town areas. Places like Kingston, Port Hadlock and north of Penn Cove.

These areas had small, local newspapers and those papers featured active, online comment sections. Paying for a newspaper subscription was OK with me. There were basic rules for commenting, but it did not seem to matter what name people went by. I never cared.

I used to love the comment sections.

If a person works at a school district, county office, real estate office, on the ferries, etc. and they have info about what is going on, I want them to be able to comment without any need to use their real name.

Some people would misbehave in the comment section and the newspapers would come up with more restrictive rules or new software to run the comment section. Eliminating comments became a trend.

Local papers have stripped away all comments from past articles, and removed the opportunity to post comments to new articles.

Various newspapers in the Puget Sound area have gone with this trend.

Suppressing comments, getting away from asking questions related to public policy and telling us they need more support from subscription and advertising sales.

Got it.


February 24, 2020 Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

Fentanyl overdoses keep increasing in King County

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.”

Comments are shut down and we encourage you to keep the conversation going?

No hate speech, insults, threats, foul language, attacking other commenters, etc. These are rules that make sense.

Eliminating the opportunity for all to follow some basic rules and comment is information suppression.

Over the years, I’ve seen some really good points brought up in the comments section. Manage it, don’t ban it.

I’d be more interested in paying (again) for a local paper subscription if there was more in the way of investigative reporting & newspeople asking questions. Elimination of reader comments works against the idea of paying for an online subscription.

Manage it, don’t ban it. Online comment sections

Another New Trend For Small Papers – No Questions Asked

The papers are here to support government agencies and their messaging, not to question it.

Two Examples

In the news- example number one:

August 11, 2023 Whidbey News-Times

Whidbey sewer plants win state awards

“The Oak Harbor Clean Water Facility was recognized as outstanding by the Department of Ecology.”

The Coupeville treatment plant received the outstanding performance award for the 13th consecutive year, and the Holmes Harbor plant was awarded for the 17th year in a row. The Penn Cove wastewater treatment plant was also a recipient this year.”

Beach adjacent to Award Winning Sewage Treatment Plant:


“Clams, mussels and oysters CLOSED year-round.”

“This beach is within the closure area for a sewage treatment plant outfall and is unsafe for recreational shellfish harvesting.”

Source: WDFW

Love to see newspeople ask:

When is the last time all of Penn Cove was safe for recreational shellfish harvest?

Zero questions from small or large newspapers. Zero questions from TV newspeople.


In the news- example number two:

$6.3 million in federal cash for a used hotel.

Any questions from newspeople?

December 8, 2022 The Daily World

Dept. of Ag invests $6.3M to purchase Ocean Shores hotel

$6.3 million “to fund the acquisition of an existing hotel. Marathon Enterprises Inc. is located in Ocean Shores, Grays Harbor County, Washington. The project is expected to result in saving eight jobs and creating one full time job.”

Zero questions from small or large newspapers. Zero questions from TV newspeople.

The small papers will say they need more support from subscribers and advertising dollars or cash from the federal government to stay alive. All this because COVID or the internet or lack of newspaper sales, or a free and independent press that needs taxpayer support.

People who take no public funds, private donations or advertising dollars are free to ask questions at any time. Why not the press? Call for unpaid volunteers and you’d get better news coverage than what we have now.

I’d be more interested in paying (again) for a local paper subscription if there was more in the way of newspeople asking questions.

No sense in subscribing to newspapers that do not ask public policy-related questions.


Puget Sound Ferry Security

See if you can find any reader comments or questions from newspeople on this big Homeland Security/GWOT topic:

Good luck.

One of our old/favorite blog topics and another example of newspeople not asking questions:

Trying to make sense of ongoing war on terror/security theater mixed messages.

Love to see more in the way of newspeople asking questions.

Today, the best example of a free and independent American press is what you will find in sports culture.

Think of an NFL game. Coaches and quarterbacks face the press after every game and answer questions, win or lose.

No press secretary. No public relations spokesperson. No freedom of information act requests. No classified documents.

Instant replays, commentary in the broadcast booth, analysis from network studios, sports talk radio, etc. Fans get tons of info all of the time. No chance for conspiracy theories to develop. Missed calls by NFL officials may be discussed for weeks on end. No such thing as: “We can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.” Instant replay is for all to see. Sports writers are OK with being critical of coaches, teams, players, the rule book, the league, referees, team owners, when the season starts and ends, etc. This is what a free and independent press looks like. Go ahead and have sports writers cover public policy, Homeland Security and US Dept. of Defense news and I’m good with that.

In 2023, the press tends to support government agencies, departments and policies rather than question them.

The mainstream press today is prone to suppress voices of dissent and provide news coverage that favors government agencies, departments and their policies.

Here is a nice example:

KIRO 7 May 23, 2017

Ferry drill: Police train how to respond to security threats aboard a ferry in Puget Sound

“Law enforcement officers climbed aboard, guns drawn.”

Just the ticket for a Wild West shootout between the good guys and the bad guys.

If the Oklahoma City bomber rolls onto the ferry-how does the SWAT team help out an hour later?

Blogged about it over the years:

Maybe security personnel are present at some specific terminal each day. I have made dozens of round trip ferry crossings over the past 20 years from various terminals. In many cases, there has been no security screening at either terminal.

Washington State ferry passengers are advised via PA system to not leave backpacks or packages unattended during ferry crossings.

Meanwhile- on the car deck- cars, trucks, vans, commercial vehicles, etc. are left unattended during ferry crossings.


Newspeople Avoid Questions – WSF Security


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