June 24, 2008

Educating "Original Pechanga" about news

Recently, the people at the Original Pechanga blog claimed the PECHANGA.net website censors bad news about the Pechanga tribe. They claimed this even though the website and tribe are unaffiliated.

Since I work at PECHANGA.net, that means they were claiming *I* censored the news. I don't mind if they defame the Pechanga tribe, which they do frequently without justification. I do mind if they defame my work and me.

Since their claims were false, I challenged them to send me any legitimate news story that we hadn't already posted. The blog's owner sent me a link Friday, June 20. It was an Inside SoCal item about a crime allegedly committed by Pechanga employee Kathy Zhou.

Here's what happened. As I wrote to the blog's owner (who hides behind anonymity):I posted this brief notice:


And the much longer article in the Press-Enterprise:


on PECHANGA.net at about 3:40 am Saturday morning (June 21). The P-E story was the top story in Indian Gaming and Latest News (the home page) for about 24 hours. Because of the timing, the story remained on the site until about 1 am Monday morning (June 23).

There were no attempts to censor this bad news about Pechanga. No phone calls or e-mails from Victor Rocha, Mark Macarro, or anyone else asking me to remove these items.

Let's recap:  I said I'd post any legitimate news item you sent me. You sent me the Inside SoCal item and I posted it.

Therefore, we're one for one in posting anti-Pechanga stories. And you and your readers are zero for one with your accusations that PECHANGA.net is biased, censors the news, takes orders from the tribe, etc.

Oh, well. Better luck next time, eh?

You also touted the superiority of NDN News as a news source. Checking it Monday morning, I see the most recent item posted is from June 16, a week ago. In that time, PECHANGA.net posted more than 500 stories on Native subjects, including the two negative stories about the Pechanga tribe.

As of 8:30 am PST, neither Indian Country Today nor Indianz.com had posted an anti-Pechanga story, although that may change. In contrast, PECHANGA.net had the stories online for almost two days. These facts demonstrate exactly what I told you: that PECHANGA.net is the most comprehensive news source for Native issues, including news about the Pechanga tribe.

Any questions?

Rob Schmidt
Comment:  As of Tuesday morning, Indian Country Today, Indianz.com, and NDN News still hadn't posted anything about the Zhou case. Not only is PECHANGA.net the most comprehensive news source, it's the only news source for this issue. Far from censoring the news, we're the only ones reporting it.

For more on the subject, see Leading Native News Sites.


OPechanga said...

What Rob doesn't mention is that inthe discussion about not posting articles that were negative to Pechanga, he challenged me to find any articles they didn't post.

I found four articles quickly and THIS quote from Victor himself:

While Rocha's site is packed with links to articles, he says he is selective and doesn't post articles that aid the opposition.

One of the articles I found was the MOST watched video on KNBC in Los Angeles. The story was so big, that they gave 8 minutes of 11 pm. news to it AND ran it the next day in it's entirety. 16 minutes and NOTHING about it on Pechanga.net.

So now, I send Rob news to make sure it gets posted, even if its on the weekend where it can be seen by fewer people. But, because the are posting articles NOW, doesn't change the fact that they weren't posting them earlier. The change is welcome.

But, in a spirit of fairness, I am linking his blog on my own blog:

Original Pechanga’s Blog and I'm patiently waiting for reciprocity.

Also, Rob says I claimed that NDN news was a superior news source and I did nothing of the kind. I stated that it was easier to run a website when you had Pechanga money like Victor, rather than having to go out and work on something other than your website.

So, in recap, Rob is correct, they are 1 for 1 since I called them on their lack of stories. It will be interesting how big the story will be when the indictments of tribal members comes down shortly.

Thanks Rob

OPechanga said...

I guess the link didn't work.

http://originalpechanga.blogspot.com is the web address, or simply Google Original Pechanga's Blog.


Rob said...

I didn't mention the video and three articles (not four articles) because they were irrelevant to my posting. I've explained that PECHANGA.net generally doesn't post videos and that we sometimes simply miss stories. You've offered no evidence that we knew about the three articles but didn't post them. (I definitely didn't know about them, but I can't speak for Victor Rocha, the website's proprietor.)

I've also explained that Victor basically isn't selective despite what he said in a very old article. To prove it, I said we'd post any fresh articles that you sent us. So far we've done it.

By my count, we're now six for six in posting articles about disenrollment or corruption at Pechanga and neighboring tribes. So there's no evidence that we "censored" stories in the past and we definitely don't censor them now. Yet you've implied that Victor takes orders from or is beholden to the tribe. Why is that, I wonder?

Regarding your request for reciprocal links, I don't link to other sites in general. I link to specific stories. About the only Native sites I've linked to in general are general news sites such as Indian Country Today, Indianz.com, and PECHANGA.net. Your blog isn't a general news site so there's no reason for me to link to it.

As for what you've said about NDNnews and PECHANGA.net, see "Original Pechanga" Fibs About News Site for the facts.