Sunday, June 26, 2016


It is interesting to me as a newcomer to Carrington (only 12 years as a resident, 14 years as a property owner), it seems  the local newspaper (the official newspaper for Foster County) never gets it right when it comes to reporting county business.  In this article, the Foster County Independent will henceforth be referred to as the "Dependent."

Since I have arrived, the local weakly newspaper (The Foster County "Dependent") has two constant  themes to their stories and editorials about city and county government.  The first theme is their unqualified support to each and every new tax proposal.  The second is their inability to accurately report what happens at the county commission meetings.

The best example of their inability to report what took place is at the last commissioners meeting (June 21, 2016) about the mandatory districting (not "re-districting") to five commissioner districts as required by North Dakota Century Code.  The code states:

"11-12-04. Increase in number of commissioners authorized - New districts formed. When the returns of an election to pass on the question of increasing the number of county commissioners in a county show that a majority of the votes cast on the question favored such increase, the board of county commissioners, within ten days after the votes have been canvassed, shall divide the county into five commissioners' districts. Such districts shall be numbered from one to five."

In the "Dependent's" (June 27, 2016) front page article about the meeting, they quote sections of the North Dakota Century Code (11-17-01 that are applicable to re-districting current districts due to the census that takes place every ten years. This section DOES NOT APPLY to the creation of a district... hence the word "re-district."  You wouldn't use the term "re-invent the wheel" if no wheel existed.

Where did the reporter covering the meeting get the inapplicable code section quoted in the Dependent?  It was not quoted at the meeting.

Once again the Murphys have written the story for the "Dependent."  This is evidenced by the ad placed by commissioner candidate, John Murphy, in which he quotes the inapplicable code sections. Also, the "Dependent" published Paul Murphy's Letter naming the current commission as evil, gerrymandering and power-hungry  - along with the wrong drawing of the commission's plan for the new districts.  Yet, the "Dependent" did not publish the Commissions' submission to the newspaper of statistical analysis of the situation, based on census and population data, explaining why they divided the county as they did; nor did Stock publish the correct drawing of their map.  

Why did the "Dependent" choose to publish Paul Murphy's inaccurate, lambasting personal letter to the editor instead of publishing the Foster County Commission's submission of an accurate map and statistical reasons for diving the county as they proposed to do?

Also, if the Foster County "Dependent"" were a real newspaper, they would ask candidate John Murphy if there was a citizen complaint against him for openly violating the corrupt practice election codes.  The evidence of this is contained in the ads Murphy ran in the "Dependent" where he failed to disclose the person paying for the ad as required by North Dakota Century Code Section 16.1-10-04.1. This section requires:

"Every political advertisement by newspaper, pamphlet or folder, display card, sign, poster, or billboard, website, or by any other similar public means, on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office, designed to assist, injure, or defeat the candidate by reflecting upon the candidate's personal character or political action, or by a measure committee as described
in section 16.1-08.1-01, or a corporation making an independent expenditure either for or against a measure, must disclose on the advertisement the name of the person, as defined in section 16.1-08.1-01, or political party paying for the advertisement."

Candidate Murphy violated this section on at least three occasions in the Foster County "Dependent."  These violations were brought to the attention of the reporter that covers Foster County, and yet there has never been a mention of it in the "Dependent."

A real newspaper would want to investigate corrupt practices by any candidate -- seemingly not the "Dependent," however.   Why would the "Dependent" want to investigate the Murphys when they spend so much money with the newspaper?

A better question is why would a candidate for state's attorney, Paul Murphy, run numerous ads in the Foster County "Dependent" when he is running completely unopposed?  When you run unopposed, you only need one vote to win.  He wants to have the Foster County "Dependent" to stay dependent.  There is a serious question that Paul Murphy has not violated the corrupt practices act, himself.    For what other reason would he purchase these unnessary ads, if not to sway favorable articles and editorial content in the Foster County "Dependent" toward himself and his father?

Take a look at this section of the North Dakota Century code, and interpret it for yourself: "16.1-10-05. Paying owner, editor, publisher, or agent of newspaper to advocate or oppose candidate editorially prohibited.  No person may pay or give anything of value to the owner, editor, publisher, or agent of any newspaper or other periodical, or radio or television station, to induce the person to advocate editorially or to oppose any candidate for nomination or election, and no such owner, editor, publisher, or agent may accept such inducement."

Admittedly, the Foster County "Dependent" is a great source for finding out who won local awards or the scores of area sports. You can't beat Erik Gjovik's coverage of our local sports events and the impressive action photos that go along with his stories. 

However, before you believe anything from the "Dependent" regarding the Foster County Commissioners meetings and/or local political issues, remember who is paying for the story and the opinion.

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