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JONESIE: When facts get in the way of a news story

April 21, 2015 - 12:07 PM

Overheard in the newsroom, (kinda')

Reporter: There’s a protest in West Kelowna again today. All the major provincial media have done stories on it already. Shouldn’t we do something on it?

Editor: Well maybe, but I still have no idea what this protest is all about.

Reporter: Five chiefs from the Nicola Valley don’t want biosolids from the Westside trucked to their valley anymore.

Editor: Biosolids. That’s…

Reporter: Processed crap, yes.

Editor: What’s wrong with Westside crap?

Reporter: (Shrugs)

Editor: What do they do with their own stuff in Merritt. Their biosolids don’t stink?

Reporter: It appears most of the rural area is still on septic systems but Merritt does the same thing many municipalities do.

Editor: Kelowna makes Ogogrow with sewage sludge, don't they? People swear by that stuff. Show me an Okanagan garden that doesn’t have any. It sells like hot cakes around here.

Reporter: Right. Hot cakes of…

Editor: OK, bad analogy. They do that in the Nicola Valley?

Reporter: They call it Sunshine Grow or something.

Editor: Sunshine. That's fitting. So there’s nothing wrong, nothing harmful about this stuff?

Reporter: As far as I can tell, no. The company that treats it says no, the Central Okanagan Regional District says no, there's nothing really unusual about this.

Editor: Do the protesters ALLEGE there’s something wrong with this stuff?

Reporter: Well yes, I suppose. They say animals won’t walk on this stuff.

Editor: Do they have anything beyond anecdotes to back that up?

Reporter: Not that I know of. Anyway, they are calling it an occupation of Christy Clark’s constituency office. Police are there, who knows what may happen.

Editor: Occupation. Everything’s an occupation nowadays. It’s ruined both the words “protest” and “occupation.” What does Christy Clark have to do with this? Other than maybe, contributing to the biosolids. Is that it? They don’t want HER crap out there? (laughs)

Reporter: (Shakes head) They are probably protesting Christy Clark because she’s the Premier and this is her riding.

Editor: So let me get this right. They are pissed off in the Nicola Valley because they have a business there that uses materials from the Westside of Kelowna to produce an essentially natural, useful fertilizer, essentially the same stuff they produce there, but they don’t like it just because it’s ours?

Reporter: Well, I’m sure the symbolism of dumping crap in someone else’s backyard doesn’t help.

Editor: There’s gotta be more to it than that, no? Is this a First Nations issue?

Reporter: Well, probably. It’s got the five Chiefs… but there’s also some non-native people there as well, so I’m not sure. Other stories I read said they don’t want traditional native land poisoned.

Editor: We just got a release from the Okanagan Nation Alliance saying they support the Chiefs. But Westbank First Nation sends their biosolids too, no?

Reporter: As far as I know, yes.

Editor: OK. So really what we have is a bunch of people who are pissed off for no good reason.

Reporter: Well they obviously think it’s a good reason. They think it’s harmful stuff.

Editor: Science appears to suggest otherwise.

Reporter: And how often do people believe in science? Look at the anti-vaccination people.

Editor: Science is facts. Just because people don’t believe four plus four is eight doesn’t mean four plus four stops being eight. We have a responsibility to not pass on misinformation don’t we? Why don’t we cover chemtrail people who protest almost every day?

Reporter: Because I’m sure every reporter everywhere has looked into it and found there was nothing to it but conspiracy theories.

Editor: …

Reporter: Well, there’s reality and facts and then there’s perception of reality and facts. Right now a perception of reality has created the fact that a bunch of pissed off, angry people are outside the Premier’s office with police around.

Editor: Oh brother. Well, you better get going.

— Marshall Jones is the editor of

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