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Portland Mercury is a Corporate Whore

'Alternative' paper sells out it's own readership for a little cash.
Last week the 'alternative' paper, Portland Mercury, distributed 40,000 compact discs wrapped in shiny plastic for AOL-Time Warner, one of the largest media companies on the planet.

These CDs are a huge waste of natural resources and will not biodegrade for thousands of years. Unfortunately, Portland's support for the Mercury is degrading much faster. People throughout the city were angered by the mess created by the Mercury's greed; CDs were strewn all over busy streets—and will be for quite a while.

The Angry Octopus collective gathered several hundred of these offensive discs and returned them to the Mercury along with a nice sign to greet the hungover corporate stooges this morning—yeah we saw you at the sandy hut bitches, you are getting fat.
Eye Witness 08.Apr.2005 16:29

Equally Outraged

Way to go Octupi!
Like many of you, I too was annoyed by the proliferation of corporate garbage that would up all over my neighborhood. I didn't think the Mercury would have accepted money from the likes of AOL/Time Warner. Guess I was naive.

I also happened to be walking by the Mercury's headquarters last night, when a glittering spectical caught my eye: someone had taped a quilt of packaging and cd's over their front door with a sign that read, "Take back your trash whores; it's all the prize you deserve." Nice work. We need more of this kind of media accountability, even in "liberal" Portland.

Great job 08.Apr.2005 16:37

Craig

This is the perfect immediate response for such foolish crapital actions taken by these "journalist." Way to go

PM progressive? 08.Apr.2005 16:47

pompus ass

Since when has the Portland Murcury pretended to be 'left' or progessive? The pages are filled with articles and adult ads to titilate high schoolers.

sweet! My PM was AOL-free last week 08.Apr.2005 16:53

CaptainPlanet

I must have picked up one of the copies that were cleansed of AOL-ness. Thank you!

I must give props, though, to the PM for the digging up the dirt on on controversial topics such as the PJTTF, PGE ownership, etc. They're also again sponsoring this year's "Two+ Weeks of Bike Fun" festival (with the unfortunate name of Pedalpalooza) which is almost totally grassroots and most events are free to attend.

Businesses like organic coffee shops only have just so much advertising money. Likely, the PM is trying to generate the amount of income that would let them do comprehensive reporting, which they've done amazingly well for a music and culture oriented newspaper. Who has a better idea for them to stay in business and thrive, so that they can continue bringing us news about things like campaign contributions, etc.?

Weiden Kennedy 08.Apr.2005 17:04

Milo

I heard that Portland's Weiden and Kennedy have the AOL advertising account. Maybe they were experimenting? I applaud The Merc for having a section this week about motorcycles and scooters. Hey, theyre 100 times better than cars and 1000 times better than SUV gashogs.

Mercury while kinda lame at times is among better papers out there... 08.Apr.2005 18:13

Snazmo

I don't know who these angry octopuss people are, but I think they are getting overly self-righteous too hot under the collar. Probably a bunch of angst-ridden lil' squirts. Any newsrag cannot please everybody all of the time and this is yet another example. Sure, I was put off by the damn AOL insert! Totally sucks ass. But the paper takes the right stand on numerous issues: like what bunch of fucking assholes Bush, Cheney, and the repubs are; or their exposing right wing right to life scumbag organizations trying to boycott companies that support Planned Parenthood; or their lambasting the Oregonian for it's union busting, and pointless bitching about critical mass when Potter rode along with 'em. (btw, the Oregonian is easily the SHITTIEST paper nationwide!!!)

Anyways, I guess what I'm trying to say is this: if you get so self-righteous and idealistic that nothing is good enough for you, you are left with nothing. You might as well go completely off-grid and live in a commune eating nuts and berries (organic free-range berries mind you!) if you freak out about something as trivial as an AOL insert in a mag you most likely only read while taking a relaxing crap.

Finally let me say how funny the "before meth/after meth" series in the Merc has been! Fucking hilarious! I'm sooooo sick of the war on drugs bullshit that never seems to stop coming from the Oregonian or that ass-rag "Portland Tribune" (that paper is awful!!!!). While the WW and Merc are admittedly shallow lite entertainment reading, their articles are perfectly sized and geared for lite "on the crapper" reading! Enjoy!

I hate them damn CDs!!!!!!!!!! 08.Apr.2005 18:27

yak

nice Snazmo, that was cute.
AOL has been out of control for some time with their shitty cd's. they pile up in apartment lobbies all over the city.
i think we need an aol cd advert dump depot somewhere. anyone know of one?

Angry Octopi are over-reacting! See the forest for the trees, oh young Octopi! 08.Apr.2005 18:31

Snazmo

I don't know who these 'angry octopuss' people are, but I think they are getting overly self-righteous and too hot under the collar. Probably a bunch of angst-ridden lil' squirts. Any newsrag cannot please everybody all of the time and this is yet another example. Sure, I was put off by the damn AOL insert! Totally sucks ass. But the paper takes the right stand on numerous issues: like what bunch of fucking assholes Bush, Cheney, and the repubs are; or their exposing right wing right to life scumbag organizations trying to boycott companies that support Planned Parenthood; or their lambasting the Oregonian for it's union busting, and pointless bitching about critical mass when Potter rode along with 'em. (btw, the Oregonian is easily the SHITTIEST paper nationwide!!!)

Anyways, I guess what I'm trying to say is this: if you get so self-righteous and idealistic that nothing is good enough for you, you are left with nothing. You might as well go completely off-grid and live in a commune eating nuts and berries (organic free-range berries mind you!) if you freak out about something as trivial as an AOL insert in a mag you most likely only read while taking a relaxing crap.

Finally let me say how funny the "before meth/after meth" series in the Merc has been! Fucking hilarious! I'm sooooo sick of the war on drugs bullshit that never seems to stop coming from the Oregonian or that ass-rag "Portland Tribune" (that paper is awful!!!!). While the WW and Merc are admittedly shallow lite entertainment newsmags, their articles are perfectly sized and geared for lite "on the crapper" reading! Enjoy!

Snazmo

better 08.Apr.2005 18:31

IPA

As much as this latest stunt by the Mercury is out of character, this paper is so much better than the WW. Whose writers place Lars Larson at the top of their journalist Utopia, just ask Zusman or Jaquiss and lets not forget the fake left wing Henry Stern. The Mercury is still better than the WW and the big O.

Have you been to the post office lately! 08.Apr.2005 18:51

Hates aohell

You should go an look what the us post office has to offer. More aohell cd's just waitring for some one to pick up and try and find out later their computer has been sending all data stored on their disk to the creeps at aohell.

Anyone using this isp should install a firewall and chek out how many times aohell shows up whitout you doing anything at all but just signing on! Fuck aohell!

last two comments 08.Apr.2005 19:24

real writer

were written by merc staffers or their stooges; everything about the merc is insipid, from the caveman chic, animal house retro vomit-fest fun of the editor at large, humpty, to the pseudo politico coverage of phil, the mayor, busse, to the reviews written by i-once-worked-on-a-school-paper, pabst drinking, marble-brained college drop-outs who know someone at the merc--hence, they got a job expelling their cheap beer flatulence all over the dirty ink pages that bleed onto your hands. If the merc is culture, if the merc is music, if the merc is political coverage and exposes, if the merc is anything other than a fish wrap shopper for kids needing to dispose of their trust funds unwisely, then i believe this may be a sign of the apocalypso (sic), or the fact that all of american society has been dumbed-down to a junior high school level for corporate convenience. read it at your own peril. now, hopefully, i will never spend another minute thinking about the merc.

Get back at AOL 09.Apr.2005 00:03

Octupi Supporter

Yeah, the Mercury is less than ideal, but better than some other news sources. But regardless of your opinion of their journalistic integrity, the AOL ads were unethical. Let's not let the Mercury get away with this-- or they'll do it again.

Check out www.nomoreaolcds.com for another creative solution to the glut of AOL junk and to find out how to return the cds to the company. Who says the left has no productive power?

Decorative CDs 09.Apr.2005 10:42

billy ray

I like those AOL CD's. I drill holes in them and hang them on a tree in my yard. As the wind blows they twist and turn giving off a wonderful light show. The reflected lights dance about my yard. At night, with a light source on them, they give off a fireworks show. When they crack, I stop at the post office counter for a new supply.

AOL CDs make good coffee-cup coasters 09.Apr.2005 13:21

design on a dime

if you have big-ass coffee mugs that tend to be bigger than conventional coasters, AOL CDs are perfect. when they get too dingy & scratched up, i put them back in the envelope and send them back to where they came.

Dispense with AOL 09.Apr.2005 14:09

get Linux

If you have the bandwidth, download Fedora - its free, otherwise you will have to pay for CDs to be mailed to you. This brings up a possibility that collectives, like Computer Geek, can burn CDs for the general public. You provide the CD and the collective can burn it for you. Consider getting involved with collectives like Computer Geek. Learn to use, secure, and administer Linux. Take a PC out of the hands of corporate cyber-terrorists today! Almost all cyber-terrorism software (bot-ware) runs on vulnerable Windows machines. All software is vulnerable, however vulnerabilities of open source Linux can discovered and fixed quickly, and without lies.

Get away from Windows-slavery and discover the true beauty and eligence that awaits you under the hood of Linux. Understand what an OS really does and how initialization happens. Learn that GUIs are only a tool that runs on top of the OS. To remind yourself that GUIs can enslave as well as liberate, configure your Linux machine to always boot up to run-level 3 (init 3). If you need GUI for things like web browsing, email, word processing, or spreadsheets, then type "startx" from a command prompt. This simple act will always remind you that computers and Microsoft are NOT one and the same thing.

Oh, rad. 09.Apr.2005 14:24

MIA (my-uh)

You rock my ovaries.

YAY!

How do I uninstall the "Phil Busse For Governor" Screensaver??? 09.Apr.2005 14:34

AOL geek

At least I figured out which file in my Windows directory is responsible for the wallpaper that features Phil's cover story of himself. I deleted that one. Be careful about sticking that CDROM into your drive.

JESUS 09.Apr.2005 14:49

Ben

For Christ SAKE! We all know what they did was wrong, but was it that wrong? For years Mercury has covered our stories with the truth. They have actually talked about the messages we want to hear instead of the messages that will get them the most money. The Mercury has been the closest to the perfect paper we can find in Portland, why would you want to ruin it. Sure, they are not perfect, but at least they're better than the rest. Why would you want to ruin this? The Mercury learned from its mistake and you accomplished your goal. I have met Phil Busse numerous amounts of times and see him at the protests. He is a dedicated reporter. You are waging war with your own comrades! Just stop now, forget about it, and let things be at peace.

... and how! 09.Apr.2005 15:00

immabanana sayrah@mac.com

Advertising revenue for a weekly free paper might be a necessary evil but it doesn't have to be sloppy and giganto-corporate. For a paper that regularly applaud's and supports Portland's local sustainability (see articles w/r/t Burnside development) puking AOL discs all over the streets of portland is a stupid and hippocritical move.


tough love is not "waging war" 09.Apr.2005 15:08

hyperbole police

Sometimes the the mark of a true comrade is someone who will call you on your shit. I don't read the mercury but it sounds like they do some good stuff. So I think fun actions like this are important, so long as everyone knows it's meant in good fun (which is not to say the issue raised is not serious). I'm sure the mercury got a bunch of cash because aol is scared shitless about the free wireless popping up all over portland. I'd rather see the mercury promoting personal telco than aol but it's their business to run as they see fit. But they should expect some criticisms about taking money from aol and furthering aol's environmentally destructive practices. It doesn't need to be taken personally, though I think the quote from the article, "yeah we saw you at the sandy hut bitches, you are getting fat" is totally uncalled for, disrespectful, and sexist. Those kinds of remarks do not help our community whatsoever and I would hope that strengthening the communities of portland is a goal we're all striving for.

what do we expect? 09.Apr.2005 16:20

pfft

no matter how hard the mercury tries, they can't escape it. they're owned by some big company that distributes a bunch of weekly newspapers in different cities that have different names and pretty much the same graphics..... and I bet all of them had those AOL inserts..... ugh....

Mercury for Sale 09.Apr.2005 18:48

Kat

Not only are they willing to stoop to AOLs level (may as well be Wal-Mart for that matter), they also reviewed a restaurant that wasn't opening for 2 weeks. The review was glowing. Lemme guess-the Mercury's opinion is for sale, along with their dignity?

What restaurant? 09.Apr.2005 21:33

...just curious jdoize@comcast.net

...huh, interesting.

When I see an AOL box of disks ..... 10.Apr.2005 07:30

B

I throw them away.

That company must send out 10#'s of plastic CD's to get a single new subscrbiber. When I'm at the Post Office or other place where I see a box of AOL Disks, I just put the entire thing in the trash.

Funny 10.Apr.2005 10:39

Rich Kid

Funny how in order to defend the Mercury most must point to the worse alternatives: as if "but we have to read some kind of crap, mercury's the best of the crap."

wrong wrong wrong 10.Apr.2005 12:03

maybe the wrong thread, but

> Learn that GUIs are only a tool that runs on top of the OS

This mentality is why Linux is still useless to non-geeks. The competition got over this hang-up 10 and 20 years ago, respectively. Until your system GUI and application GUI's are as solid as your precious network security, regular people will shun Linux. My housemate was hot to trot putting Ubuntu on her laptop until she discovered what a pain in the ass it was. I tried to help, but she did most of the work at her boyfriend's place, he was her main source of technical support, and it was over his head. She's going back to XP.

Here me, Geeks! Deal!!

true, wrong 10.Apr.2005 17:04

no one in particular

I think most hackers agree with you about Linux. Certainly Ubuntu doesn't even have any such init level 3 that doesn't boot the GUI (there's an init level 1 for single user mode, but that's not for general use).

Writing an OS is hard work. It takes time. I've been using Linux as my primary desktop OS for 9 years now and watched it get better and better. Just because some nerds make bizarre statements like "GUIs are for n00bs!" doesn't mean that's the general consensus. It's certainly not the consensus of the thousands of desktop Linux hackers (both GNOME and KDE) who are working to make Linux easier to use for the general population.

Sorry your friend had so many problems with Ubuntu. Rest assured, despite what that other person makes you think, it's NOT because Ubuntu wants it to be hard. Laptops have lots of proprietary hardware that is hard to support, but it's getting there...

juvenile corporate pimps, they let others do the hoe-ing 10.Apr.2005 17:29

Helen G.

I decided a long time ago that I will not read "alternative" papers profiting from selling women's bodies and encouraging the worst aspects of out hypercapitalist cuture to fatten their own wallets..

As a woman, as an antiracist, as an anti-capitalist promoter of human dignity, I find the Portland Mercury's frat boy ethic and grotesquely disproportionate coverage of television and celebrity gossip an affront to real news outlets, and their pimping of our community's sisters, daughters, wives and mothers is anything but an "alternative" to mainstream t&a saturated US media.

littering the streets 13.Apr.2005 10:19

anonymous

there have been many insightful comments on this "issue", and while most of my thoughts and opinions have been covered by other various readers, the root of my anger hasn't been expressed. what pissed me off the most was seeing the cds all over the streets. the amount of litter that accumulated because of the cds was rediculous. the materials are not biodegradable or safe for our environment, and i'm glad that that was adressed in the article. we can't take advantage of our earth like that. the mercury has no right to defile our streets and trash the environment in exchange for profit. how greedy can you get? i really dont feel the need to say anything regarding the paper's content or past history, because it is irrelevent and it could be any paper and it would STILL be wrong to promote turning our beautiful city into a corporate trash heap.