Letter: Journalists, dogs and money | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Journalists, dogs and money

Journalists, dogs and money

Aspen Times editor and columnist Rick Carroll’s excellent confessional of the incestuous relationships plaguing the Krabloonik saga was enlightening (“The media orgy over Krabloonik,” Jan. 21). So many related threads in this small town make it difficult to report in an unbiased fashion on anything.

The community is sick to death of the Krabloonik witch hunt, but the hunters haven’t slain the witch yet, so they just won’t shut up. They were asked kindly to do so when the mayor of Snowmass Village wisely denied them access to the Town Council meeting non-agenda items. The group had already commandeered a full hour of town time in a previous meeting to voice their emotional accusations. Mayor Boineau pointed out that anything they had to say was moot until the D.A.’s investigation was completed. That is still true, no matter how important this group finds the sound of its own voice. Shame they didn’t heed his counsel.

Most of the conflicts of interest that Rick Carroll aired are to be expected. It is a small community. I will air mine now. I work for the town of Snowmass Village, but in no way, shape, or form do I represent it. I am a friend of Mayor Bill Boineau. I have been on a dogsled ride. I have met Dan MacEachen once. I wish I could afford to eat at Krabloonik. I’m kind of an old boy, but I doubt that I’m good.

So what do we have now?

First there is this ugly child custody case involving MacEachen’s daughter and a former musher who was used as a starting point for the accusations against Krabloonik. Hard to pretend that child custody battles are the bastion of truthfulness in American jurisprudence. Wild accusations are always entertained in these cases because they’re expected. To use anything uttered in a child custody case as a basis for any factual argument is a straw grasp of people desperate to start a fight.

There is the Department of Agriculture, which is commissioned with regulating kennel operations. This bureaucracy isn’t burdened with the emotions that hinder its ability to regulate agricultural pursuits. These dogs are a commodity — livestock existing only to make a profit for their owner. The Department of Agriculture’s influence on the district attorney will be considerable since the regulations it enforces are the laws she enforces.

We have a former manager of the kennel who wants to buy it by allegedly destroying its reputation to reduce its value. This man is portrayed as playing the entire community for suckers. If so, his alleged con is movie material as he manipulates everyone from the district attorney to the husky huggers to do his bidding. Maybe not a movie, but one heckuva soap opera.

Enter Guy Courtney’s name in the Aspen Daily News archives search and you will come up with many letters he authored in defense of the same kennel he is now trashing. I’m not sure when Courtney left Krabloonik, but following the logic of the canine crowd, wouldn’t his alleged actions these last few years mean that he could be a serial dog abuser?

Finally, we have the former Aspen Times photographer and spokeswoman for the Voices for Krabloonik Dogs, Leigh Vogel, being compared to Lara Logan and the Benghazi scandal by MacEachen’s lawyer. Rick Carroll’s disgust with that comparison caused him to “throw up in his mouth a little.” I think Rick knows where this is heading and what is about to be hurled will fill the Buttermilk warming hut, which is why he aired all the conflicts of interest.

I’m not sure of all the rules governing libel in this country, but you can read above that any indictment I make I have couched with the word, “alleged.” This is a journalist trick that allows a newspaper to avoid libel charges when covering criminals, lawsuits, and whatnot. It’s a way of making an accusation, without defining it as a factual statement — an allegation if you will. When a conviction is passed down by a court of law, then we can drop the “alleged” part.

I have noticed over the past few weeks that there have been many letters making wild accusations that don’t use this word. These charges sound as if they’re based in fact, but they are simply the emotional allegations of certain Fido fanatics.

If there is an acquittal of MacEachen, his attorney could turn around and sue both newspapers because of the libelous remarks they printed. Every letter should’ve been vetted for libel and that little word entered to cover the newspapers’ hind end, but none were.

It would be a difficult case for MacEachen’s attorney because there are many precedents to protect newspapers. However, in this case the intent was clear and stated: To ruin this man’s business with boycotts, lies and unfounded accusations. The newspapers even accepted money to run ads to accomplish this goal. It looks pretty cut and dried to my, admittedly, layman’s eye.

Andy Stone penned an excellent column this week expressing the feelings that we all share (“Let’s keep this simple: It’s all about the dogs,” Jan. 22, The Aspen Times). In the end it should be about the dogs. However, Stone was wrong on this one. As usual in Aspen and elsewhere, it’s all about the money.

Kind makes you want to throw up in your mouth a little.

Johnny Boyd

Snowmass Village