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Morongo Basin: Local Media in Bed with Local City and Town Government?

By   /   January 23, 2014  /   9 Comments

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A few day ago a prominent Coachella valley attorney suggested that local media in our area seems to be “a propaganda arm” of some local government bodies. Although local media serves a good purpose when dealing with many apolitical issues of interest, it falls short of ethical excellence in journalism.


Morongo Basin residents whom listen to or read the online news provided by Z107.7 ( Morongo Basin Broadcasting Corporation) are often presented with news that is peppered with bias commentary co-mingles with local news. The station don’t pretend to be objective. Masking opinion or commentary with news is not something that is taught at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism or any other university journalism classes.

It was never taught in universities when the undersigned received his Bachelor degree in Government/Journalism. Being a propaganda arm of local government completely undermines the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.  

As far as the Hi-Desert Star (Hi-Desert Publishing Company) is concerned, shoulden’t the “ buyer beware“? Are buyers of  The Star and its sister publication in Twentynine Palms, The Desert Trail, getting the goods they payed for? Caveat Emptor is a warning that notifies a buyer to be beware that the goods he or she is buying are subject to defects. It was once again very defective, and buyers of  the newspaper were shortchanged.

Does this shortchange  advertisers whom pay local media in advance to reach a large segment of the population in the Morongo Basin when news is withheld? 

Both the Hi-Desert Star and Z107.7 are admonished for defective reporting important news about the Town Council. In fact, who can argue that they did not butchered excellence in journalism — or the First Amendment — for not reporting that an 81 Page Complaint Filed in Superior Court Against the Town of Yucca Valley.

The Superior Court complaint against Yucca Valley (and other defendants) — were handed to both print and broadcast media on a silver platter, but they refused to inform their readers and withheld this critical news information from the public.

Does truth in journalism exist in the Morongo Basin, or is it akin to the old Soviet Union’s primary source of propaganda, Provada news?

Rather than run with this breaking story, here are a few of the stories the publisher, editor and the owner of Z017.7 and Hi-Desert Star ran with:

Hi-Desert Star
Guest featuring Soapbox rants about liberals
Pizza deliveryman robbery
Dollar story news
A small Debris fire

Fish and shrimp dinner
Pre-school storytime
Squatters arrested
Grease fire at Big MaDonalds
Theatre 29’s next production

You get the idea. Is local media  a  propaganda arm of the city of 29 Palms and Yucca Valley government? Yes.  

Posted by Branson Hunter

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About the author

Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.


  1. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    Well Ben when the folks in the Basin want to know the facts, they come to Cactus Thorns and read it here first.

    I am sure that both the Papers and the Broadcasters in the area will play down a ruling against the city of 29. They have way to much in the way to many eggs in that basket.

  2. Scots Slant Scots Slant says:

    Your grasping for straws again Branson with your claim that local media is butchering the First Amendment.

    In essence, what you are misreading into the First Amendment is: “Local media shall publish what Hunter deems relevant.”

    I reread part of the First Amendment and nowhere did I find that media is obligated to report what you deem important.

    If the Plaintiff prevails against the Town and others, that might be news, wherefore now, it’s just a complaint that’s been filed.

    That is all.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      What might be news worthy is a CPR for the list of all civil and criminal cases that are presently lodged against the Town of Yucca Valley… I think we went down this route once before…. had some interesting comments as I remember.

  3. Scot, honesty… I can’t believe you wrote it — that it might be news if plaintiff prevails. Okay so you rather have the STAR never report any criminal or civil case news until a verdict is reached.

    Scot… pull your head out of town hall orifices.

  4. Scots Slant Scots Slant says:

    And there it is O’Brien: Who knows how many complaints have been filed against the Town both past and present and Brandston finds this particular one that isn’t reported by the paper or radio station and all of a sudden it’s a grand-media-conspiracy and during his conniption-fit he screams it’s a violation of someone’s First Amendment rights.


  5. Scot, Z107.7 reported it this morning. Are you still going to defend holding the news from the public. Good for Z for not censoring it.

    Scot your comment that “Who knows how many complaints have been filed against the town” suggest local media didn’t know about it is erroneous. Quit before you dig a deeper hole for yourself and local media. The public has a right to know this when they pay money for news, and advertisers in the broadcast media expect the radio to not censor newstories to reach the largest listening audience as possible.

  6. Scots Slant Scots Slant says:

    Well gee whiz Brandston, I guess I better high-tail it on down to the Star and get my 50 cents back for the last edition since I payed “Money for news” and they didn’t report this stop-the-presses news story; I guess you really “Scooped” ‘em all on this one, didn’t ya?

    Why, you might even win a Pulitzer!

  7. Your mind is made up Scot: You prefer local media run with these stories:

    dollar store news,
    Small rubbish fire
    Pizza man robbed,
    Rant about liberals,

    Fish and shrimp dinner,
    Pre-school storytime,
    Grease fire,
    Theatre 29’s next production.

    Each to their own. Important breaking government news or Pre-school storytime and Fish and shrimp dinner. I feel Morongo Basin residents are smarter than than… well most of them are.

    Z ran the story to their credit after being embarrassed. Oh, and Z failed to attribute the story to Cactus Thorns.

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