Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Ugliest Rapid City Journal since 2004

I stopped my paper subscription to the RCJ when they abandoned Tom Daschle, repeating the unfair character attacks coming from gay male prostitute bloggers, in the name of South Dakota Values. I get the e-edition because I have to.

Today was pretty ugly. On the web it doesn't look as bad, the paper edition is far worse... the short of it is the RCJ decided to wade into the leadership decisions of the Black Hills Symphony Board (not a Knowles on it). I have a lot of respect for Mary Garrigan but this time I think she was wading into waters she didn't know about and inadvertently has given voice (and misplaced credence) to a few extremely mis-informed opinions.. This from a paper that is quite careless with publishing community cultural event times (they always get the sports right, I've noticed), and does not even print concert reviews any more. A paper that has consistently supported this town's efforts to turn the Civic Center into a arena and sports event center instead of the hub of community arts activity it was envisioned to be when it was built in the 1970's.

Oh well.

Here's the web headline:

In contrast, here's the paper headlines, which come pretty close to libel in my book. Truth in advertising, the Knowles are dedicated musicians and very fast friends. But from any point of view, this is way over the line.

UPDATE: Truth in advertising, Bob and Coral White are close friends with Mary Garrigan and her hubby Kevin Woster, another RCJ reporter has a history of reporting unfair to the Suzuki school. Probably just a coincidence that this article is so harsh on the BHSO, which Coral abruptly resigned from in 2006. Isn't quoting close friends or even writing about something you are that close to just a bit over the journalistic line? I can bet that if Heidi Bell Gease wrote this article it would have come out quite differently.

There's lots of stupid stuff like this:
Jeff Johnson, a symphony musician who sat on the search committee, was concerned that the board did not reimburse candidates’ travel expenses or pay candidates who agreed to audition as guest conductors.

“The search committee was not allocated any funds by the board to pay any candidate for their services nor to pay any travel expenses,” Johnson said. “That I do find unusual.

HELLO, Jeff!!! You are a fine cellist and I'm glad you been playing with the group. But you don't seem to understand. THE BHSO DOES NOT HAVE THE MONEY. They don't have $2000 out of their butts to do the kind of advertising and pay guest conductors as you recommend. Sorry. We went through a search with DCU and it's the same kind of deal, it's a part time job and not of huge national interest. Sorry, if you don't like it you can move to Sioux Falls and play with Maestro Bennett, who took full advantage of the opportunity to slam the Rapid City musical community when the Journal called him!!!! The Symphony is in big enough trouble as it is paying the ever-increasing fees to the Civic Center, music rental, and our paltry conductor's salary.

This is good too:
“My understanding is that I was rejected. It was a very stacked deck, and I knew that going in,” said Peacock, a retired music professor who has lived in Rapid City since 2001, where he teaches strings and plays with the Black Hills Symphony.

The truth is when Peacock was rehearsing the orchestra he didn't behave like he wanted the job that much, in that he told musical anecdotes instead of working the music, and so went way over time, putting a big stress on the soloists that were also on the program by basically taking up their rehearsal time. Didn't read about that in the article.

Here's the truth: the RCJ went out and got quotes from the four people that have a problem with how the search has gone because they had an axe to grind themselves. This town loves Jack and Bruce and their family and think that Bruce should have a fair shot at the job. These four folks clearly don't. I'm thinking this will backfire on them, as the people who know the truth come to the defense of the Symphony board.

Well, what can I say: don't believe everything you read in the paper.


  1. I'm naturally biased, but thanks a lot for your post. Some very ugly, bitter stuff that does nothing but hurt this great community organization, one that the RC Journal could really care less about (re: their willingness to print this crap from the SDSO, who would probably like nothing more than for the BHSO to go down in a mudslinging contest).

  2. Well, you're still buying the Journal in one form or another. I could care less if they survive or die. I long ago quit subscribing because I only read three things. And the other person in our household didn't read it at all because we didn't know anybody mentioned in it anymore. They've been out of touch with Rapid City for the longest time...when merchant controls the editorial by threatening removal of his large accounts then I know it's time the let the local news fade away. We have no-bid contracts in Rapid City stink, no fuss. That would never have happened 40 years ago. However, when we're the backwater we are, we have to put up with failure in our fourth fact, I'm sorry, they don't even rank fourth any more. Probably 50th.
    We used to buy tickets to the symphony every year. We can no longer afford it. The taxes are going through the roof. Everything is going up at a rate that locals cannot afford. When the arts go away...when real reporting goes away...when real leadership kowtows to big business and religious pressure groups...the people will suffer in ways they cannot possibly imagine. The future looks so dim. I can't imagine that power will ever be restored to the people...and that progress will be the dream of every person. We're ruled by oligarchy, cabal, intrigue, racket and cartel. Woe, unto us if the people ever decide to make a change in the status quo.
    Nobody will know what side to take.
    And to think people would accuse orchestra players and participants of such actions is bizarre. The real problems in that area are far higher up the scale than a symphony orchestra. Get real Rapid City Journal...that's not reporting...investigative journalism...its slander and hatred of all things creative.

  3. Right on! I've known the Knowles family for years. It simply isn't fair to Bruce after all he's done to try and discredit him because he's related to Jack. The contributions the family (and all the BHSO musicians) have made to the arts community in Rapid is an act of great courage, leadership and philanthropy, and is to be commended!

  4. I want to drop my subscription to the RCJ because after getting a very fine newspaper on the East Coast, I got used to a world class newspaper. I am SO disappointed in our local tome. But the spouse likes having a real newspaper to hold in his hands, so we continue our subscription--which to me is rewarding bad behavior.

  5. To be fair, I understand that the spouse enjoys Rasmusson's reactionary, barely conscious rants against all things "liberal."

    It should be noted in the same issue the RCJ has a really sweet piece of Fischer's homecoming that didn't interview the many people that have quit working for him because Bob underpays his employees and openly disrespects (and most likely discriminates against) anyone that doesn't buy his extreme right-wing world view...

    Gee for some reason the article didn't mention Fischer's muscular political efforts in 2006 and 2008 to support fear, ignorance, and TrueChristianity (TM) in West River....

    Could have something to do with the fact that Fischer is a huge advertiser in the RCJ??? Nah.