Howling Wolf coverage biased, sensationalized
June 12, 2008 · Updated 4:30 PM
I recently read an article in your newspaper entitled Wolfs howling days over and another entitled, Confusion Over Howling Wolf Continues by Elizabeth Williams. Simply put, I found them to be extremely unfortunate articles.
I am more than a little surprised they were printed as news stories, even in a small, local paper. They seemed to me to be misleading, and extremely one-sided.
Despite more than a dozen complaints, Ms. Williams quotes only one local resident throughout both articles. This anonymous female stated, The noise was so bad, I really thought my eardrums would burst. This could not possibly be anything more than a gross exaggeration and does not stand up to even the most cursory examination.
Really, how loud would it have had to be inside the venue for it to have caused pain across the street? Did the local ER experience an unusually high number of admissions that night for bleeding ears, hearing loss, headaches, etc.?
Is one expected to believe that it was louder across the street in a parking lot than it is in an average venue (in which few choose to wear hearing protection)?
One would think Ms. Williams could have chosen a different person to quote, had she wished to do so.
Ms. Williams also quotes an officer who was present that night regarding the nature of the profanity. This officer states When I was there, it was so bad I didnt even put it in writing (in the report).
I recognize that you have no control over your local police force, but I find it odd that this statement apparently did not trouble Ms. Williams. This officer is a professional. What happens to the chain of evidence in the event he is called to a murder scene?
If the victim were mutilated, would he want to put that in his report? Should not police reports be somewhat consistent and predictable, irrespective of the officers personal feelings or nature of the incident?
Ms. Williams wrote, Police immediately hauled the band off the stage and told its members the city would shut the concert down if they kept using that kind of language. I was wondering if Ms. Williams obtained the police reports for the evening. I ask because this is inconsistent with my experience in dealing with the police regarding noise complaint issues during the years that I was in property management.
Additionally, I have read feedback from some of the people present at the amphitheatre that night who insist that no one was made to quit playing for any reason other than the end of their allotted time slot.
The same people also state that there were no arrests during the event (for example, no arrests for drunk and disorderly no fights, etc.)
It was my understanding that most noise ordinances have clearly defined decibel levels and in order to prosecute, or even shut something down, police would have to measure those levels in some way if for no other reason than to present as evidence.
Additionally, if a law regarding profanity in this application exists and was broken by the performers, why would Ms. Williams have not mentioned it? Certainly, that would have been in keeping with the tone and angle of her story.
I do not know why these stories troubles me so deeply. I understand the need for citizens to decide what they do and do not want in their neighborhood, the desire to let others know what is going on in ones neighborhood and even righteous indignation over something of which one disapproves in the extreme. And I recognize the importance of the news media in facilitating this process.
It seems to me, however, that this story bends truths and sensationalizes almost to the level of common gossip. It tarnishes the image and reputation of your police force and sheds an extremely negative light on your residents. I do not understand that.
I am a 34-year-old married female and I listen to heavy metal, rock and goth. When my husband and I attend an event outside of our immediate area, we patronize the local establishments snacks, gas, etc. I cannot imagine that I am alone.
Metal is not the moneymaker that pop and hip-hop can be. It is difficult for us to find venues and promoters that will present these shows, being that they are less lucrative (though no less vulgar) than popular music. It would be a shame if more than a dozen extremely vocal people were allowed to shut down another of our venues and potentially deprive your small town of revenue.
Carrie Crisman is a
Port Orchard resident