More That I Don’t Get

by Roger Pynn

Last month I wrote about a California Water Management District being called out for what most would say was a case of manufacturing news and positioning it as the real thing.

At the time, I reached out to Valerie Howard, the media contact for the Central Basin Municipal Water District and asked her for a comment.  She told me “It’s unfortunate how quickly inaccurate news spreads” and said they were drafting a request for corrections.  I asked her to keep me posted and share what they issued.

Two weeks later, here’s what she sent me, a link to the LA Times corrections page with this “correction”:

“An article in the Sept. 14 LATExtra section about Google News delisting a website that had published stories “written in the image of real news” paid for by the Central Basin Municipal Water District incorrectly stated that the agency contracted with the website,, to create the promotional stories. The agency contracted with a public relations consultant, Coghlan Consulting Group, for the stories and other public relations efforts. Also, the article misstated that the agency paid the consultant nearly $200,000 under the contract. While the district approved paying that amount, it has paid only $70,000 so far, according to public records. The online and print headlines for the article also incorrectly said that the consultant created the website to tout the water agency and that it was financed by the agency. Although consultant Ed Coghlan stated that News Hawks Review was a part of his company and he was listed as a reporter on the website, he did not create the site for the agency and it was not directly financed by the agency.”

I’m sorry.  I still don’t get it.  Isn’t this all about intent?

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