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‘Cranktown U.S.A.’—the myth that won’t die


This morning on Facebook, Gary Robson, the owner of Red Lodge Books & Tea, shared a link to my latest story on the Red Lodge police drug raid in Bearcreek. Gary had some interesting things to say, as always, but what really caught my eye was the ensuing discussion of how the perception of crime in a given community affects tourism. One commenter said there was no effect on visitation after “Billings was called ‘Cranktown USA’ on the cover of TIME magazine.” I already added my two cents on that page, but allow me to elaborate here, because this was, for me, a fascinating experience in charting the invention and cultivation of myths. Way back in 2005, I did a multiple-day series of stories on the so-called meth epidemic in Billings. Continue Reading →

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