How make up a nasty, dangerous rumor and spread it

Beers’ “news” column in AgWeekly classic example-

You don’t like your minister. So you make up a completely false rumor, one that is sure to spread.  “Did you know the minister’s wife makes porn films?” “You don’t!”  “Well people are talking about it.”

Soon the congregation will be talking.

I don’t like to link to this, but we see the same thing only more dangerous, vicious; and the kind of rumor that could lead to violence on the part of a person misled by this kind of baseless lie.

Rural residents’ concern over ‘spread’ of wolves not surprising. By Jim Beers. Agweek. Sept. 21, 2010

Notice how he quotes no one?  “There is a growing suspicion by rural residents that “pro-wolf” advocates are releasing wolves to supplement and extend the presence and future growth of wolf packs in the lower 48 states.”  Not a single rural resident is quoted, and no evidence except the long known tendency of lone wolves to migrate from Wisconsin into Illinois, Indiana, etc.  He doesn’t mention the name of any person or group — just “pro-wolf” advocates.

It is hard to think that his agenda is merely concern about wolves.  The result if successful will be fear and hatred unless he is laughed off his stage. Unfortunately this kind of thing circulates in forums never read by the average American. It’s on an agriculture web site.

31 Responses to “How make up a nasty, dangerous rumor and spread it”

  1. Maska Says:

    Ralph, I agree. This sort of thing goes on all the time and is extremely difficult to combat. Answering these kinds of rumors often simply serves to reinforce them in the minds of a lot of people who fail to dig into their origins or question the sources of the rumors. Falling for rumors isn’t limited to people of any single ideology, level of education, or political persuasion, either, unfortunately.

  2. Daniel Berg Says:

    “It also has resulted in complete reorientation of rural lifestyles from how children go to and from school, what activities children can engage in outdoors and where small children must be watched to what disease potentials are from wandering wolves and how to keep any dogs safe from wolves.”

    There are a lot of statements that jump out at you in this article, but the one I quoted above is fascinating. I’ve read and heard it time and time again.

    In a world where a child (rural or urban) faces infinitely higher chances of being killed or maimed in SO MANY other ways, the threat of being eaten by a wolf is what causes this massive, fundamental shift a rural family’s lifestyle? I just flat out don’t get it. I’m guessing there are a lot of rural families who would not claim such a shift in their lifestyles due to wolves unless it was paying lip service to a broader agenda. It flys in the face of the aura of toughness that many rural residents like to project as a source of pride.

    Jim seems dangerously close to opposing wolves almost in an ancient, supersticious kind of way.

    • Ken Cole Says:

      “Jim seems dangerously close to opposing wolves almost in an ancient, supersticious kind of way.”

      I’m not sure I would put it that way. He’s not just “dangerously close” but has gone over the damned cliff.

    • jon Says:

      Just another ex federal govt. employee that is still bitter that he lost his job, so he goes around telling people for money how bad the big bad wolves are. Just lies and propanganda on his part. I am still waiting for this slimeball Beers to release the evidence he has that shows that money was illegally stolen to fund the wolf reintroduction, but I won’t hold my breath. My bottom dollar says that is another lie from an obviously bitter and disgruntled ex federal govt. employee.

  3. Nancy Says:

    + in schools and in print, recognizing that since time began, people that are not being seriously harmed by something (like pacifists to whom war is often an academic matter)+

    WOW! He completely skipped over the fact that wars are usually started for economic reasons and millions of people over the years have been mained, killed, left homeless, lives destroyed, countries destroyed, etc.

    DAMN THOSE PACIFISTS for interfering with corporate greed!!

    And I just can’t imagine how I’ve manged to survive in southwest Montana for the past 15 years with all those wolves around! I’ve even tempted fate, taking my dogs for daily runs!

    A couple of years ago I was invited to a Christmas dinner at a local ranch. The topic over the evening turned to wolves and the ranch manager’s wife said they were concerned about a little wolf they had seen on and off over the years and what was gonna happen to it when those “big Canadian wolves” moved into the area. Then she said “was I aware that wolves live in dens that stink of rotting meat?”

    Realized at that point there was a very biased choir in the room – the hired ranch hands and their families – and, the preacher. I kept my mouth shut, finished my dinner and left.

  4. Elk275 Says:

    If was damn good of the neighbors to invite you for Christmas dinner, I am sure the dinner was better than a turkey TV dinner listening to Christmas carols by yourself.

    • Daniel Berg Says:

      They actually make some good TV dinners these days. Real gourmet kind of stuff, not just the Hungry Man crap that my mom used to shove in front of me as a kid when she wasn’t in the mood to throw dinner together.

      • Elk275 Says:

        When I was young the TV dinner was just becoming available. I have eaten many Swanson Turkey dinners in the early 60’s. My mother wanted to go further, she wanted a “pill dinner” developed.

      • Daniel Berg Says:

        ELK275-
        Thank you. That gave me my first good laugh of the day. I think our mothers would have been equal in their appreciation of such a pill.

    • JimT Says:

      Would have been even better if the family had treated guests with civility and tolerance instead of making them feel like they had to leave. I am sure you would have had the same reaction Nancy did if you went to a new place, and folks started talking about hunters as if they were fascist killers.

  5. JimT Says:

    Maybe those of us who prefer to deal with these issues with reason, logic, science and facts are making a big mistake in our strategy. Lying, hysterical rhetoric, wholesale myth telling seem to resonate much stronger…

    • jon Says:

      They say if you tell a lie long enough and it goes unchallenged, people will start to believe it. People eat up this hoghwash that Beers spews. They don’t know any better. They are taught that wolves are bad and are wildlife terrorists.

  6. ProWolf in WY Says:

    All I can say is wow. This crackpot makes the people of Maine hunting, saveelk, and lobo watch look like Harvard professors.

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      ProWolf in WY,

      We don’t know that he is crazy. This might be a calculated move, even though it is so factually wrong.

      The Nazis deliberately spread propaganda that Jews ate babies though they didn’t believe it, but they knew the effect the rumor would have.

      • ProWolf in WY Says:

        Ralph, I wonder if people spreading this do actually believe this stuff. I hate to say it but I think that is an appropriate comparison, unfortunately.

  7. Robert Hoskins Says:

    Find below Jim Beers’ 1999 testimony before the House Resources Committee on the misappropriation or misuse of Pittman Robertson Funds by the USFWS during the 1990s. I challenge anyone to find the word “wolf” mentioned once.

    July 20, 1999: Witness Statement, Mr. James Beers 12/10/09 5:34 PM
    file:///Volumes/090908_1533/resources_archives/ii00/archives/106cong/fullcomm/99jul20/beers.htm Page 1 of 4
    Committee on Resources
    Witness Statement
    James M. Beers
    Retired Wildlife Biologist,
    US Special Agent, and
    Refuge Manager
    US Fish & Wildlife Service
    Testimony before US House of Representatives
    Committee on Resources
    20 July 1999

    I am testifying today as a recently retired US Fish and Wildlife Service employee of 31 years. I worked for
    the Utah Fish and Game while getting my wildlife degree from Utah State University, the best University I
    could afford in those days. After a stint on a US Navy cargo ship and then on Adak Naval Station as an
    Officer, I went to work for the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a GS-5 wetland biologist at Devils Lake,
    North Dakota. I purposely chose the USFWS because I knew the potential for conserving our wildlife
    heritage for my children and their children was greatest at the Federal level. The pride I felt and the
    satisfaction I knew during those early years defies description.

    My purpose here is to address the use of Federal Aid funds in todayÕs US Fish and Wildlife Service, so let
    me fast forward to the 80Õs when I was the Chief of Refuge Operations at the Main Interior Building here
    in Washington. I was deeply involved in Service budget matters, so that was a frequent topic of conversation
    both at work and in carpools. Frequent mention was made in those days about the occasional use of Federal
    Aid funds to buy furniture for the Director and to infrequently pick up odd expenses that the Director had to
    disguise or for which he did not have other funds available. So far as I knew in those days, the uses of the
    funds for the Director were neither large (over $100K) or frequent.

    In the early 90Õs, I was given the opportunity to replace the wildlife biologist in the Federal Aid
    Washington Office who dealt with the states and all of their larger and shared wildlife issues. Although it
    was a lateral transfer for me, I looked on it then and now as the greatest job that the FWS had to offer. I was
    paid entirely out of Pittman-Robertson funds.
    Two year later, I was asked to coordinate the efforts of the State Fish and Wildlife Agencies with the State
    Department and the US Office of Trade Representatives to deal with the European Community regarding
    their threatened ban of all US fur if we didnÕt ban leg hold traps. I became a member of the International
    Standards Organization (ISO) Technical Advisory Group on Humane Trapping Standards. It was a difficult
    challenge, but one that was worthwhile, necessary, and right for the State Fish and Wildlife Agencies and
    the trappers, furriers, and even hunters and fisherman who were also threatened by the animal rights
    activists who were driving the European fur ban.
    During this period, I began to see indications of USFWS developing duplicity on this matter. While
    USFWS assured the State Agencies and their constituents of support, I was hearing from long-time co
    workers that there were secret meetings between USFWS and animal rights representatives to agree to
    strategies to undercut our efforts with the Europeans and ISO. Whenever I asked about this I was greeted
    only with smiles and statements that there was nothing to it.

    One of my other main jobs was annually reviewing applications for Pittman-Robertson (P-R) administrative
    funds. I would then be the Project Officer for 90% of the approved projects.

    Two years ago, I received an application from an anti-hunting and anti-State Fish and Wildlife Agency
    group that wanted to put together and distribute anti-hunting literature. My hunter-education counterpart
    received a similar application to compose an anti-hunting education program. Both would have been funded
    with P-R funds intended to fund State management programs. I found the one I reviewed ineligible on four
    points from the Federal Register; one was sufficient to bar it from funding. I was badgered and intimidated
    to change that finding. On one occasion I told a manager to fund it if he wanted to, I would not change my
    recommendation as the regulations required.
    It became clear that USFWS was more and more viewing Federal Aid funding as an Achilles heel of the
    State management programs benefiting hunters and trappers.

    In October of that year, it became evident that our negotiations with the Europeans (and Canadians and
    Russians) were going to shortly result in an agreement favorable to the United States, the State
    governments, trappers, and furriers. New and workable humane trapping standards and humane research
    were the cornerstones of this agreement. In November, the roof fell in on me. I was curtly told I would be
    moved to a non-existent, lower graded job in Massachusetts! No responsible person in USFWS would
    openly even greet me, much less offer me any explanation or help. Even State representatives, while
    personally supportive, were concerned about currying USFWS disfavor since their control of the P-R funds
    was getting more difficult each year. I was locked out of my office, the police came to the building to keep
    me from entering, and I was threatened in an unmarked envelope left in my front door on a Sunday morning
    with the loss of my retirement for five years and the loss of my health coverage forever if I did not retire
    immediately.

    I am currently retired, but I spent my last eight months at home with no work from or communication with
    USFWS. Newspaper articles and the National Wilderness Institute focussed public attention on my dilemma
    and irregularities at USFWS. I was very fortunate to have obtained a very able lawyer who represented my
    interest impeccably. The resolution of my status was due to the help of many concerned people.

    During my years in Federal Aid, I witnessed a growing disdain for any responsibility for how they spent PR
    funds withheld to administer the Act. What years ago had bought furniture for the Director, began to be
    used to pay for personnel in other programs such as Fisheries when funds were short from Congress and to
    hide public affairs personnel when Congress directed the numbers to be maintained. Right up to two years
    ago, Public Affairs personnel who were not engaged in anything to do with administering the Act were paid
    entirely out of Federal Aid funds. The regulations at this time forbid THE STATES from two things law
    enforcement and public relations (unless approved by a USFWS regional director). Solicitors told USFWS
    that those admonitions did NOT apply to USFWS use of administrative funds.

    Coincident with the growing culture of no holds barred use of P-R administrative funds, USFWS
    decentralized. No longer did any one Division Chief in Washington oversee funding of each budget
    category. It only took a year or so for Regional Directors to mimic the Washington use of FA slush funds.
    Soon Special Projects, new offices, and new ecosystem managers and offices were receiving varying
    amounts of P-R life support. That is where we find ourselves today.

    I fought the USFWS openly for over a year regarding the forced transfer. I still take blood pressure
    medicine. The sleepless nights and helpless feelings that I experienced will always be with me. I told the
    story I have told here to lawyers, auditors, investigative agencies, and anyone else who would listen. Let me
    tell you, there are lots of people in government and in private organizations who are aware of these abuses
    and outraged by them. Those in government are rightly fearful. Those in State agencies likewise must
    depend on their unfaithful USFWS partners. Those in private organizations write and talk about their
    outrage at the misuse of these funds and their use to undercut State management programs.

    Only Congress can do something real. To quote a State representative familiar with this business, ItÕs so
    rotten, the only way to fix it is to start over. I recommend that administration of the Act (and the Sport Fish
    Restoration Act and any non-game management Act that might emerge) be given to an office or agency that
    does not duplicate the work of the State Agencies. For instance, if someone as far afield as say Agriculture
    or Treasury were to utilize P-R funds for their own purposes, it would be much more apparent as a diversion
    from the Congressional intent for State management programs.

    The Agency, or office, that administers the Act should only take the funds necessary to apportion the funds
    to each state, approve projects, audit routinely each state, and provide such coordination and national efforts
    as needed AND REQUESTED by the states through their International Association of Fish and Wildlife
    Agencies. All remaining funds should go to the States.
    Today the Service uses 8% of the available funds annually. Years ago, the legislative history mentions how
    the first amount considered for administration was 10%. Some Congressmen thought 5% would be more
    than enough since similar programs used less than 4%. They wanted the sort of premiere program that was
    Federal Aid for many years so they settled on 8%. Until recently, administration was only a 3-4% thing and
    this program was hailed far and wide as a model for other countries. User pays never worked better. Three
    to four percent should be the limit available for administering the Acts. Any more should only be at the
    request of the States for specific multi-state problems.
    While discussing these Federal problems, we should not forget to consider legislative remedies for the
    problems State agencies face today. The same groups that are working surreptitiously at the Federal level are
    working at the State level to eliminate management programs funded by P-R dollars. In order to maintain
    the integrity of the Federal Aid program and active management of wildlife, I would submit the following
    for your consideration.

    First, with the recent spate of ballot initiatives to ban cougar hunting, trapping of furbearers, etc., the
    question arises should P-R money be used to manage these species where States have elected to remove the
    citizensÕ ability to harvest those species? The law should recognize the right of States to ban such
    legitimate harvests by hunters or trappers but also forbid the use of P-R funds to manage or control such
    species in those States after they take such actions.

    Second, future non-game or OCS funding should not be matched by States with any sport license money
    unless and until all available P-R and D-J apportionmentÕs are matched. Non-game efforts should not be
    made with the funds generated by species which are utilized directly by men and women and children in so
    many direct ways.

    Last, the P-R law should define wildlife restoration projects like the D-J law does. That is to say, sport
    animals, like sport fish and their habitats, should be the focus of such projects. If States wish to do more
    worthwhile non-game projects, they should be done with money from their supporters and not by using
    Federal Aid money generated by sports men and women who have the reasonable expectation that such
    moneys will be returned to maintain their pursuits and the habitats which support them.

    I dedicated my professional career to wildlife conservation. I am appalled at the way I see conservation
    funds being looted and used to fund government and private efforts to undercut hunting, fishing, trapping,
    and the State agencies that manage them. TodayÕs USFWS is fostering an agency-wide climate that
    promotes these diversions and abuses. The Division of Federal Aid is currently filling the two-year vacant
    Hunter Education job in Washington. It is described strictly as an education job with no State, hunting, or
    fishing experience necessary. Imagine the mischief that will generate. The Refuge Division acquires new
    refuges and eliminates beneficial consumptive uses without reason or justification. The Law Enforcement
    Division promises State administrators and trappers that they will not license or tax individual trappers
    exporting furs to Canada; then, when they do tax them, they claim its a mistake and they will change it;
    then, after about a year, they say Congress made them do it and it canÕt be changed. The migratory bird
    managers are proposing to spend millions of recently ÓfoundÓ migratory bird funds, not on waterfowl
    habitat, but to buy a Pacific Island. In my opinion, they are changing the historic and legislative-based
    mission of the Service without benefit of Congressional or citizen knowledge or input.

    The sense of duty and purpose that I brought to USFWS back in Devils Lake is still alive. I retired on 3
    June, but I didnÕt leave the USFWS; they left me. I ask your help to get them back on track. They had a
    very important mission and some pretty outstanding employees.

    Thank you.

    # # #

    • JB Says:

      “Last, the P-R law should define wildlife restoration projects like the D-J law does. That is to say, sport animals, like sport fish and their habitats, should be the focus of such projects. If States wish to do more worthwhile non-game projects, they should be done with money from their supporters and not by using Federal Aid money generated by sports men and women”

      If public opinion does turn against hunters (something I seriously doubt in the short run), rhetoric such as this will be to blame. Such rhetoric paints hunters as greedy, self-interested killers rather than ardent conservationists.

      Protecting habitat for game species definitely benefits non-game species; but protecting habitat for non-game species also benefits game species, and there are a lot more non-game species to protect.

    • Robert Hoskins Says:

      JB

      My purpose in posting Beers’ testimony was to show that even though he now is claiming he knew about the alleged diversion of PR funds to wolf restoration when he was still working for the FWS in the 90s, he made no such assertion at the time. It would have been pretty easy to bring it up since the Chairman of the Resources committee was Don Young, no friend of conservation and certainly no friend of wolves. The claim is a total fabrication. No surprise to us, but here’s proof. Neither the GAO, which investigated the misappropriate of PR funds by FWS offices in the 90s, nor the House and Senate Reports on the bill introduced to fix the problem, found any such diversion of PR funds to the wolf program.

      Regarding the PR program itself, when it was passed in 1937 the focus was on protecting habitat for game animals, primarily waterfowl, although at the time I think the proponents of the law like Aldo Leopold didn’t differentiate game from non-game as beneficiaries. By this time he had already moved away from his earlier support of predator control, for example.

      The main problem everyone was focused on was not just loss of habitat but diversion of hunting and angling fees to non-wildlife purposes. G&F funds were constantly being raided by state legislatures throughout the country for various pet projects. The main provision of the PR law prohibited such diversion of G&F funds; any state that allowed it was ineligible for federal funds from the PR program.

      RH

      • jon Says:

        RH, you’re 100% right. He made the assertion years after he was fired from his federal govt. job. It is clear he is bitter and mad that he got fired. I am still waiting for him to release this supposed proof that he apparently has that proves that hunter’s money was illegally used to fund wolf reintroduction.

      • WM Says:

        RH,

        Did GAO or others do an audit to determine whether P-R funds were improperly used as Beers asserts? Can you direct us to the documents, if you sought them out?

        Here is what I find interesting in Beers’ statment from 1999, which is not inconsistent with his assertions earlier this year on that essay posted on the bad bear blog:

        ++Coincident with the growing culture of no holds barred use of P-R administrative funds, USFWS
        decentralized. No longer did any one Division Chief in Washington oversee funding of each budget
        category. It only took a year or so for Regional Directors to mimic the Washington use of FA slush funds.
        Soon Special Projects, new offices, and new ecosystem managers and offices were receiving varying
        amounts of P-R life support. That is where we find ourselves today.++

        It would seem diversion of P-R funds for the wolf reintroduction would merely be a subset of the larger claims which he asserts (probably not even alot of money). Maybe back in 1999 he did not feel a need to specifically call it out, and thus no reference to the word “wolves.” Now he has motivation to do so, maybe even a little money to be made on the talk and writing circuit by stirring the pot.

        What I really want to know is whether an inappropriate diversion of funds is true or false (including the implication of Jamie Rappaport as he asserted), and verified by a credible source.

        Have you come across any authoritative written sources that you can point us to?

  8. Alan Says:

    Ignorance and fear are powerful tools.

  9. Mike Says:

    Ralph –

    It’s a cultural problem as you know. First, these kids are raised by hateful, bigoted parents and hear that talk in the field and about the home. Early on they are taught that wildlife only exists to serve man at the dinner table or his wallet. Kids are taken on grotesque and demeaning prairie dog “hunts”, where they post the results as if a video game on Youtube with sound effects and slow motion close ups of the bullet impact.

    Over time “the outdoors” to them becomes not something you observe and respect, but rather a place to fire a gun or to shoot things. A simple walk in the woods to observe is deemed almost feminine or too close to tree hugging, and something must be killed to validate their excursion. This is usually accompanied by a desire to take rugged, gas sucking machines into the wilderness, again offering a veil of so called masculinity to protect the gaping maw which is their insecurity. They get sensations of dominance as they rip through the woods on such machines – a sense of power they so desperately crave. Even better is one of these machines loaded with firearms – you can never be too far from deadly force in their paranoid and fearful world. In their twisted brains, danger lurks at every corner and must be met with a sledgehammer reaction. As they drive these machines, their crazed eyes scan the wild lands looking for interlopers, otherwise known as native wildlife just trying to survive peacefully with man.

    Fear and paranoia are cultivated and blended finely as they grow up, and rather than embracing their animal neighbors, these people deem them enemy combatants and wage war in what can only be described as a demented and insane series of actions of which no creature of moral standards would ever consider.

    These are the wolf haters – they are engrained in the pathetic and unhinged government of Idaho and Wyoming, and spread about the countryside. What they lack in reasoning, common sense and basic life skills, they make up for in sheer exuberance and proclivity. There is no working with them – there never will be. One who respects wildlife can only hope they fade from the countryside, or hope someday that the price of gasoline becomes so expensive it makes their harmful patterns and routes undoable, and at last the wolf will be alone in the American wilderness without these deeply disturbed individuals haunting them.

    • Layton Says:

      “Fear and paranoia are cultivated and blended finely as they grow up, and rather than embracing their animal neighbors, these people deem them enemy combatants and wage war in what can only be described as a demented and insane series of actions of which no creature of moral standards would ever consider.”

      Wow!!

      Speaking of paranoia!! Just ad the word bullshit and you have the theme of this post.

      You can’t REALLY believe this — can you Mike?? Is this for real or just practise for some sort of a “Predator” type science fiction novel?? Are you trying to get Schwartznegger or Diesel to be the leading man?? Who are you after to play the John Conner role?

      • JEFF E Says:

        hows the ribs?

      • Layton Says:

        For a cuppa coffee I’ll tell you.

      • JEFF E Says:

        Cant today. Saturday? Grannies at 9ish. or….

      • ProWolf in WY Says:

        Layton, I think Mike hit the nail on the head. I know for a fact anyone who has spent much time in Montana or Wyoming can experience this for themselves. For many people this is a dangerous paranoia to an extreme. Though I have not personally experienced this in Idaho from not spending much time outside of the town of Coeur d’Alene, just from reading the anti-wolf stuff coming out of Idaho I think it is safe to say it happens there.

    • Virginia Says:

      Mike – very well said and I certainly could not have said it better!

  10. Nancy Says:

    Elk275 Says:
    September 27, 2010 at 5:16 PM
    If was damn good of the neighbors to invite you for Christmas dinner, I am sure the dinner was better than a turkey TV dinner listening to Christmas carols by yourself.

    Actually Elk, I would of prefered to stay home (not much into that whole Peace on Earth thing that only happens one day out of the year) but I didn’t want to offend the neighbors by refusing their kind invitation.

    And JimT – I have a handful of friends that do believe hunters are fascist killers of which I don’t agree unless of course, they are trophy hunters. ;<)

  11. JEFF E Says:

    I used to read his website a few years ago off of a link from that one website in Catron county. Was not filled with the vitriol then like it is now.
    My opinion is that there is a significant faction of these individuals who talk and realize that popping up a website and asking for donations can turn in to a cash cow, and just like faux news talking heads the more extreme the position the more people will come around.
    Kind of like a circus freak show.

  12. Dawn Rehill Says:

    Sounds like Tea Party to me


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