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.