Real News, Fake News and Sherri Papini

When I first learned of Sherri Papini's disappearance on Nov. 2, I expected the worst. An attractive woman, the mother of two small children, snatched while jogging. Gone in the blink of an eye.

Sherri Papini claims she was abducted then released by two female Latinos in a dark SUV in November.

Sherri Papini claims she was abducted then released by two female Latinos in a dark SUV in November.

These types of stories almost always end badly, which is why media outlets from across the globe have converged on Shasta County like buzzards on fresh roadkill.

News media pack in tight during a recent press conference in Redding. Photo by Jon Lewis

News media pack in tight during a press conference in Redding about Sherri Papini. Photo by Jon Lewis.

Macabre as it may be, cable television and tabloid Internet audiences love a true crime story in the making.

It sounded all too real to me, considering Shasta County has an ongoing problem with aggressive, mentally-ill transients, some of whom have assaulted joggers. I didn't pay too much attention to Keith Papini starting a GoFundMe page to pay for his wife's search, or the unrequested ransom set up up by an anonymous donor for her safe return. I kept expecting the worse, following the news on social media out of the corner of my eye, waiting for the body to turn up.

Then the story went off script.

Sherri Papini turned up alive on the side of the I-5 freeway in Woodland early Thanksgiving morning, claiming her abductors had freed her after 22 days in captivity. One law enforcement official responding to the scene described her appearance as heavily battered. She was treated and released at a local hospital for unspecified injuries that her husband later described as a broken nose, bruising, cut hair, branding and malnutrition.

In subsequent interviews with Shasta County Sheriff's Office detectives, she has described these abductors as two unknown Latino women, at least one of them armed, driving a dark SUV. Other than that, the public has been given scant details on Papini's abduction. Law enforcement have not released a detailed description of the suspects. As of this writing, since her return, Sherri Papini has not been seen in public nor spoken publicly about her abduction.

According to news reports, the Papinis have temporarily relocated from their Mountain Gate home until the publicity blows over. As the victim of a violent crime, Sherri Papini is entitled to some privacy during her recovery, at least in theory. Truth be told, mainstream media have mostly laid off since Keith Papini and Sheriff Tom Bosenko appeared on ABC's 20/20.

But there's a whole new level of media working the case on the Internet and they're not going to quit until Sherri Papini gives them some answers.

For me, Sherri's miraculous return on Thanksgiving day was the first major red flag in the case. Happy endings like that just don't happen in most abduction cases. But for literally thousands of amateur Internet sleuths, it was merely the latest in a long series of warnings dating back to Keith Papini's claim that he used the FindMyiPhone app to locate his wife instead of just dialing her up like a normal person when he first discovered her missing.

Like most people their age, the Papinis have a lot of personal data online (some of which has now been removed), and these sleuths have been sifting through it for weeks, posting their findings on websites such as and Alleged experts in fields such as lie detection and psychology have commented on Keith Papini's credibility, or lack thereof. I suggest you watch the video posted above and see for yourself if you haven't already.

Former classmates and even a hairdresser claiming to know Sherri Papini have offered negative opinions on her mental state. Someone found a post allegedly written by Sherri under her maiden name more than a decade ago which includes racist statements regarding Latinos. It's a dark cruel world out here—so much so that has banned posts that question the Papini's account of the abduction. That didn't matter too much, because the doubters all just moved to Reddit where /r/sherripapini is doing moderately well according to the up-votes.

This type of posting has recently been classified by some mainstream media organizations as “fake news,” particular in the #pizzagate scandal, in which anonymous posters on Reddit alleged high profile members of the Clinton campaign are engaged in a worldwide pedophile conspiracy run out of a Washington, DC, pizza parlor. Reddit banned the hashtag, but a few hundred #pizzagate conspiracy theorists are still working it hard on other message boards. It's only a conspiracy theory until they find one pedophile. Then it will be news, guaranteed.

That's why I don't think “fake news” really describes this phenomenon very well in this case, if by news we're speaking of stories that are investigated by a reporter, checked for facts by an editor and published by a journal or website with an established reputation for accuracy. Anonymous opinions posted on websites aren't news, they're raw investigative product at best. Some of it may be gold, some of it may be garbage. Sifting through it is catnip for armchair detectives, of which there are many, but it's not news, real, fake, or otherwise.

As an armchair detective and a journalist, all of this has put me in a bind. I'd love to crack the case, and it's tempting to explore the zanier theories, such as the one claiming it's all a Bethel Church conspiracy, since self-proclaimed hostage negotiator Cameron Gamble has connections to the church.

As a journalist, I cringe at the notion of writing a story that claims it's all a misguided hoax perpetrated by one or both of the Papinis without evidence to prove it, besides my gut feeling.

Sometimes, the news, the real news, just has to wait. There's only one person we know of who can tell us where Sherri Papini spent those missing 22 days, and so far, she's not really talking.

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas.
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78 Responses

  1. cheyenne says:

    Anyone who has lived in Shasta County for a long time remembers several times like this one where a woman is missing and the result is a dead body or never found.  In a small community like Shasta County there are always those who knew the victim or family.  In this case the victim turned up alive and for that I am glad.  I will leave the conspiracies to others.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      It’s good she’s back. But there is the matter of the 2 Latino kidnappers still on the loose. We could use some more information for peace of mind.

      • Umake Melaugh says:

        You wrote this article. I’m just wondering why you have gone silent? Have you done any further research on your own? This might be a very good time to do that if you want to be one of the first to report on it.

  2. Lazlo57 says:

    The most important part of the story is the fact she was released and found and back with her family.

    To hell with the conspiracy theories and rumors . This woman needs privacy and time to heal from her ordeal . She and her family needs basic human compassionate treatment from the community as a whole.


    Let us offer prayers and positive support , nothing less and nothing more.


  3. Dick says:

    “a journal or website with an established reputation for accuracy.”

    Are there any left?


    • We do our level best here at A News with what we have.

      It’s a rare media organization that wants to be inaccurate.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        There’s a brave new world of internet “news” websites that operate under the premise that opinions voiced with righteous indignation are facts.  Truth is measured in the currency of how many affirmations you get in the comments section.

        I’m not exactly disagreeing with you and saying that those media want to be inaccurate.  Being accurate or inaccurate isn’t the goal—how quaint!  Accuracy is beside the point.  What matters is that you stir people up, keep their attention, get them to click on the next sensationalistic article title…

        10 Ways the Russian CIA “Hacking Story” is Left Wing ‘Fake News”

        #10 alone is worth the price of admission:

        10. Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation for the “Russian hacking” story is that it is “fake news” that suits the left-wing media.

        That’s the simplest explanation?  The CIA and top-ranking Republican U.S. Senators are part of a conspiracy to make up fake news on behalf of the left-wing media? The person who wrote the piece is clearly banking on the notion that his readers have no idea what “simplest explanation” means.

        Below the article, you’ll find the comments of hundreds of people swallowing this nonsense hook, line, and sinker.

        • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

          There making jokes Steve. It’s a listicle. Podesta didn’t get phished by a Russian–and no, 17 intelligent agencies haven’t said they did.

      • janet says:

        Good one, Doni. Thank you.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      There are many good reputable sources left across the spectrum, and it’s best to consult all of them that you can. But also, individual armchair detectives can do good work and are conscientious about getting things right. Comment threads can be pretty awesome, and when they turn into communities as on reddit, there seem to be people willing to step in and serve as “redditors.” I don’t think anyone gets paid.

  4. Margaret says:

    The good news is, she is home safe. The bad news is, people still speculating. Time will tell. A wait and see approach to see if any similar cases turn up.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Talk about anticipation. I want to know now.

      • Umakemelaugh says:

        Please bear with me… I’m just putting this info out there. Unless stated otherwise it’s rumor, not fact. I have tried to get this information out there a couple of times but I don’t think anyone believes it. I found a video online and watched it with my own two eyes where Cameron Gamble (supposed hostage negotiator) was giving some kind of presentation about “abduction prevention” on stage (maybe a church) and there was someone standing behind a table that seemed to be working with him that looked an awfully lot like the sheriff. I lost track of where I saw it but it may have been a video for one of Gamble’s companies I found called Pallidiam (which I haven’t seen one mention of anywhere) or something very similar – spelling might be wrong. As a side note, from the beginning I’ve always thought it was strange that there has been no verifiable FBI involvement this entire time on such a high profile file case, especially once Gamble inserted himself. Maybe I just haven’t been able to find it but I’ve spent a lot of time looking. Tonight on the MMW reddit, I saw a post that L Jeter, the sheriff and C Everson are or were all friends on Facebook. Everson is the woman who reported seeing Sherri in a truck at a gas station with two men before she was found. I have also seen a post that Everson (who works with some kind of crime victim organization… sex trafficking?) is a member of Bethel church (affiliated with Gamble’s Project Taken) which actually has lots of other churches they run and are all grouped under a latge website I found called (I personally happen to think the connections ultimately all lead back to that church but who am I). If you look on reddit they also have screen shots of the 911 call logs and there is nothing logged on the day Sherri went missing reporting it. The only two people who confirmed Sherri’s injuries have been her husband and the sheriff. I’m not 100% positive but I think the sheriff would have to request the assistance of the FBI to initiate their involvement. What if he didn’t? Now it seems like law enforcement is just hoping that public interest in the case just fades away. There is not one single thing that adds up about this case but a lot of things that do make sense if you consider that someone in law enforcement could possibly be involved or have some kind of interest in the way this story is being presented. Just saying. Leaving it up to you to research and decide validity your own.

  5. Ginny says:

    What, when, why, how is the old way at looking at real news.   I don’t believe many of the blogs  or news organizations ever do that today, and too many people now just get their news from them .  aNewsCafe works for quality.  And, for that, all of us need to thank Doni.

    For me, the important thing about Sherri’s return is that she returned alive!

  6. 96red says:

    You and I might agree that this lady needs privacy.  Unfortunately, her husband disagrees and is chomping at the bit to get his face on TV to reveal all the juicy details that he thinks America wants to hear.

    All I know is, if my wife were kidnapped and tortured by deranged, sadistic, psychopaths who are still on the loose,  I I’d be a little leery of divulging the names, ages, and descriptions of my kids all over the media.  And I sure as hell wouldn’t be disseminating their photographs.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      And every time he does, the internet analyzes it to pieces. Maybe there can be a thing as too much publicity!

    • Harold says:

      For the reader of this case there is no real knowledge. Just he said and she said. Knowledge or facts that support/confirm a contention are 1. the reader’s personal knowledge ie we saw something happen; there are photographs; there is a hospital report/xray of broken nose/ambulance written report/police written report etc.  2. there are other agencies required for this level of alleged crime that are involved and their reports or findings- there is no FBI report, no written police report, there is no ambulance response report. 3. personal knowledge we can experience from listening watching the alleged victim reporting- there is none  4  grouped or shared community knowledge ie what is the experience of the community of such alleged abductions- this alleged abduction is beyond the general community experience   5. logic-  the logic is ransoms are REQUESTED, severely beaten stay at hospitals more than hours and require FOLLOW UP, good willed people try to help others from the same situation possibly happening, privacy is not made grossly public etc, husband locates phone rather than locating wife by calling her   6. mathematics- 20+ days of captivity and no details

      In summary, the facts  are only age, date, address, children, husband, name, return date and now gone.

  7. Anita Lynn Brady says:

    You have to admit that the Bethel connection due to Gamble’s involvement (a member in good standing according to Bethel Church) is interesting. That he was brought into the picture by a third party that heard him speak at a local Rotary Meeting, and the false claims about his business that have been revealed over the last couple weeks. Now, claims of him “helping to rescue” Papini in Christian media-


  8. cheyenne says:

    Fake news?  Every time Trump makes another cabinet appointment I have to wonder if it is real or fake.  Perry to head the Energy department, an agency he wanted to abolish.

  9. Tim Hearden says:

    There’s been many a time when investigative journalists have spent months chasing a story and come up with zilch, or at least not enough to print. I do like your comments about this so-called “fake news”; a declarative statement not backed up with concrete facts used to be referred to as opinion, and should be considered as such.

  10. Curtis Chipley says:

    How about this?  We all take this horrific story at face value.  Sherri was abducted, tortured beyond anything any of us would ever want to know about much less endure, and she was dropped off ALIVE.   This is all that we the public need to know, we are NOT entitled to know anymore than we already know.  Before she was abducted we knew NOTHING of the Papini’s,  well my family did since our sons went to school with Keith, but after graduation no contact was kept with the family.    Just because in this age where people  feel they have the RIGHT to know everything about everybody, there is a thing called PRIVACY, and the Papini’s are entitled to theirs.  Leave them alone, let them heal, it is NOT our business to know everything about everybody.   I for one am looking at this as a Miracle,  two little children have their mommy back,  a distraught husband has his wife back, and an entire family has their family member back, end of story for the public.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      I understand your point of view.  But I disagree….to me, that right to privacy went out the window on the day that her husband went on a sensationalistic national TV show to tell the story.  If privacy is the central desire, how is going on national TV in service of that?

      You’re wrong about the public having no further stake in this story.  Papini was allegedly abducted by two women who, if we are to take the story to be true (as you insist), are sadistic sociopaths.  If the story is true, they’re still out there—I know women who continue to modify their behavior under that assumption. It’s entirely legitimate for people to be insisting on the best available information regarding who the abductors are, what motivated them, what’s being done to catch them, and to be asking why our Sheriff is being so tight-lipped.  The public safety issue is paramount now that Papini is safe.

      If in the Sheriff’s eyes it’s not a public safety issue, the public deserves to know that.

      • Tim Hearden says:

        I don’t have a problem with her husband going on television to defend his family against reckless attacks and accusations.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Nor do I—it’s his choice.  But each public appearance generates more attention and invites more scrutiny.  You can’t have it both ways.  You can’t go on network TV, create a public persona, and then expect that people will honor your privacy (even if they should).

      • Curtis Chipley says:

        With your point of view, no one can go “public” to get their story out and if they do they are expected to reveal their entire life to the public.  I do not agree.  As for women changing their behavior because of this,  that is a good thing, Redding is no longer a safe place for anyone man or woman to go about nilly willy not being aware of their surroundings.  There are people both mentally ill, and just thugs who make it unsafe for people to be out and about.  I was born and raised here Redding has changed and not for the good.  Public safety does not just involve this one family and this one incident, there have been many incidents of women in this area coming up missing, we all need to be aware of what is going on around us at all times.  I stand on my belief that we all need to leave this family alone and let them heal.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          “With your point of view, no one can go ‘public’ to get their story out and if they do they are expected to reveal their entire life to the public.  I do not agree.”

          You are disagreeing with a straw man, because I never said that going public means that they’re expected to reveal their entire lives to the public.

          I’m just saying that if you choose to put your story out there, including lots of backstory—and especially when you use a sensationalistic TV show as the medium—people are going to critically evaluate what you say, and you’re delusional if you think you can prevent that by calling it a violation of your privacy.

        • Umake Melaugh says:

          Changing the behaviors of women in society…. exactly what the goal is of some of those non profits being reveled today!

    • Alex says:

      I disagree as well.  If there are two women running around randomly kidnapping people and ‘tourturing’ them then the public deserves the right to know, at the very least, a better description of what these women look like.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I really do think this is a hard question, and I was really torn about writing this story. I decided that enough people have doubts about the Papinis story to make the doubt itself a news story. I don’t see Keith Papini’s actions as good or bad–the point is, if you’re going to put yourself out there like that, you’re going to get sliced and dices over everything you say, especially on a case like this. Keith didn’t just go public to refute the deniers, he went public to tell us his wife was severely assaulted by two unknown individuals who are still at large. After looking at the story so far, the only person who can tell us the truth is Sherri Panini. Sooner or later, the story has to come out. Hopefully before Christmas.

    • Umakemelaugh says:

      It’s our right to know when it’s our tax money that pays for the sheriff department who spent countless hours investigating. It’s called accountability and transparency. There is no reason for the Papini’s or the sheriff department to play the secrecy card like they have been. All that has done is fuel the speculation that this is something far beyond what has been stated. Not one person I know would continue to hide themselves in the face of such public accusations if there was any truth to what they are claiming. No need to go on TV or speak but they are obviously very familiar with social media (despite the claims otherwise) and all it would take is one picture of her supposed injuries to shut the entire world up! I’m not buying any of it!

    • Mike says:

      “We all take this horrific story at face value.”

      Why? Even police don’t ever do that.

  11. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    R.V. — I think you’re more enamored with this era of citizen journalism than I am.  You’re the journalist, so I’m not inclined toward knee-jerk dismissal off what you see as the value of these internet forums.  I did visit the /r/sherripapini Reddit thread that you suggested (never having been on Reddit), just to see what’s up.

    I’ll grant you that Reddit provides a forum for people to: (1) post theories, some of which are novel and worth entertaining, and (2) post information, some of which seems pertinent and, in some cases, is clearly being suppressed. Some of that alleged first-hand background information rings true (though much of it comes off as extremely catty), and I found one of the theories particularly compelling.  (I’m not going to say which one in public, because it’s too speculative.)

    But to me, there’s no journalism going on unless these theories and bodies of information are being fleshed out by a true investigative journalist. I’m not yet convinced that those armchair detectives are delivering the goods.

    As for what our Sheriff is currently up to, I find the comment of one Reddit user (someone claiming to be a local TV journalist whose account and thread were deleted yesterday—parts of the thread have since been re-posted by others) to be a likely possibility: Bosenko is being secretive because in this day and age you can get sued if you state something publicly and you turn out to be wrong.  That seems far more reasonable than other crazy alternatives (e.g., Bosenko is covering up a hoax—or at least loathe to investigate the possibility—because he’s sympathetic to the motivations behind the hoax.)

    At any rate……what a three-ring circus.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I’m not sure if enamored is the right word! It’s still a world where journalists don’t get paid. But I have to admit, when it’s a subject I’m interested in, I love to read the comment sections and message boards. But it’s not “journalism” in the old sense of the word. It’s raw, unprocessed. There’s a huge problem with moderators banning thought they don’t agree with. It’s a monster in the making. It may not be a good thing.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        My brief initiation into Reddit convinced me that it could be a gold mine for journalists and other investigators…but you’d have to crush and process a sh*t-ton of ore to get at the gold.  And I don’t really think it’s journalism in any sense of the word.  Much of it is like the modern-day equivalent of university library restroom stall graffiti—a lot of stupid and awful stuff, but mixed with a fair number of penetrating observations and funny witticisms.

        • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

          /r/The_Donald was pretty fun before the election, and maybe a couple of weeks after, but really Reddit is going to hell, all the threads are so partisan and can broke no disagreement. The brutal world of upvoting and downvoting. I think Craigslist pioneered it, with the ability to “flag” community members who misbehave. What a world!

        • Umake Melaugh says:

          Reddit doesn’t claim to be journalism in any way. Reddit users ARE known to investigate things and gather to discuss ideas and theories based on what they discover. Just like in real life, only larger. Which is considered OPINION only. Much as these post are. Opinion should never be censored because than it becomes a violation of free speech. Opinion does not equal bullying or name calling. It does equal freedom of ideas.

      • Umakemelaugh says:

        Completely agree with you. I have had several of my comments blocked or deleted regarding this story and many others. Since when did censorship become acceptable? One of our constitutional rights is freedom of speech. That means the freedom for me to express my opinion and others to express theirs. Regardless of whether I agree with them or via versa. I personally have been deeply disturbed lately by the amount of control over comments and opinions that I have seen being exerted online lately. Websleuths is a perfect example. The public not being allowed to express their opinions out of fear of someone’s feelings getting hurt or because a moderator doesn’t agree is serious cause for concern. The Internet is a public forum just as much as standing on a sidewalk talking with a group of friends is. If you were removed from a public place because someone disagreed with what you were saying I think there would be quiet an outcry. We have allowed alt-right groups to speak, pro-life groups, BLM, gay pride, etc to voice their opinions, as we should. It is part of the very foundation this country is built on. Everyone should be concerned with the attempt to silence/delete voices on the Internet just because it doesn’t agree with mainstream thought. I think this is only the tip of the iceberg. Content is being controlled online much more than people realize. If you think doing a Google search is showing all of your options, you better think again.

        • Dear Umakemelaugh,

          We do remove comments from time to time here on A News We don’t see it as censorship, but maintaining some sense of decorum.

          We pride ourselves in having a site where most of the time, even people who disagree can do so with respect and civility. We also prefer – but don’t demand – people use their real names with comments, because we find that people tend to be more civilized when they’re not anonymous.

          In case you missed it, here’s the fine print of our comments policy. It appears beneath every post:

          Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.


          • cheyenne says:

            Doni, you could suggest to makemelaugh to do what others, including me, have done.  Submit his own article.  I, for one, would be interested in his point of view with other than a blog post.  I enjoy everybodys articles on here.  Anews does a could job.

          • K. Beck says:

            Here is the 1st vote to keep your Comment Policy! I have had e-mail since its inception (mid 70s)…yeah, I am OLD! I was working at Stanford University in the Electrical Engineering Department. That department is heavily funded by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency).  ARPA developed e-mail so they could quickly get in touch with all the people they funded. [email and the internet was NOT invented/created by Bill Gates and/or Al Gore!..just had to say that because I am SO tired of hearing they had anything to do with it; although Gore did push for funding it when he was in the US Senate.] That system was called ARPANET. Therefore, I had access to the very early e-mail and web. As more and more people had access to computers Usenet was created (1979/80). This is the precursor to the internet, from wikipedia: “Users read and post messages (called articles or posts, and collectively termed news) to one or more categories, known as newsgroups.” There was NO comment policy, and NO ONE monitoring anything. It was a free for all and extremely UGLY! When someone is sitting at a computer in their own room, with no one else around, they write really ugly things. It is like unleashing decades of pent up hate. Eventually, some groups invented “moderators”…poor souls who volunteered to read everything coming in to a specific user group and reject “inappropriate” posts. So this “free speech” argument has been around from almost day one.

            The other thing that immediately happened was hacking e-mail. Since I was in the EE Dept. it was easy for students (working on their PhDs) to hack other people’s email. It was a point of pride when someone hacked an e-mail.

            So, I have been dealing with this (and paranoid about it) for a LONG time.

            I vote for civility.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Umakemelaugh—You should read and reconsider the meaning of the 1st Amendment.

          “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

          The moderators of privately owned websites are not government officials—least of all the Congress.   If you want to be free to say whatever you want online (provided it’s not criminal) free from the standards of site owners, start your own website.

          Yes, many politically oriented websites delete comments that don’t follow the (usually unwritten) “echo chamber” rules—that’s lamentable, but not illegal and not a violation of anyone’s Constitutional rights.  It’s frustrating enough going on such websites (for me most recently, and trying to engage in debate, only to elicit crude insults and shallow, parroted retorts.  It’s vastly more frustrating to have thoughtful posts quickly deleted by comment moderators who are enforcing homogeneity of thought.

          This site only asks for a reasonable level of decorum.  I’ve had a few comments here deleted—I think maybe once I felt it was unwarranted. Even with that one, I understand that it’s the right of the site owner to err on the side maintaining the standards she’s set.

          • Umake Melaugh says:

            Yes, you are right, this is a privately owned website who has control of their content. When they open up a forum for public comment, that changes the rules a little bit. No one wants to see bullying and name calling, etc. However, when you block comments because you simply don’t agree, it becomes something else entirely.

  12. grayhuze says:

    I don’t know.  I think almost all news is bias these days.   Look how the media, and I mean the entire spectrum covered the election.  They were 100 percent bias against Donald Trump and barely covered any of the mind blowing DNC scandals that were revealed in the wikileaks dumps.   Donna Brazile and DWS are absolute embarrassments and I am glad and window into the souls of the DNC was revealed.  I wish journalism would go back to what it used to be.  But, for the most part, they are partisan hacks.  The new york times just hired an admitted “Hack” to cover Trump.  How Ironic.  I didn’t even vote for Trump but saw the bias.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Exactly why I don’t like the term “fake news.” The campaign coverage by mainstream media was the phoniest ever. Propaganda is a form of fake news.

      • grayhuze says:

        exactly.  If anyone perpetrated fake news, it was the left leaning media and most of the “news” outlets.  News has become a way to confirm your own bias.  “confirmation bias”  Look for only those things that support your narrative.  Look at Don Lemon on CNN.  wow.  He is a classic case of that phenomenon.    I used to like him but during this election I watched him sell his soul in support of the Democratic Party.  Sad.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          So grayhuze, you seem to think that this is entirely a disease of the left-leaning media, and there is no need to throw Fox News,, and under the same bus.

          If anything, Fox News showed the rest of the mainstream media just how lucrative the whole confirmation-bias game could be.  You have to hand it to them……they were pioneers.  It’s almost pathetic how the other networks have tried and failed to copy, to varying degrees, Fox’s formula for success.

          Even my conservative friends understand that “Fair and Balanced” is laughable.

          A couple of years ago, a blogger from The New Yorker issued a joke that went viral:  CNN was changing its motto from “The Most Trusted Name in News” to “Holy Crap, We’re All Gonna Die!”  I thought it was a more accurate shot at what plagues network news than the typical claims of left-wing bias:  Sensationalism sells.

          Case in point:

          1.  A strikingly attractive young blue-eyed blonde woman from Shasta County disappears without a trace.  Is it human trafficking?  OMG, what if it’s human trafficking?!  National news.

          2. An average-looking middle-aged woman from Trinity County disappears without a trace at around the same time.  :::crickets chirping:::

          • grayhuze says:

            I disagree.  Fox News while more conservative leaning was also very hard on Trump but also on Hillary Clinton.  Yes there are clowns like Hannity and perhaps O’reilly who are bias but in general, not a chance.  I watch all news outlets to get a feel and wow, the contrast is mind boggling.  You could say I watch Fox New to confirm my own bias, but that isn’t true.  I am smart enough to look up things on on my own and it turns out that I agree with them more often than I do CNN.  I agree with a lot of the stuff on CNN and MSNBC, but it’s the condescending delivery of the information and out of context coverage of the other things that disgusts me . (print media is the same as well).  Fox News actually covered the stuff that came out from wikileaks instead of burying it like CNN and almost all other news outlets.  polls showed that 90 percent of the public believed the media was against Trump which includes many Democrats who are honest in their evaluation.  I agree with your points 1 and 2.   I say thank god for Fox News.   without it, Joseph goebbels would be proud.

          • grayhuze says:

            The sad part is that we have to say “I agree” or not.  News should be news and accurately reported.  But it turns out that News is just opinions now and almost meaningless for discovering the truth.

          • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

            Gotta go with Steve on this one. I really think it helps to think of the Dems, Reps and the MSM as one entity, “The Establishment.” The MSM has pretty narrow confines between left and right. For example, all three are basically pro “open borders” in terms of their propaganda message. It’s not that they’re lying or making shit up, they just present one point of view, no pros or cons. A major thing that’s changed is the conversation was once confined to the written word on the page or a limited news broadcast. On the internet, it’s forever.

    • K. Beck says:

      There is NO “news” anymore. It is all “entertainment,” do a quick look (just type in “who owns the news”). They are called “media” companies now, and they are the Disney, Time Warner, etc. That is why you see all the celebrity crap on the evening “news” programs.
      These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America
      Ashley Lutz
      Jun. 14, 2012

      • Umake Melaugh says:

        Very true! Media does control what we believe and what our values are as a society to some extent. If the entire nation watches the same programs, that only makes sense. I dont understand how people don’t believe that happens. It also happens on a local level. If the same old story is drilled into your head every day it is going to “guide” what you believe to be true. Such as sex trafficking. Lol!

  13. Grammy says:

    Personally I think the Husband is the questionable one.  He wants to be front and center.  Surprised that fake news hasn’t been concentrating on making fake news about him.

    This story would have died out and let the police concentrate on finding the two women but instead they were having to hold news updates all the time when there were no new ones.  But Hubby kept opening his mouth behind the police’s back.

    But that is me.  What bothers me the most is the women that have gone missing over the years that we have lived here in the North State (37 years) and unless you are young, pretty, blond and blue eyed, you go unnoticed and forgotten after the first day of announcement of the missing.

    Like Sherry, Ms. Smart went missing but she has been off the radar.  Reminds me of the 16 Ms. Smith missing, where there were two other young women went missing.  Yet no updates on them or if they were ever found.

    If you are like me, you are extremely surprised how many fake news stories get reported in facebook.  Talk about garbage.  Don’t people know about Snopes?  Check out the posting before reposting the thing!

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Grammy, let me tell you something about Snopes. Fact-checking stories is much more gray than Snopes or Politifact would have you believe. An error they often make is thinking because they’ve disproved one fact in a story, that somehow makes the story invalid. That’s not necessarily the case. Even a glaring error in an otherwise well-reported story doesn’t necessarily render that story false. The greatest thing about the internet it that it’s apparently infinite.

  14. T. Hancock says:

    I didn’t see a posted video – but would love to watch it.  Am I missing it?  I have been searching everyday for information about this case. . . . you are correct – so many things just don’t add up?  My question to you, why are the police not saying anything further?

  15. I’m writing an essay series on this case from my Redding home. I enjoy your articles. Glad to know a fellow Northern California armchair detective.

  16. RJones says:

    What most are forgetting is several years ago two reporters had their careers destroyed over a safe milk investigation that went to the supreme court. The Supreme Court ruled news is “Entertainment” and therefore doesn’t have to be factual. So most news is merely propaganda now where the big box in your living room and other rooms of your house tell you what is important to think about and discuss, who should we be thinking about and discussing, what to fear and think about, etc. etc. etc. The real problem is while the propaganda is distracting the masses with the latest celebrity gossip and sports results. The pedophiles in charge are stealing us blind and enslaving the masses. The masses have been so dumb down the fight for their enslavement. As to this story, I saw it as a distraction, and like most others thought if she surfaced it would be a body found. Now that she has been found alive I’m appreciative for her family but refuse to be distracted. I’m looking for what they are trying to distract us from….. Peace…

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      RJones, could you please cite the case name? I couldn’t find it. It sounds interesting.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Here’s a start, R.V.  The subject of the story was bovine growth hormone (rBGH) in milk.  The good guys were two reporters from a local Fox affiliate.  The bad guys were Monsanto and the TV station general manager who fired the reporters. A lower court recognized whistleblower status for the reporters and the jury awarded them $425,000. It was a Florida appeals court that reversed the decision, finding that Fox News was entitled to put out a version of the story that wasn’t truthful, fire the reporters, etc.

  17. jay wohl says:

    RV Scheide – well written article.  I agree that the ‘math don’t work out here’ but i think the recent silence on the part of law enforcement indicates a deeper investigation, from which new facts will spring very soon. Stay true to your journalistic ethics.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I have a hunch you may be correct. The Sheriff has been very careful with his words. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but it’s got my spidey sense tingling.

  18. Disbelief says:

    Why does this area have so many missing women? Doesn’t anyone think it’s weird? I live in Southern California and I have never heard of so many women just vanishing! Looking into the Sherri Papini case leads to another missing woman which leads to another one and another one (one was just reported yesterday I think) going back decades. Why hasn’t anyone ever done an in depth investigation into this? How has this gone on for so long and not caught anyone’s attention?!?! There are so many similarities between some of them! Even the Tera girl everyone says looks like Sherri who went missing when they were in high school… I just finished reading all of the articles written by Redding Searchlight back then regarding that case and I think it’s very odd that some of the statements, comments and details and are almost word for word as those in the Sherri case, as are some of the people! WTH?!?! Shasta county has a very serious problem up there that people are trying to keep quiet! There are connections between cases all over the place! Connections between people, language used, circumstances described, just a lot of things that keep popping out the more you look into them! An outside law enforcement agency needs to get involved with this story (meaning ALL the stories) BIG TIME!!! The first thing they need to look into is the local law enforcement. Things are sooooo fishy I can’t believe how many people aren’t seeing what’s really going on!  There are ties to old cases that have connections to recent ones!  It makes absolutely no sense!  People who are quoted in news articles, or people who are involved in organizing searches or vigils, people connected to Bethel church (the founder of multiple churches found under one website or people who are connected to each other online…. strangely also connected with other cases, sometimes just by a quote in a news article. It’s unbelievable! How has this gone on unnoticed by anyone for so long? I don’t care how crazy any of this sounds, there is something happening in Northern California that is beyond imagination!!

  19. Peggy Elwood says:

    R.V. How about you putting that love for investigation into learning about how big a problem sex trafficking is in Redding and Portland and Reno and the Bay Area? It is a huge problem and many young foster children and teens are abducted and put into sex slavery..right here in Redding. Law enforcement and Child Welfare are fighting a huge battle on behalf of these kids. The public seems largely uninformed about how really big this problem is,,right here in in River City. It is a heartbreak and tragedy of unbelievable horrors.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Peggy says: “It is a huge problem and many young foster children and teens are abducted and put into sex slavery…right here in Redding.   …   The public seems largely uninformed about how really big this problem is, right here in River City.

      I keep hearing this claim of late, but I’m only aware of one case in the past several years where a juvenile was abducted in Sacramento and brought to Redding for prostitution.  A Google search reveals nothing to confirm the local sex trafficking of juveniles, except several articles regarding this one incident.  When RPD forays into combating sex trafficking, they seem to uniformly end up busting Asian massage parlors where adult sex workers are “employed.”  Where is the notion originating that juvenile human trafficking is a huge problem in Redding?  I’m not saying it’s not happening, but if it is why does RPD appear to focus its efforts on Asian massage parlors?  Is it because that’s where the real sex trafficking is happening?

      If the problem of local juvenile trafficking is demonstrably that bad, and RPD is deliberately ignoring it in favor of lower-hanging fruit (massage parlors), I would join in calling for the immediate dismissal of the Chief of Police and the demotion of the investigator on the force charged with investigating sex trafficking. But I’m not ready to do that without some modicum of evidence that it’s true.

      My concern: If this claim is hugely overblown, resulting in a kind of mass hysteria, RPD will be pressured into diverting its limited resources toward chasing down ghosts.  The actual sex trafficking occurring in Asian massage parlors—a genuine and horrific tragedy—will be ignored.

      • cheyenne says:

        Actually sex trafficking, especially of minors, is a huge problem.  I don’t know about Redding but here in Wyoming the drug cartels out of Denver are running drugs and prostitutes out to the man camps and even here in Cheyenne.  In conjunction with the FBI the Cheyenne PD ran a sting during Cheyenne Frontier Days that nabbed fifteen people, one was a local school teacher.  I don’t think he is still employed by the school district.  This last October a joint sex sting, FBI and CPD, rescued 81 minors and arrested 230 pimps along with adult prostitutes.  The big “Mama” was from Loveland.  I know that the fracking man-camps through out Wyoming, Colorado, and the Dakotas draw a lot of attention from law enforcement.  I don’t think sex trafficking is just here in the Rockies but every where.  In almost every daily paper it seems there are articles about child prostitution or child molesting.

        • Umake Melaugh says:

          Simply untrue. There is not some huge phenomenon happening across the country of abduction for the purpose of sex trafficking. Not saying it may not happen occasionally (but im not aware of any offhand) but most involved in sex work didn’t get there by abduction. What is a strange phenomenon spreading across the country is the mostly untrue and over exaggerated trafficking agenda that is being heavily promoted by numerous churches. When did this start happening and why? I grew up in church but haven’t been in 20 years and never heard about sex trafficking. Perhaps by establishing that it is a growing problem would create the reason for many, many non profit organizations to exist. Which could be beneficial to some. Follow the money trail. It’s amazing what can be found.

          • cheyenne says:

            Unmake you need to expand your reading of newspapers.  Every stat I have posted has been taken from the pages of the Denver Post and Wyoming Tribune-eagle.  A liberal paper and a conservative paper.  Redding may not see the sex trafficking of minors but it is prevalent in fracking country or where ever they build pipelines because the workers come from out of the area and live in man-camps.  There have been documented cases of children from Latin America who have entered the United States and been turned over to a supposedly family member who turned out to be a pimp who pimped them out.  But I will not just post on this blog but rather research and give actual cases and put it in an article to Anews.  If Doni wants to publish it it is up to her.  You will probably find that this sex trafficking is also in California.

  20. Russell K. Hunt says:

    Sherri signed a book and movie deal. So we shall see…

  21. Rod says:

    Real news=boring same ol’ stuff different day

    Fake news=exciting propaganda intended to influence and control everyday people.

    News isn’t new—it’s sensorship that admits to being for entertainment purposes.  When our American leaders “fake news” releases it’s a crime.  They mean harm and expect to alter reality.  My favorite topic has a few examples of “fake news” from above.  Naturally, I’ve been trying to enlighten the unbelievable for most of my lifetime…no avail.

  22. Umake Melaugh says:

    Correction: The website is, not .org

    Sorry about that

  23. Umake Melaugh says:

    People also scoffed at the Steven Avery murder case. Said it wasn’t possible for so many to be involved in such a huge cover up. Those people will be eating their words very soon.

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