By Dennis Myers
Author Terri Farley said last week the Bureau of Land Management was unresponsive when she was writing her new book about wild horses and young people who try to protect them.
“I know people that are staffers for BLM that I’ve gotten along with great, people that I feel have some integrity, and they know what they’re doing and the care about what they’re doing,” she said. “However, everyone who wanted to talk to me had to go through D.C.”
This everything-goes-vertical policy has long drawn complaints from reporters in the West, because it often denies them the most informed perspective, from the BLM people in the field. The problem was especially acute during the April 2014 Bunkerville standoff.
Farley said, “And I have a stack of emails and phone messages—‘We’ll get back to you’; ‘Oh, could you put your questions in writing?’ ”
Moreover, she said that after a long period of being ignored by BLM spokespeople, once she announced on Facebook that the book was finished, they came running.
She said she pushed back the press date in hope of getting comments from BLM. She was able to pull old quotes from her notes or use quotes from news coverage, but those were only substitutes for an on-point interview. She did send written questions without success.
“And I really did make the book as balanced as it was possible to do without them talking to me,” she said. “But then after I posted it on Facebook that the book was gone and no more changes could be made, I got an email answering my questions.”
Even then, she said, the answers to her questions were mostly taken from material on the BLM website.