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Is The Oregonian A Lost Cause?

Should we still be trying to push The Oregonian toward a more accurate reflection of Oregon public opinion, or give up and accept the fact that it is a right wing mouthpiece the same as all the other MSM?
Together, Can We Pull The Oregonian Away From The Abyss?
Together, Can We Pull The Oregonian Away From The Abyss?
The Oregonian is, at best, a mediocore newspaper but it is the region's biggest paper, and it's still better than USA Today or the Portland Tribue. And it's still head and shoulders above commercial TV 'news.' And like it or not, The Oregonian is what you see people reading at bus stops and in the lunch room at work. It's ubiquitous.

But on the other hand, in recent months they seem to be drifting farther to the right. In particular, they started caring 2 more syndicated ultra-right wing shills, Victor Hansen and Max Boot. These guys are simply horrible, evil liars whose purpose seems to be to push public debate into the twilight zone. By that I mean that they propose ideas far beyond any standard of human decency, yet articulate them as though to sound 'reasonable,' at least on a superficial level. The intent is that the average person will not agree with them completely, but will instead read a 'liberal' columnist like David Sarasohn, and adopt a position somewhere between the two poles. 'Liberal' positions don't need to move one degree to the right, instead, the extreme right position pulls readers who wish to remain 'balenced' unconsciously toward the right.

Other indicators of the paper's push further right include the publication of many more pro-war, pro-fascist letters being published and deeper entrenchment into the pockets of PGE.

But despite its many faults, a city's biggest newspaper is something of a public insititution. City papers have traditionally exposed many scandals and have often helped check the power of government and corporate interests. It's no accident that when two liberal-minded depression teenagers created the comic strip Superman to crusade for social justice that they placed him as a reporter for 'a great metropolitan newspaper.'

The biggest paper in the city is going to affect public opinion, and the majority of this city is so busy trying to survive that few have time to do more than read the paper. We might be information junkies and Google-Monkeys but most Portlanders aren't. Potentially, The Oregonian could be something of beacon of truth instead of purveyor of corporate lies.

Recognizing the power of The Oregonian, should we try a last ditch effort to move it at least a little closer to the hearts and minds of real Oregonians? Should we be writing and calling the biggest advertisers, like Fred Myer and Safeway? Should we be in the streets some day, making a flash mob or disrupting the trucks that haul the paper from the printer? I think this is something we should discuss.
[ 23.Jul.2006 11:47


First I suggest avoiding the ideological descriptions and positions. Saying that the paper should be more 'left' or more reflect my personal views brings the discussion into an ideological struggle.

The views of the left and the right are both entrenched in blind ideology and a false dichotomy. The leadership of the left and the leadership of the right are both profoundly corrupt and playing us against each other.

How about we discuss first a basic honesty and factual representation. The Bush adminstration lied the country into war. The Corporate media still has not told that tale truthfully or commensurate with its importance. It is not a left position to say the Bush adminstration lied the country into war. Now the Clinton adminstration lied us into war in Yugoslavia, but the left did not get so upset about that. Of course the Corporate media did not truthfully tell that tale either.

left, right, left, right. Marching to the disinformation chant. 23.Jul.2006 12:12

johnny quest

When both left and right are debating lies, does it matter which side they are on? Fascism can be very liberal.

Check out the articles that I wrote on the 'bOregonian Bamboozle' 23.Jul.2006 14:48

Tara Cornare

I think your comment is a good one; however, there is more to the Oregonian than watching locals (often bored out of their skulls) reading the paper on the city bus. Around two and a half years ago, while living in Portland and writing articles for Indymedia, I wrote a three part series exposing the Oregonian. See:


The Oregonian is not a local paper at all. It is a corporate project and monopoly business (meaning the newspaper business) of the Newhouse Corporation based in New York. The Newhouses are a powerful family of publishers that have ruled over their private publishing businesses since the 1920s. Not only are they powerful, but they are known to be possibly the most ruthless media manipulators in the business. They are considered more dastardly than Hearst publishing mostly based in California (San Francisco Chronicle and the Inquirer) Gannett(US Today) Knight-Ridder, the Sulzberger family (also based in New York) owning News Corporation (NY Times) and the Graham family's inherited business, The Washington Post. Recently, the Newhouse monopoly is working on a possible merger with the multi-national conglomorate Time-Warner-AOL.

The Newhouses who own and run the Oregonian (referred to as the Advance Group of Publishing) also run over 30 other urban papers in both the US and now, Great Britain. Not only do they own over 30 papers around the States. They also own many magazines that are commonly displayed in downtown kiosks, in corporate supermarket/pharmacy/bookstores, and in airport book and magazine racks. They own many cable stations (including part ownership of the Discovery channel) and they own Random House publishing, one of the largest book publishing companies in the world.

There are a few things that people have to remember concerning a Newhouse owned paper. The Newhouses always appoint editors that follow their orders strictly - and they mean this. The Newhouses are hands on owners, even with all the newspapers, magazines, book publishing, and TV channels under their control. They run their businesses in strict corporate dictatorship, and if their projects are slowly losing readership (which the Oregonian is profusely, despite all the readers one might see on the local bus or in the local downtown crap lunch cafe) then the Newhouses will make sure that the paper changes its tune, look, content and style, so as to appeal to a more bland and reactionary delivery of 'the news.' The Newhouses though prepare for every obstacle. They are not severely worried with the loss of the revenue in that they always get the monopoly on newspapers in one town. The Newhouses tend to buy both papers in a medium to large city. They did this by buying both the Oregon Journal and the Oregonian in the early 1980s. They fold the weaker paper, fire most of the workers, and then bring in money and flunky editors to build up the one newspaper for a new 'one paper town.' They did exactly this with the Oregonian. And this is what you see today.

The answer to your query is that there have been reporters who have tried to fight back and create some space for dissent on the paper. Either they play the Newhouse editor game, or they can ask for their checks. A Newhouse paper, the Oregonian, is not a place for democratic assemblies and open meetings. It is a corporate top down business, which is there to hold, and to continue to hold (despite the pathetic writing of the Tribune - is it even still viable?) a monopoly on the newspaper business of Portland - and to, of course, create hefty profits. If you truly want to affect and critique the bad writing and slanted right-wing garbage (and especially the constant knee jerk defense of Israeli government war crimes) then you ought to direct your comments to the source - to the Newhouse family swanky address in New York.

the struggle continues 23.Jul.2006 15:04


I have had some luck over the years getting them to change some of their terminology and temper their rhetoric by writing individual reporters, actually have had some interesting email exchanges with a few. They will not pay any attention to you if you bluster, insult or if your writing skills are poor.
I think it's worth it to keep haraguing them so they are reminded that they're not fooling everyone.

HEADLINES MISSING FROM 7/23/06 OREGONIAN!! 23.Jul.2006 15:53

; )

Some flyers were taped to Oregonian newspaper boxes today. They read:

Perhaps due to printing problems at press time, The Oregonian has made egregious oversights in reporting the Israeli attacks on Lebanon. Readers may inform themselves by NOT buying the Oregonian, but by looking online for headlines, such as:

British split with Bush as Israeli tanks roll in Guardian UK 7/23/06
Minister attacks 'disproportionate' raids 2,000 troops cross into Lebanon

Israeli Forces Continue Intensive Air Strikes Washington Post 7/23/06
Hezbollah rockets fall on Haifa, killing at least two people and wounding at least six others in separate attacks, while Israel remains on the offensive.

U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis New York Times 7/22/06

See also websites such as Common Dreams, Truthout, Alternet, and Global Research
Lebanese medic carries body of young girl in Sido - Global Research website 7/17
Lebanese medic carries body of young girl in Sido - Global Research website 7/17

Tara rocks 23.Jul.2006 18:18

Dr. Know

Tara, your articles on The Oregonian were excellent. I remember them well. Thanks for reminding people that The Oregonian is not a local paper, but it is a Newhouse publication. Now I am NOT an anti-Semite, but it is fair to say that the Newhouse family has a history of supporting Zionism, and I am anti-Zionism and completely opposed to the racist doctrines of the Babylonian Talmud which seems to guide the quasi-theocratic Likud Party in Israel.

The truth is that Portland is probably the most fertile city in America for an upstart daily to take down its big city paper. With an 80% Democratic/Independent/Progressive/Green/Libertarian population, it is vulnerable. Ultimately, advertising dollars will gravitate toward an attractive opponent newspaper. Portland just needs some seed money from liberal and well-healed financiers to help jump start the thing--people like Larry Flint, George Soros, Sean Penn, Susan Surandon, Nancy Wilson, Damon Staudamire or whomever. Then start breaking front page articles on the Palestinian death toll (and when fair, the Israeli deaths, just as long as it is real solid reporting of the facts). When Greg Palast breaks a story on the BBC, our paper would break it in America. When a major discrepancy is found between the 9-11 Commission and the truth (like, oh you know, some of the suicide bombers actually being alive, but the govt won't retract any of its findings), then it would go right to front page.

William Buckley Jr and Francis Fukuyama could have their neocon opinions printed, but right next to them would be a real progressive version of the facts. May the best case motivate the most people in forming their opinions. That's what journalism is supposed to be about, objective reporting and balanced opinion. The Tighty Righties fear the truth more than anything, which is why they tolerate losing tens of millions every year on papers like the Washington Times.

he 23.Jul.2006 19:38


Please do not depend upon the NYTimes or other corporate media to get anything like a balanced account of events in Lebanon or Gaza. And remember that commondreams sifts out the best of the worst, they only source corporate media.


Not depending on NY Times or any corporate media 23.Jul.2006 21:51

for news

...but anyone who walks to the Oregonian newspaper box is probably more likely to be willing to look at such sources (personally, I don't buy the Oregonian). Please also note that Global Research was mentioned on flyer. The idea is to steer people to do a little critical thinking. Baby steps.

The Oregonian IS a Lost Cause 24.Jul.2006 08:47

Osama Bin Bush

I have had some direct contact with Oregonian writers, public editors, news editors, and editorial writers and I view them as flat earthists. I personally picketed and distributed information about voting fraud in front of the paper and was met mostly with hostility however there was one peak moment when an employee, filing in with the rest, grabbed my flier looked me in the eye and shouted, "I HATE THIS PAPER." I recently met with two "liberal" editorial writers in hopes of convincing them that an article about the 911 truth movement was long overdue. I spent an hour with them, presented them with information, left them with dvd's that could be used in court. Their response to me was somewhat guarded and one of them was actually friendly but i could tell that this material had not penetrated their innate inability to see past the idea of "conspiracy theory". In fairness, they did invite me down to present the case but i imagine it was to get me to stop calling and writing. Did they cover RFK, Jr.'s seminal piece on election fraud? NO!! The public editor's personnel were friendly enough to field 20 minutes of my rant again, i think it is something in the water supply. Some subjects are absolutely taboo. They are absolutely unwilling to look at 9/11 as an inside job despite the overwhelming evidence. www.911truth.com The paper is good for packing material though. The paper is timid, gets all their news from wire copy. I told a news editor that i had irrefutable evidence that 911 was an inside job and wanted to meet with her. She hemmed and hawed and asked what my credentials were. That's understandable, they can't meet with every nut case. I asked if she did find out whether it was an inside job, would she do a story on it. She hemmed and hawed and said that she might if it came over the local wire copy. Incredibly she was not even willing to say that the story would be of interest to her, even if the proof were compelling. The Oregonian functions as a tombstone for journalism. It is a waste of paper and as such is contributing to planetary demise.

rowe, rowe, rowe your boat...(sic) 25.Jul.2006 16:48

not on the boat

The Oregonian provides sizeable income to Crown Z, for newsprint paper, and Georgia Pacific for the pulp...they also support whatever dictates the PBA hands them...any writer who doesn't follow the party line, handed down by that cheap, talentless, corporate shill (more like 'shrill') Sandra Rowe, is shown the door. The only reason Sarasohn still writes there is that he obscures, or waters down, his points in his cutesy humor, like isn't 'being liberal all soft and fuzzy-wuzzy like a teddy bear.' Meanwhile, Reinhardt is permitted to slay self-evident truths, and other dragons that threaten their make-believe-word (sic), with machete-like prose...albeit, a very dull, rusty, nicked up machete.

The CIA runs the AP news service, and you'll notice that UPI and Reuters get no action in the Big O. What is amazing to me is how a staff so big can accomplish so little, actual writing and reporting. Most just lie around, collecting their checks and keep their weak mouths shut. Occasionally they get all pumped up about some pet cause, like the 'meth epidemic,' which turns out to be a lot of slanted journalism designed to sell papers, while pretending: we care, we investigate, we report, none of which is even remotely true.

Their token black writers are real uncle toms; they're more like white people putting on black face, every now and then, for entertainment purposes only.

Their are worse papers: Las Vegas Statesmen Journal, Reno Gazette, New York Daily News... to name but a few

What about 9/11 truth
Bush lied
Stolen elections
Leo Wanta 5 billion treasury bailout blocked by Bush and the Fed'

Or locally:
PGE/Enron corruption, theft and price gouging (by inventing shortages) and that major contribution to the Oregon recession.
Gentrification forcing low-income and fixed income out of housing downtown and close in, east and west.
Moody corridor and Tram corruption and piss-poor planning.
Why was a light rail line built up Interstate that is leaking millions and
provides poor service?
Why is the downtown bus mall being torn up to accommodate light rail, busses and cars, plus parking, all on the same streets!?
Why was the plan never investigated and pursued to unify the north and south blocks, and who blocked that (including the idea of a car-free, green, people space running through the heart of downtown).
WTF happened to the Oregon Health Plan, and why, exactly.

Instead, we've got the 'meth epidemic.'

Yellow journalism at its worst. Distract the public with terrifying news that will never affect 99% of their readers, while the issues that affect them all are rarely mentioned.
I keep track of it like one would have an eye on their enemy, to see what they're up to these days.
What a waste of trees