By Bob Ferris
In my twenty-five years working on wildlife issues I have rarely seen anything as reprehensible as the above billboard slated to be displayed in Spokane, Washington. Those involved should be ashamed not only for the content and imagery but also for being part of so transparent a propaganda device.
What we see above is part of what is known as an “echo chamber.” How does it work? Someone or a small group wants a certain message to reach the public so they put it out and then bounce it off other like-minded groups until it is amplified and appears larger and more meaningful than it really is. Volume in this instance is meant to correlate with truth. Often times with each “bounce” the message gets shriller too as we see above. And when there are not enough groups to bounce off to have the appearance of diversity you manufacture those groups—Washington Residents Against Wolves (WARAW) and the Science First Coalition are good examples of this deceptive strategy.
The echo chamber associated with the billboard consists of the above groups and was likely orchestrated by Jamie Henneman who is the communications guru or spokesperson for many of the groups spouting similar messages—including WARAW. When you look at the members and leaders we start to see many familiar names including the Dashiell brothers—Dave of Huckleberry pack fame and Don who signed the anti-wolf resolution coming out of Stevens County. These gentlemen are also active in Cattle Producers of Washington and the Science First Coalition respectively. And so the net gets more entwined and the actual constituency smaller as original voices are separated from the resulting echoes.
When you look at Ms. Henneman’s profile on LinkedIn, the story on this becomes clearer. Although she has worked for small market newspapers, her proof-reading skills (see above) and ethical behavior are not those of a trained journalist. What we do see here and what is consistent with this “echo chamber” approach is her coursework at the on-line institution American Military University which includes a course entitled Deception, Propaganda and Disinformation (INTL653). And if you visit the current syllabus for that course you will see that this course covers important topics such as “dirty tricks.” Add that to her emphasis on social media and the sudden explosion of websites and Facebook pages—all with anti-wolf messaging—in this sector makes sense.
"Hedquist noted that the parasitic disease that affects an estimated 2–3 million people and results in an annual monetary loss of over $750,000,000 worldwide. Incidents of human infection increase as exposure to the canine feces that carry the parasite also increases. The Centers for Disease Control and every state where wolves are present, except Washington, warns the public of the dangers via public information campaigns." WARAW Press Release
The intemperate and misleading comments by Luke Hedquist in the press release associated the launch of the above billboard are somewhat surprising as he—in the absence of anything resembling any apparent grounding in science beyond his high school coursework—is suddenly expounding authoritatively on a very complicated issue of parasite epidemiology. It is not surprising that he got it wrong (see Little Worms, Big Lies) Moreover, his use of global figures is purposely done to induce panic when the reality is that hydatid disease in humans is extremely rare in North America and the incidence in the lower 48 states is so rare that individual cases generally rate a journal article and typically are about people coming to the US with the disease. But this constant overstatement of risk is what we have come to expect from this fear machine.
All in all, the participants in this broader effort to promulgate biological bigotry in eastern Washington from the various cattlemen’s associations and these shadow “groups” should take some time to see where their moral compasses are pointed, because there is nothing about this complicated web they have constructed that bespeaks of integrity, principle or much in terms of stand-up character. The choice is fairly simple: Do you want to be known for being honest brokers or for your dirty tricks?
22 thoughts on “Jamie and the Amazing Wolf Hatred Echo Chamber”
Dear Cascadia Wildlands,
Please excuse my ignorance regarding the billboard shown above, but I recognize most of the animals shown, except one. Is that seemingly happy little girl holding on to a single specimen of Echinococcus granulosus or two separate ones? Why do they call it a 'tapeworm' when it looks more like a chain–if E. g. is what it is? If that happy little munchkin gets hydatid disease from her poor choice of handholds, will she be more susceptible to being bitten by a bot fly? Bot flies have a pretty nasty larval stage. Do the WARAW (WA Residents Against Women) hate women so much that they infect innocent little children, too? Has Dr. Valerius Geist ever worked on a dual vaccine against hydatid disease and bot flies, or does he hate sweet little girls, too?
Isn't 'their' sort of a collective pronoun? "Who's next on their menu?" Does that mean that that collection of animals are going to eat "The wolf"? I don't watch Jeopardy! but isn't that how the game works, the game-show host gives an answer, "The wolf," and then the contestants give the question "Who's next on their menu?" Sort of a "I'll take menus for $500." That seems misleading, because I'm pretty sure that four creatures on the left are herbivores, and don't normally eat meat. Of course, the calf may be fed some meat from cattle carcasses to help reduce feed costs, but the worst that will happen is the cow will get BSE, and the consumer will get a human variant which has a name that is too hard to type, but which makes them a bit quirky, sort of like living in NE Washington state.
Anyhow, I hope you can explain all the imagery and meanings to me, so when I drive over to eastern WA to visit my tax dollars, I will be an informed tourist, and not be surprised when I see "dog" on the menu.
Both of you Bobs are awesome!
Using the Eg tapeworm in debating the wolf issue could not be more ridiculous. It shows just how desperately uninformed,and willfully so, these people are. I find it ironic that so often wolf advocates are accused of not seeing wolves for what they are but as Disney-esque, cute and cuddly. But the anti-wolf crowd seems to be the ones attributing super powers to wolves….their size, their population numbers, the number of livestock taken, this super parasite. It is very, very unusual when a person who is not such a fan of wolves actually uses anything based in reality when discussing wolves. Sometimes the debate barely involves little more than insults and personal attacks. They love fear mongering as a way to disseminate "information". It seems anything can be attached to wolves to make them seem frightening, evil, despicable, unnecessary and therefore must be killed.
We have some of the highest regarded, most educated, experienced wolf researchers and biologists in the world yet they are ignored, dismissed by politicians, the livestock industry, state and federal wildlife departments, in favor of groups like this one in WA and other states. A very, very sad state of affairs.
Very informative article Mr Bob Ferris. It pin points the evil behind the massacres of wolves. How can this be counter acted? Why are there not posters showing otherwise?
Actions are in the works. Bob
This is a notice to Bob Ferris or any other administrator of this page to immediately remove this article, as it can clearly be considered defamation under Washington State law. This message fulfills the requirement of RCW 7.96.040 requiring a written request for correction or clarification before legal action is pursued. The content of this post not only tries to draw innacurate conclusions about my work as a media consultant and journalist, but also attempts to degrade my reputation, for which I may seek damages through civil ligation. I have forwarded this post to my lawyer and request this post be removed immedately. Failure to do so by the end of today 12/8/14 may result in litigation.
Additionally, if you wish to discuss my work or some aspect of my work, I recommend you contact me directly via email. I am open to discussion and dialog about my work or the topics it addresses and would hope that you would have chosen a more professional route before publishing content of this nature which can be construed as slander.
Dear Ms. Henneman,
Please be specify what you believe to be false and provide supporting information. We would be happy to make changes if something is indeed false
You are welcome to provide comment regarding the groups I work for or potentially the messaging that you find problematic. I respect your right to have an opinion and to share that with others.
However, your blog transfers to personal slander when it posts links to my personal resume and begins to suggest that I am intentionally using "dirty tricks" in my work as a media contractor for these organizations. This commentary affects my professional reputation and that is why I request it be removed.
As I mentioned to you per our phone conversation, if you wish to discuss a topic further with any of my clients, I will be happy to connect you to one of their representatives. As the contract Media Relations Specialist for these groups, I am often asked to comment on their behalf and to send our various forms of communication per their instructions. However, ownership of the messaging belongs to my clients and I encourage you to contact them directly if you find their content offensive or problematic. Further information about their organizations, campaigns etc. can be obtained by speaking with a President or Board member from any of my client groups. Please let me know if you need assistance obtaining their contact information.
Again, please remove the content specified mentioned above before the close of business today, 12/8/15. This additional response is my good faith effort to resolve this issue without litigation.
Dear Ms. Henneman,
We have read and re-read the paragraph in question and still do not see that false statements were made. Please be more specific. Which exact statement of fact is false. Please provide a quotation of what you feel is a false statement and your reasons for feeling it is false and/or information and documentation.
I do not wish this to be an ongoing, nor contenious, discussion. To clarify, please remove the entire blog post titled :"Jamie and the Amazing Wolf Hatred Echo Chamber" dated today, 12/8/15.
Is that what you are considering yourself Bob? An "honest broker" ? You took some shots at these people without even knowing involvement? And in what? A billboard that asks a simple question and makes people think? That is actually a very realistic question and it should be asked and addressed. If you chose to bury your head in the sand and not be concerned about these issues, that is your choice. But to attack and slander some people because of their"perceived" involvement seems to lack integrity, principle and stand up character.
Bob this article just landed your website on the do not click or share list. Wolfs are killing more and more as they are growing in population. Have you taken the time to visit small towns where they have issues with wolf and see first hand what they do and how dangerous they are?
The The information used in this article was disseminated to the public on billboards. Mr. Ferris and any others have the right to uncover who is behind the project. It is why you published what you published. Just as Watergate was exposed. It is called freedom of the press. I suppose you and those you work for also want to censor others from speaking out on your dastardly operations. Take down those posters. They do not portray truth. They portray anger and fear
Mr. Ferris, Although I noted your points and discussed them at length with several others, I find your personal attacks on this one individual ridiculous.
To "pop" one negaive back, (and I really hate to do this) if you think what your wrote here is professional journalism, think again. Slandering individuals with different points of view then you as in the quote "Although she has worked for small market newspapers, her proof-reading skills (see above) and ethical behavior are not those of a trained journalist – See more at: http://www.cascwild.org/jamie-and-the-amazing-wolf-hatred-echo-chamber/#sthash.pIV1a8JB.dpuf" (your words in the above article). Regardless of her journalism skills, just what does that have to do with the subject at hand? Apparently you cannot debate the truth so you resort to personal slander?
Discounting the facts of what your wonderful wolves are actually doing to the people who have to live close to them is poor journalism at best.
Now its my turn. Are you a wolf pimper with a "donate now" button on your website?
Hunters, trappers and poachers are doing more harm than good. They are killing very young wolves, pregnant females and Alpha males and females who lead the packs into their next meal thereby leaving the surviving members of the pack to starve. The operators and operations behind the "Echo Chambers" do not care and rumor has it that they want to eradicate wolves. It is not only the wolf but the coyotes who also face slaughter not only at the hands of all the above mentioned but at the hands of government entities.
Glad to see folks from Montana joining into the fray. Hal I am not a journalist. I am a wildlife biologist and biodiversity advocate reacting to a campaign to spread misinformation and fear.
So Matt is this the official WA DOT position?
I have spent most of my career working in and around small towns as a wildlife biologist. And I have worked on the wolf issue for more than 20 years. That is exactly why I find the messaging and distortion of facts so disturbing.
Jamie, You have been going page to page threatening lawsuits for defamation and slander that clearly do not exist.
Please let this serve as notice that any further threats of defamation lawsuits from yourself and or organizations you represent not limited to the Stevens County Cattlemen's association, WARAW, amongst others will be deemed Harassment,Cyber bullying and, Defamation and may constitute immediate legal action against you and organizations you represent. Lawsuits will also include all reasonable attorneys fees as well damages to the credibility of websites and people you and or your organizations are attacking. This may also include a class action suit to be filed for emotional hardship caused by the illegal and immoral activities you and or Organizations you represent manifest in creating an environment of hate that may lead to the distruction af an endangered species.
This class action suit would also include the advocates you distress as a result in your dishonest and vulgar representations.
Also note my hot air above.. Sound familiar? There will be no lawsuit!
It's obvious from the reactions of Jamie Henneman and guests that Bob Ferris and CW hit upon Pandora's proverbial box of truth with this article.
I do think that this information does need to get out to the public as it speaks volumes as to the meanings behind the billboard. Jamie Henneman waxes on about slander when in fact she and the groups she is representing have done nothing but slander the truth as well as science and biology – something WARAW supposedly claims to endorse on their own web and facebook pages. I guess it comes down to a non-legal professional's threat of slander versus her own misrepresentation, lying, hysteria and propaganda which are all rolled up in that horribly produced junk show of a billboard.
If anything, Mrs. Henneman should be more concerned with leaving her own professional mark on this debate with such a childish and rudimentary advertisement of her skills and the beliefs of her clients rather than wasting her time here wading through the mud of her own career.
After all, if she was so naive to believe that no one would call her and all of WARAW out on this publicity stunt they have a whole lot to learn.
Bob, thanks for bringing this to our attention.
well said timber
janeece, the correct spelling is wolves.
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