portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting portland metro

media criticism | police / legal

Merc Slams Indy

The Portland Mercury - always the epitome of class and integrity - has now taken to catty and disparaging remarks about IndyMedia in their coverage of police brutality in the James Chasse case.
I've been pleased that more of the MSM and blogosphere has finally decided to not let the latest instances of "death by cop" fade away into oblivion as they have in the past. I find it a little aggravating that it's taken them this long, and that they act as if they're in the forefront on this issue, but that's not important. Seeing that justice is done and that things change - is.

So as I was cruising the net today, I came across a pretty interesting post by Matt Davis in the Merc's Blogtown PDX: "Chasse Case: Grand Juror says 'The process is biased'." Apparently a member of a Mult Co grand jury wrote them anonymously. This woman wasn't on the Chasse grand jury, but was on another that met right across the hall. She talks about the lack of impartiality in the GJ process.

It was great info, and then at the end the Merc quotes her:

"I don't say this as someone who thinks every cop is a monster, in fact I think some of the more unhinged people on Indymedia can get a little out of control about that."

In a related post on Blogtown called "A Very Sad List" (posted 37 minutes later), Scott Moore writes:

"And just to push you over the edge—but without getting all IndyMedia on you—..."


WTF??? When did that sleazy fishwrapper, the Merc, delude themselves into thinking that rag was the "voice of reason" or arbiter of credibility?

Head over to the Merc and tell 'em what you think of their journalistic judgement and ethics:  http://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/
whatever, it's not like what they write matters 21.Oct.2006 22:00

ct

Don't let it bother you and don't waste your time trying to write there. It is sad to see so many people who have been on the front lines doing reporting on many of the recent police shootings be disparaged but what can you expect from the corporate media. Portland Indymedia is still the only place I've found where you can find an accurate account of what happened to Fouad Kaady and that only came through numerous people putting in time and effort to get documents, review them, talk to witnesses, and put the complete story together (and the video will be a bombshell). That didn't happen anywhere else, and hence, you won't see the accurate story anywhere else. It is nice that the Chasse story has gotten more people writing online and offline, but really, as horrific as the Chasse case is, it's no worse than almost any of the other police murders over the past several years (some would say decades).

Anyway, so kudos to those who have brought more attention to these stories and continued to offer sensible solutions, you know who you are. (I'd list your names but would feel bad about forgetting anyone). And keep doing what you're doing because it does make a difference as the increased attention of police murders recently in the corporate press shows.

As for the mercury folks, if they spend as much time around town as they claim they would know that what gets said in the average bar or club or even coffee shop about the police makes what's posted on Portland Indymedia look like the Oregonian. And the Chasse case is no exception as I've learned over the past week or so just overhearing people in various establishments around town.

Perhaps Scott could have written more accurately: "without getting all Portland on you"...

they were writing about a segment of the Portland Mercury user audience 21.Oct.2006 23:07

they're not off-base

This seems a petty thing to post about. Both comments were about certain Portland Indymedia users, do you disagree that there are many frequent posters who aren't very in touch with reality? I want Indymedia to be a great resource for open sharing of news just like a lot of readers / posters, but like the writers who made those comments I'm very put off by a lot of the posts on this site. A lot of the comments seem like they were made by a teenaged or younger person who doesn't have much experience in the real world. Some of views expressed are so strident and unbalanced, it's like being on a lefty version of freerepublic.

how insulting 22.Oct.2006 00:13

.

What an insult to the hard working people who keep digging into these issues (Madam Hatter, LN, Catwoman, and st come to mind immediately but there are others). Throwing insults, especially at people's ages, is ridiculous. Most of the police murders would never have been raised in the corporate media if people hadn't used indymedia to raise the issues first. The world is full of people you aren't going to agree with, but let's not put down those who are doing there best to make this a better city and doing better work (unpaid and done for the desire to see some positive change) than the corporate press. So thanks all you hard workers for keeping these stories alive and digging around to get the dirt to expose the police lies.

taking ad money suddenly makes the merc more credible 22.Oct.2006 01:41

yeah right

So whats the big diff between indy and the merc,
not the people/audience... theres plenty of cross over
not the articles covered...not the degree of diging
the number of people and who gets to write as well as the taking of ad money
thats whats most different
any pretending that that doesn't affect what gets written is an excuse
suddenly that makes the merc more credible?

whatever

Free "ad"vertising from the Merc? 22.Oct.2006 07:56

WTF

Hey, as long as the publicity that they give us is free, what do we care? I have never read the Merc, and don't plan to, but if they wanna talk up the fact that folks at Indy are free to talk outside the box, cool. Just gets that one misguided reader that actually wastes time reading the fishwrapper to maybe be curious enough to come see what is really happening.

that is communism 22.Oct.2006 12:07

zaki

That is a direct attack against the First Amendment Right, which many now treat like poop. Of course there is no Independent Media in North Korea. Lucky for us, We Are AMERICANS!

Mercury curls into a ball and hides under its bed 22.Oct.2006 12:49

salaud

First of all, it's hardly a slam to say, "..without getting all Indymedia on you..", especially in the context of talking about the relevation of the facts surrounding police murder. What Scott Moore's freudian slip translates as, in the context of his post, is quite simply, "..without getting all realistic and factual on you.." As he goes on to list facts that have been made available by long time Indymedia posters and social justice volunteers at Portland Cop Watch.

Vis a vis the Mercury, to get "Indymedia on you" means many things in general... 1) To get a story first before the Mercury. 2) To get it right first before the Mercury 3) To be more credible than the Mercury and, of course, 4) To be more relevant than the Mercury (aside from entertainment... the Mercury is good for that, they seem to support local artists and local businesses better than the indymedia tactic currently does)

But, in the context of the Chase Case, it's hard to say which of the previously mentioned things caused the Freudian slip. Certainly number 1 is true. Certainly number 2 is true. With few exceptions, the Mercury has pretty much followed the postings on Indymedia and regurditated the information, with some toning down of facts or theories that don't meet their advertiser's needs (which is referred to as Standard Operating Procedure at the Mercury) So, it's hard to talk about credibility of facts, since the Mercury hasn't really un-earthed any on its own. Certainly number 4 is always true. So, it's hard to know what the motivating factor for the slip might be. I'm guessing some mix of all of the above.

So, in the end, whenever a Mercurian chooses to unravel themselves from their little fetal ball and crawl out from under their liberal bed and stand face to face with the monster that is the facts of the world we live in, as strange and un-entertaining as those facts may be -- but without getting all Mercury on you -- it's a great day to say something sarcastic, go out to a hipster bar, drink cheap beer, listen to local music and hire a sex worker.

There is now a doorway where there was once a locked door 22.Oct.2006 13:08

salaud

This is probably more discussion than a comment, but, I kinda like the term "unhinged". I think it is interesting how these mental images of different people fit together when describing the tone of some postings using indymedia.

"Unhinged" seems to connotate un-anchored or that which will lead to something falling down. Critics would view this as un-anchored from the reality as they understand it. This most typically, a liberal or mainstream conception of reality. So they view things that are not anchored in that reality as incredible.

However, to not be anchored in a world of self serving illusions is hardly a bad place to be. While life is certainly more comfortable, in the short term, by being grounded in pretty lies, it isn't in the long run. So being "unhinged" seems like a pretty good place to be. Not everybody wants to be pinned down to small piece of reality that might cling to with the hope that everything will just work out.

So, I raise my glass to all the "unhinged"! Thanks to you good people there are now doorways where there were once locked doors.

I love indymedia, but... 23.Oct.2006 00:45

ne1

It would be better if in the Chasse case, for example, someone had read and analyzed the coroner's report and written their findings based on it. (Of course, that someone could have been me. And maybe I still will do so.) It's disturbing to me when I come to rely on Indymedia as a source of information and then discover that I've become misinformed into thinking something inaccurate or highly distorted.

For a glaring example, in the Chasse case, I got the distinct impression from reading the Indymedia features that the cops had never called an ambulance for Chasse before taking him straight to jail. But in fact they had. But very oddly, the paramedics concluded that Chasse's vital signs were "normal" (despite thirteen broken ribs, a punctured lung, and massive internal bleeding) and released him back into the cops's custody. Now it may well be that they did so only because the cops willfully failed to describe the blows he had suffered at their hands, or that one of them -- all 200 something pounds of him -- had fallen on the man. But the fact is, they DID call the paramedics, so there was either a major failure or incompetence by the paramedics to recognize the gravity of Chasse's condition, or negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the cops. This would be something valuable to explore. But I've seen nothing about it.

Somehow, in the zeal to indict the police, the whole issue of the paramedics and the possibility of their incompetence or negligence or malicious lack of care for homeless people -- has failed to be noticed by any of the featured articles (one or two commenters did note this). It's a pretty glaring omission, because THIS is the immediate cause of Chasse's death -- had the paramedics taken him in to the ER, he would still be alive today.

immediate cause? 23.Oct.2006 01:35

.

If the police hadn't beaten him he would still be alive today. If he had gotten medical care sooner he *may* still be alive but there are no guarantees. But it is guaranteed that if the police hadn't beaten him he would not have died that day.

Yes, the indymedia coverage on Chasse requires a lot more reading to get the whole story, but look at the Fouad Kaady coverage which was a mess for a quite a while until people took the time to get the story straight. And that is a valid critique of indymedia is that it sometimes takes a long time to get the full story, but at least you get it eventually unlike the corporate press.

And one of the reasons better coverage might not be posted is because people do get frustrated taking the time to do the work and post to this site only to be insulted elsewhere by people who just take their stories without giving any credit.

I love mental masturbation, but.... 23.Oct.2006 16:13

Cat

The mercury is gross and distorted, but their free publicity is fun.

As for the comments of ne1, they're way off base. (As always.) Portland indymedia is the one and only place where one can turn to learn what is really happening out there. Every time the police kill someone, the corporate media tells us that the person had it coming. They tell us if the person ever tried drugs, ever lived on the streets, was ever in jail. But they never tell us what really happened, or who the person really was. Portland indymedia does. Or rather, the people who knew the victim, the people who saw the crime, and the people who care tell us, using their own voices, on Portland indymedia.

So, for example, the people who knew and cared about James Chasse shared their stories and their sadness here. And the people who watched in horror as police beat a man to death shared their observations and their outrage here. And the people who have been watching the unfolding story of police violence in these streets for some time have shared their perspectives on the patterns of oppression common to all police killings (ie, they kill someone, they cover up the crime, they smear the victim's name, and the corporate media -- and people like ne1 -- apologize for them). That's a strength that cannot be pontificated away, ne1. That's the strength of reclaiming our own voices and telling our own stories. So while you may want to ruminate over your mistaken impressions, those who turn to Portland indy for their news are far better informed about this incident and every other than those who rely on the lies of the corporate media, including the inane and fluffy poo banter of the Mercury.

. 23.Oct.2006 17:07

.

"This seems a petty thing to post about. Both comments were about certain Portland Indymedia users, do you disagree that there are many frequent posters who aren't very in touch with reality? I want Indymedia to be a great resource for open sharing of news just like a lot of readers / posters, but like the writers who made those comments I'm very put off by a lot of the posts on this site. A lot of the comments seem like they were made by a teenaged or younger person who doesn't have much experience in the real world. Some of views expressed are so strident and unbalanced, it's like being on a lefty version of freerepublic."

Indymedia could be better for sure, but at least it attracts people who care. Whether they know how to express themselves well, or sometimes lose their temper, or get frustrated and so on. Rather than the usual, quick discussion, then on to sports, weather, or what Brad Pitt is up to sort of shallowness that passes for concern these days.

People who care get made fun of. That is modern cynical life and the reason why the country is slipping into fascism. Cool is everything, substance means nothing and papers like the Mercury lead the way in glorifying this sorry descent.

. 23.Oct.2006 17:24

.

"Yes, the indymedia coverage on Chasse requires a lot more reading to get the whole story, but look at the Fouad Kaady coverage which was a mess for a quite a while until people took the time to get the story straight. And that is a valid critique of indymedia is that it sometimes takes a long time to get the full story, but at least you get it eventually unlike the corporate press. "


That is how indymedia works. Sometimes it succeeds, sometimes not. The model is powerful and more effective though. It just needs participation. People need to understand it. An article is not a finished piece. It is the commentary over time that fills an story out and makes it broader and more fundamentally honest than commercial media which is focused on making a product.

That we live in a society that wants everything in easily assimilated sound bytes should not dictate the direction of things. Of course it does in commercial media, but that is a negative, and feeds negative patterns built by corporate media to turn everyone into passive consumers of the crap they are paid to advertise.

t 23.Oct.2006 18:26

sal

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society

J. Krishnamurti

Ha! 24.Oct.2006 09:22

whatta joke

If any of these posters is trying to say that the Mercury is more "in touch" and/or "accurate" than indy, I think they need a reality check. What a laugh! The Merc is, if anything, the Inquirer for baby yuppies. Indy, on the other hand, is a self correcting resource to find out what's really happening, without financial incentives, sponsors to please, or corporate culture to conform to.

The problem, as I see it 24.Oct.2006 19:42

Don T Lissen

When you get into an argument with the brain trust at any MSM, you have to get into the gutter with them. When you do so, you provide them with some degree of credibility ("look at all of these readers, who are responding to our urinalysm"). My belief is, read if you must, what they have to say, steal, rip, paraphrase, plagerize, but never, ever, offer, or give them any credit. Ignore their barbs, as if you never even saw them. It makes them nuts when no one challenges the words that fly out of their asses. If you steal their words, and no one but them knows, does anyone care?
They are a corporation, you are free. Enjoy that freedom to vex and annoy them whenever possible.

For yet another idea of how much the media conciously fucks with public opinion in favor of the power brokers, I suggest reading "The Smoking Gun," by Gerry Spence. Our own big O was the criminal press in this instance. There are many others. The point is that you cannot, and should not, believe them, or give to them any credibility not earned.