Letter to the editor: What's the price of integrity? It’s $500 for one local writer


What's the price of integrity? Apparently, for one Lewis County News writer, it's $500.

According to records from the Washington state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC), writer Brittany Voie was paid $500 by the Concerned Taxpayers Accountability Center to create an "informational website," Bird-Docs.com, as a smear against Washington state gubernatorial candidate Semi Bird.

Meanwhile, the so-called bastion of local truth, Lewis County News, and its editor, Lynette Hoffman, colluded with Voie to publish her article titled "A Look at Semi Bird's Past," which cites Bird-Docs.com and mentions the website's sponsor as Concerned Taxpayers Accountability Center.

Conveniently omitted was Voie's role as the individual who was in fact paid to create the website.

No disclosures within the article. No proper and ethical labeling or way for readership to distinguish between fact, opinion or paid content. Just a sloppy attempt by Voie and Lewis County News to manipulate local opinion.

Imagine the public outcry if any other newspaper had done this.

The hypocrisy doesn't stop there. With her public facade in Lewis County as a liberal activist, Voie sanctimoniously attacks local conservative officials who challenge an often overreaching state government by relentlessly abusing government accountability tools such as the Public Records Act  process and PDC reporting, invoking demands for "truth," "honesty" and "accountability,” often writing speculative pieces for Lewis County News.

But for $500, woke grifter Voie auctions off her own supposed personal values for what? Relevance?

Her blatant disregard for truth in pursuit of personal gain is shocking.

Repeated instances of biased reporting by Lewis County News once again raise concerns of corruption and potential violations of campaign finance and disclosure laws.

As reported by The Chronicle, there was a previous incident from January 2023 where the PDC reminded Lewis County News to clearly label their content to distinguish between editorial material and paid political ads.

Additionally, the PDC uncovered evidence suggesting Lewis County News made attempts to coach political candidates for their articles, and showed preference by only interviewing specific candidates.

The favorable coverage of Dave Reichert and negative portrayal of Semi Bird raises questions about possible payment for such content to be presented as fact by Lewis County News.

The blatant, flippant disregard for any type of journalistic ethics or transparency transcends political endorsements for gubernatorial candidates — it's a reflection of our community's standards.

It's high time we collectively demand accountability from the paper and its writers to the advertisers endorsing these practices with their continued support.


Kristen Chilson