Whatcom News gives The Center Square politics a place to spark / Noisy Waters Northwest

Image of a billboard illustration with a person papering over a dog logo and the wording “watchdog” with a new sign showing a logo of linking squares and the wording “The Center Square.” Click the image to access a linked PR Watch article “Franklin’s Right-Wing Watchdog.org Rebrands as The Center Square”

January 21, 2022 Dena Jensen

Earlier this week, Blaine’s weekly community newspaper, The Northern Light, reported that an unidentified Blaine business owner had funded the United States Postal Service delivery of hundreds of copies of a startup publication called The Flame to Blaine and Birch Bay residents.

The material that has, so far, been published by The Flame seems to be primarily focused on portraying patriotism as an act of supporting approaches to the COVID-19 virus that are in opposition to those officially recommended by the past and current Presidential administrations and the majority of the healthcare community.

The Northern Light noted that Nicole Orozco, The Flame Co-founder and editor-in-chief, characterized her publication as nonpartisan and maintains the U.S. political system is corrupt to its core.

Meanwhile, in Ferndale, reporters from the journalism arm of the conservative Franklin News Foundation, The Center Square, have recently been provided with some kindling by the online publication, Whatcom News, formerly known as Discover Ferndale and My Ferndale News.

Back in May 2019, an op-ed welcoming people to The Center Square on their website represented their roots as being “non-profit, non-partisan, non-political.” Yet, since late December 2021, Whatcom News has published 12 Center Square articles under the category of “Political News.”

On Friday, January 21, 2022 Whatcom News sent out a link to The Center Square article “FBI raids home, office of Democratic Texas congressman, a vocal critic of Biden.” It was directed to people who have signed up for Whatcom News email notifications.

Although the headline alerts people to an FBI raid, the story did not report on the reason articles were seized from Democratic U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar’s Texas home.

ABC News had reported, a day before The Center Square article, that the raid was, “part of a wide-ranging federal probe relating to the former Soviet state of Azerbaijan and several U.S. businessmen.”

For some reason, the majority of The Center Square article focused on information that seems to be unrelated to the raid: Democratic U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar’s stance against “open borders” in his home state of Texas, along with referencing complaints against “illegal immigrants” and President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.

Screenshot of an event reminder with a photo of man in a red jacket holding a sign saying “Migrant Jail Right Here” and other people beyond him holding signs facing a roadway in front of them. Click the image to access C2C Dignity Vigils and Actions Facebook event for a Monday, 1/24/22 Dignity Vigil in Ferndale

This article was brought into the Whatcom News Political News lineup during a time when community members have been showing up at specific properties in Ferndale owned by Mahmoud Boulos, to speak out against unmarked Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities that have recently been identified at those addresses. On December 8, 2021, WWU’s The Front had provided some early details.

There have been two known cases of Whatcom County essential workers being picked up by federal immigration enforcement agents since June of 2021. In both cases they were held at undisclosed locations for many hours when their families did not know where they were, until they were transferred to the privately run Northwest ICE Processing Center in Tacoma.

The most recent instance happened just this last week, when Antonio Mendoza was reported as being picked up by immigration enforcement agents while he was waiting for a ride to work.

People can find background information on The Center Square through internet searches. Here is a link to a write-up about them by the investigative and accountability organization, Accountable Northwest.

Click the image of an assortment of numerous news column clippings to access Accountable Northwest’s report, “News With an Agenda: The Story of The Center Square”