Seattle Weekly published a remarkable cover story last week. Over the course of more than 6,000 words, it made the argument that true crime author Ann Rule made a series of mistakes and false conclusions in her book, Heart Full of Lies.
The book tells to story of the shooting death of Oregon pilot Chris Northon. He was killed by his wife, Liysa. Seattle Weekly’s story argued that she “was failed by her original lawyer, an overzealous district attorney, and Rule, who claimed that Liysa was not the battered wife she’d portrayed herself to be, but rather a sociopath who’d concocted tales of abuse as a justification for shooting her husband.”
The author of the piece is Rick Swart, the editor and publisher of the Wallowa County Chieftain, a community newspaper in the area where the crime took place. He pitched the piece to Seattle Weekly and they published it last week.
The problem is Swart committed a massive failure of disclosure. Here’s how Seattle Weekly’s Caleb Hannan explains the issue in his editor’s note, which is here and was added to the top of the cover story:
What Swart failed to reveal to us is that he’s now engaged to Liysa. ...