Gregg was able to get away with telling more truth than you usually see in the Oregonian because he was writing for the section covering the arts, not news or business. A race and class analysis like he uses, which is spot on in this case, is unwelcome in the rest of the paper, which is intended to support the cultural status quo and the business community, not to ask big questions or dig for real answers. |
Obviously just as a good art review needs context and depth, so do current events, but why do the latter rarely get that treatment? Many reasons, but one of them is the journalism-school obsession with "facts" in contrast to "opinions". Racial discrimination and greed are difficult to "prove" from a strict standard; as motivations they can be clear as day by still deniable. Also, race and class oppression are long simmering conflicts, without convenient "news pegs", at least not that the Oregonian chooses to see. Even the shootings of dark-skinned people by white police in the city does not tease out an analysis as cogent as Gregg's in this article about an art exhibit. It's sad. It's also how the Oregonian operates, and in my opinion it would be naive to expect anything more, or to beseech them to do things differently. It's not their job, ultimately, to show the world as it is; their role is to help shape the world for those in charge. This process is often unconsciously promoted by individual reporters, but that doesn't make it any less real. Whether with self-censorship, or because of the social rung they inhabit and the cultural blinders that go with it, reporters for media outlets like the Oregonian will not stray far from their appointed role as guardians of corporate rule. Gregg was able to stray because he was talking about something that's considered harmless (art), and because the review form is expected to include "opinion", even of a political nature.
What Randy Gregg needs to do, if he cares about the world, is get on the asses of his fellow reporters here in town and around the country and tell them to start looking at and writing about human society the way he did in this article about an urban renewal art exhibit. Imagine if the New York Times had been so thorough and candid about U.S. military overtures against Iraq in the run-up to the invasion, instead of passing on lies about fictional Weapons of Mass Destruction. Or if CNN had jumped on the vicious, open racism that attended the 2000 (and 2002 and current) Florida elections. Or if the Oregonian carefully explored the reality of fire ecology during the forest fires int the region over the last 2-3 years. Imagine if context, history, and oppression were touched on whenever relevant (which is to say, almost always) by all news outlets everywhere. Imagine, that is, what a different world it could be, if the populace was truly being informed and educated by corporate media, instead of misled.
Randy Gregg gave us a taste of real reporting in his review. Kudos to him. Too bad it's the exception to the rule, and too bad that this rule won't be changing. But this is the breach into which indymedia steps -- into territory also inhabited by KBOO, the Alliance, and others -- and its growing success shows how people crave something different, something deeper, something true. Here, the rule is different, and liberation of mind, body and spirit is the goal, not their continued repression.
Fuck the Corporate Media. Let's find out what's really going on, ourselves.