Tall tales of Spokane
November 4, 2013 3 Comments
President Obama has come under fire for numerous problems of ObamaCare’s implementation and, as the news media has begun to report, the President intentionally lied misled the public about keeping their existing insurance and keeping their existing doctors, which they knew was not a true claim when they said it.
It seems everyone lies to sell us something and this is certainly true in Spokane as well.
There are folks in Spokane that thrive on tall tales – usually people in the promotional business. Unfortunately, some of their tales are outright lies. And that is embarrassing and unnecessary.
There are plenty of things to talk about, and plenty of positive things to say without resorting to exaggeration, nonsense and lies. So stop it!
Here we highlight a sample of some of embarrassing tall tales:
- “Spokane is a high tech hot spot” – Network World Magazine. Except Network World actually said Spokane is not a high tech hot spot. Hey, we only left out one little word… yet this lie lives on today and has been duplicated on many local promotional web sites.
- VisitSpokane says there are “over 260 clear days each year” in Spokane (screen capture). They repeat it again on another page (screen capture). It’s an outright lie. VisitSpokane’s lie was picked up by Washington Filmworks (screen capture) and then spread by the national media (MarketWatch screen capture). This lie is off scale in its scope. The number of clear days averages 86 and partly cloudy days averages 88 and the rest qualify as “cloudy”. Spokane’s gray skies are on par with Seattle and Portland. Here’s another source – 86 clear days per year. The National Climatic Data Center says we can see sunshine on (some part of) 54% of days – that means it is cloudy all day on at least 168 days. There is no way to get to 260 clear days per year in Spokane – VisitSpokane is lying. (Update: They closed their downtown Visitor Center on October 31st because hardly anyone used it.)
- While aviation operations and total passengers have been in sharp decline since the mid 1990s we say:
- “Spokane airport might add terminal if GROWTH CONTINUES”
- “AIR TRAFFIC CAN CONTINUE TO GROW IN THE REGION“
- “The region’s air traffic GROWTH supports local economic development“
Nonsense claims are stupid and embarrassing.
- A forecast $350 million biotechnology economy in Spokane will only happen if a $16 million pedestrian/bike bridge is built over railroad tracks. The claim that a future biotech sector hangs on a pedestrian/bike bridge is loony and mostly a heap of dung. We imagine Pfizer and Merck are scouring the country’s cities for pedestrian/bike bridges to choose their next expansion location. Not.
- GSI had quite the pipe dream about Spokane becoming a high tech mecca. “With its strong base of research and academic resources, Spokane is concentrated on becoming a burgeoning center for information technology and telecommunications.” A bit of exaggeration. A past head of SIRTI said, “I want to place this region on the technology map, the same as Austin, Texas, or Silicon Valley.”
Most of the tech companies here when that claim was made have closed or moved away. In the reality-based world, there is only one graduate technical degree in the immediate Spokane area and in 2012 there were just 3 graduates. (More here.) The sales pitch that Spokane has what it takes to be a world class tech center is more than exaggeration – it is a lie. Continuing with their pipe dream, GSI produced an embarrassingly incorrect list of “top high tech companies in Spokane” which for years included non-tech companies and companies not in the area. It wasn’t true but apparently it made someone feel good to pretend it was true.
- More amusing tall tales are listed here. One was the odd claim that Spokane has more downtown fiber per capita than anywhere else in the country. How that claim came to be “authoritative” is amusing. Check out the link for the rest of the story.
- The VisitSpokane web site is a hoot: “You know how I know Spokane is cool? We have 7 colleges/universities in an 80 mile radius!“ They count Eastern Washington University twice and they count Innovate Washington, the de-funded economic development agency as a college. This is an improvement over the past counting of 70,000 students at 18 colleges and universities in the Spokane area. They cheated and included colleges located hours away. Using that standard, the Tri-Cities can claim Gonzaga is located in the Pasco region!
- A local real estate company quotes the absurd 70,000 students figure (page 8), and goes way beyond that exaggeration to say there are 1.4 million people living in the Spokane region! Which is true if the Spokane Region is all of Eastern Washington east of the Cascades (with about 1.2 million population) plus North Idaho from Lake Coeur d’Alene north. The lies never stop in Spokane! We love lies!
- VisitSpokane’s list of local media organizations counts the Spokesman-Review three times, KHQ, KREM and Comcast, twice. KXLY only warrants a single count. Bummer. And by the way, Comcast is a telecommunications company not a news media company. Embarrassing.
- The medical school project will add $1.6 billion to the region’s economy. They counted the growth of the nursing school and the ordinary growth of health care in Eastern Washington and attributed all of it to the presence of the med school. They greatly exaggerated the economic benefits of the medical school to the point of silliness. They didn’t have to – the actual benefits are plenty – but someone chose to inflate the number into a tall tale. Have you noticed a pattern in “economic impact studies”? Excessive exaggeration – and our local media never follows up in the future to see if grand projects lived up to expectations.
- SPD has officers on its payroll who are prohibited from testifying in Court – because they were caught lying.
Perhaps this nonsense – and this is only a sample – are inadvertent errors of staff. Or it could be we just enjoy telling tall tales and lies and like our local propaganda ministries.
We’ve created a mythology about Spokane that leads people to make wrong decisions, and leads voters and politicians into dead ends because they believe their lies. You can sure see why Forbes magazine labeled Spokane “The ‘Scam Capital of America’” - an easy call for sure.
When we behave like this, the truth, unfortunately, seems more like this:
The people of Spokane deserve better than what they are getting. These lies are unnecessary, counter productive and embarrassing. There are enough things to talk about honestly – so stop the endless lies, okay?
If you spot lies, tall tales and exaggerations, let them know you won’t put up with it anymore.
Just say no to stupid lies and tall tales.