Tall tales of Spokane

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 when they want to sell us something and this is certainly true in Spokane.

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 (update -that comes from the Western Regional Climate Center) 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.
  • 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:

It’s why so many countries are so badly broken because they go by appearances, rather than by results.

The idea that we should go by results, rather than by processes, by outcomes rather than by appearances, was revolutionary.

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.

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3 Responses to Tall tales of Spokane

  1. Zelda Krup says:

    In other words, Spokane differentiates itself from its competition by lying, exaggerating and making stuff up. Deceit is not a good way to do business. This displays an ingrained and pernicious lack of integrity.

  2. Ian Cunningham says:

    RE: “as the news media has begun to report, the President intentionally lied to the public about keeping their existing insurance and keeping their existing doctors, which they knew was not a true claim when they said it.” This is flat-out bad journalism and not the whole truth. If you want to know why people didn’t keep their existing insurance, it’s because they chose to drop it in order to save money from double digit rate increases during the past three years. Insurers intentionally introduced “non-grandfathered” policies to replace the policies that were protected by the ACA. I know people who have maintained their grandfathered policies. So, it’s a bad example. You, of all people, should distrust mass media generalizations.

  3. inlandnw says:

    Here is the text of Obama’s speech to the American Medical Association:

    “And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”

    (Link to full text here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/15/health/policy/15obama.text.html?pagewanted=3)

    No amount of wordsmithing can get around that.

    The Administration did not add footnotes or caveats or cautions. He emphasized “Period”. Twice. And used the word “promise”.

    The Administration left millions of people believing they could keep their existing policies when it sold the ACA.. It was lousy communications at best. If a business used that sort of sales pitch, they would get sued.

    On November 14th, Obama admitted it was a lie, saying:

    “With respect to the pledge I made that if you like your plan you can keep it, I think, you know, and I’ve said in interviews, that there is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate.

    Sorry. I buy my own health insurance and have done so for more than a decade. We – and most others – did not discontinue our coverage as you allege.

    This was worse than lousy communications, it was not true – it was a lie. If this was not a lie, then what would a lie be?

    It is exactly the sort of exaggeration and “truthiness” that today’s blog post is about.

    More resources here

    http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Daily-Reports/2013/October/29/cancellation-controversy.aspx

    And for your information, the HHS document of June 2010 estimated that most of the individually purchased insurance policies would not be able to be continued. They estimated that potentially about half of all employer policies would also have to be replaced as well (I believe that happens at end of 2014). An easy to read explanation and a link to the HHS document (which I did read) in the Federal Register is at http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/10/31/obama-officials-in-2010-93-million-americans-will-be-unable-to-keep-their-health-plans-under-obamacare/

    Let’s also think for a moment about blaming the insurance companies. If you intended for insurance policies to remain grandfathered, why did you write into the law a financial incentive and an allowance for insurance companies to make minor changes to force consumers to purchase much higher priced insurance?

    Literally, the law specified a financial incentive and mechanism to do this. That is insane.

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