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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Tale of two papers

Is it just me, or was there absolutely nothing worth reading in today's Sunday Oregonian? The week's thickest paper, and it's worthless.

Meanwhile, The New York Times was truly jamming:

A front page story on torture houses run by the Iraqi insurgents.

A fascinating piece on how corporate CEOs, who are paid like geniuses, try to act dumb when they're caught stealing. And so far, they're not convincing people on juries. Send us a postcard from Attica, Koslowski!

An article on how in women's tennis, short people got no reason to live.

Two articles sparked by New York City's plans to ladle out some serious pork to the Yankees and Mets for new baseball stadiums: (1) a strong piece digging out some of the hidden taxpayer costs, and asking whether the spending of tax dollars for such projects is a "subsidy" or an "investment"; and (2) an architectural review of sports stadiums throughout history, from the Roman Colosseum to the breathtaking new soccer stadium in Braga, Portugal.

A horrifying photo of a 1930 lynching in Marion, Indiana.

A disturbing photo of Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page hoisting his guitar over the New York Stock Exchange. He played "Whole Lotta Love" to celebrate the initial public offering of the stock of Warner Music Group. Alas for Warner, the market had less than a whole lotta enthusiasm for the stock, partly because market analysts are now under less pressure to give the thumbs up even though they think a new offering is overpriced.

If your news dollar isn't being spent on the Times -- if you're not at least checking in on the paper's website -- you're missing out. You may hate the slant, but the coverage is unparallelled.

Comments (12)

Of course, the Oregonian will excerpt out 50% of the text from 50% of the stories, and print them on Tuesday. It's not totally worthless.

Maybe just a day late and a dollar short.

It's funny, when they're reprinted in The O, the Times stories never make as strong an impression on me. It's mediocrity by association. Shows my bias.

But I will say that Sunday is all too often the weakest day of the week for The O. And there are people around the state who take it only on Sunday. Egads.

That's why we have the Internet. The Boston Globe is my read of choice. Where else to find out so much about Catholic priests and little boys. And big-time corruption of the public monies--the Big Dig has been fascinating. Somehow, though, I do miss New England in spite of its pretenions.

I'm with you about the O, but Sunday's paper did have one article worth the buck fifty, a front page piece about moisture problems in homes and condos built shoddily using OSB and an stucco-like exterior siding system.

But Prince Valiant remains my primary reason for picking it up every week. It may be hopelessy outdated and geeky, but it's the one thing I can remember reading for most of a half century of Sunday comics.

I'm with you about the O, but Sunday's paper did have one article worth the buck fifty, a front page piece about moisture problems in homes and condos built shoddily using OSB and an stucco-like exterior siding system.

Agreed--that was a valuable story, and one that obviously took a good deal of time to put together. Only wish they'd devote the time and resources to doing a similar multi-part expose on the PDC, complete with Sunday front-page coverage.

Builders around here are slapping up junk that you wish you'd never bought. That's news?

Funny how our legion of municipal planners and nitpicky permit-writers haven't insured better quality. You can't prune a limb off a street tree without city approval, but apparently there's no permit needed to sell substandard construction on a home.

What I got out of reading the O this weekend is this: Take the prize-winning steetcar (Saturday editorial) to the Pearl District and watch the buildings rot.(Sunday frontpage).(If you're lucky you might witness an inspector-or legislator-being paid off along the route).

Uhhhh...this from the same NY Times that's been giving us such accurate coverage of the Iraq war and the hacktackular election coverage epitomized by substance-less, spinmeister-blowing, barking cows like Elizabeth Bumiller?

A defect in the baby-boom generation is that ever since Watergate cemented its self-importance, that generation has looked to the media more as a mirror of its own conceits and superficial judgments rather than as an accountable means of information delivery. But the boomers eat it all up and believe it because after their team beat Nixon and Vietnam how could it be anything else but right?

A FRONT PAGE story on "torture houses run by the Iraqi insurgents" couldn't say it much better. Hey, call me when the NY Times runs the FRONT PAGE story on how our own high administration officials were fully aware of and gave the orders for our own torture at Abu Gharib. More like Page 13, column D, Friday late edition for that one.

But hey, if you read the Times, we're turning the corner on Iraq...last throes, baby, just listen to Cap'n Cheney. After another 50 dead in suicide bombings this weekend, everything's A-OK, as this Times quote explains: "Life along the street running past the restaurant quickly returned to normal. Older men 80 yards away resumed curbside games of checkers before men had finished sweeping away chunks of flesh." MMMMMM...chicken. Democracy is on the m-f'n march!!

What are you smoking? If the Times isn't lefty enough for you, you are out there a ways.

The Sunday New York Times also had a great feature on Portland's own Miranda July, with a great-big-across-the-top-a-the-film-section color photo --- her first feature-length movie, "Me and You and Everyone We Know," won a prize at Sundance, and shared the Palm d'Or at Cannes. Charming and well-done. Even talked about Portland a little.

It's really sad how far down your generation has come. The Times as a "lefty" newspaper?! Were you awake during the pre-Iraq buildup? And I suppose your definition of good election reporting is a horserace full of bullshit impressionism and fake nuance on inconsequential issues like abortion. I'm sure "we" chose the best man in the Democratic primary, and I'm sure if I quizzed you in February-March 2004 (not to mention now), you could tell me very little if anything of substance about the candidates...because the media wasn't asking, and the candidates weren't telling.

Even if you could have told me something such as a given candidate's presently elastic position on the war, what relevance would that have? Oooh, paper as opposed to plastic. It's still a bag. What is it going to do? You don't know. You didn't know then, you wouldn't have known if John Kerry had been elected, and you haven't known since George Bush has been elected. Every day a lot of people like you get up without a clue about what has happened in that conflict and where it is going and how it is going to impact you. Why? Is it JUST because George Bush doesn't want to tell you? He's been pretty successful for 5 years if that's the only reason. Is it too painful for your generation to hear? Or is it too painful for your generation to ask the question?

For your generation, the acceptance of the media's complicity is a direct consequence of believing in what the media did or was perceived to do to bring down Richard Nixon and stop the Vietnam war. They can't be wrong. Every time the Times or the WaPo goes into the office of Dick Cheney or Karl Rove's staffers and comes out with some patent misinformation from some "unnamed source" and puts it on page one, your generation has fallen for it every time.

Your main post just illustrates the impressionism-over-substance mentality the media feels it has to serve. A recent issue of US News and World Report had a cover story about the Hidden Secrets of Casinos. The current issue of the Atlantic Monthly has a "Look Back from the election of 2016" article, where the author posits that the solution to the bursting of the housing bubble will be for the feds to order the production of 1 million gas guzzling RVs, notwithstanding our current oil situation. You're hopped about women's tennis. This is the mental sclerosis of your generation...whose media representatives treat the public like easily distracted idiots, and then are never surprised when they act accordingly.

One of the reasons the Oregonian is worthless, no doubt, is because they bury the PDC news. Do you really think it's any different nationally? And even if it is, doesn't that just get to the core double standard here? When the Oregonian censors PDC news, it "doesn't happen" and political accountability is compromised. Until the media reported Watergate, it "didn't happen" and Nixon coasted along.

If you really believe what you believe about PDC, what makes you think that holding back on asking the important questions about this war or about electoral candidates is any less of an affirmative act than holding back on following the money through local quasi-public agencies? People think you're "out there" too for criticizing the developer cash machine (the Oregonian just permanently labeled you "contrarian" as you noticed).

Questioning the media locally can't be reconciled with venerating the Times as a worthy paper of record and swallowing its flashy diversions whole. Especially not over the past five years. Unless you're just sitting there expecting them to tell you, which I think your generation is, because it's a lot easier not to ask the questions individually...in which case you can fold this blog and kick your feet up to 2012 when the Oregonian publishes that PDC expose.

George Bush is our fault. PDC is our fault. And when we give the media a pass, that's part of why.

That's enough, child. Chill out for a while.

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