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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 9, 2012 10:12 AM. The previous post in this blog was Honeymoon's over at Umpqua Bank. The next post in this blog is Nolan camp fined again for campaign finance violations. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nothing but happy talk from Portland media

This is so typical. The news the world over is that wind and solar are being dominated by the Chinese, and there's no way that Europe and the United States can compete. Managers of big "green" energy manufacturers in several western nations are committing career suicide these days. Major consolidation is in the wind. The outlook has never been bleaker.

But not in the Portland papers. We have our own reality here. Just take the hilarious, preposterous press release from some guy at the Portland Development Commission and print it. With a headline along the lines of "World Ends, But Not as Quickly as it Might Have."

One of the biggest factors holding Portland back is its anemic, know-nothing mainstream media. There are maybe five reporters in town with the smarts to know what's going on and the guts to say it. And even they are hamstrung by their editors a lot of the time.

Folks, you don't have to join the doom-and-gloom chorus if you don't want to, but please stop serving your readers bureaucratic Kool-Aid.

Comments (16)

Sadly, I don't expect the situation to improve. This would require editors willing to back reporters who cover unpopular things, instead of ones terrified that the mayor won't give them cute nicknames. (Never underestimate the number of big stories spiked because an editor relaxes on his days off by shoving his tongue straight up a public figure's ***. That number is almost as high as the number of important stories spiked or dumped in the Obituaries section because the subject just happens to be a frat brother of the publisher.)

The other reason why this won't happen? Just read the comments under any article that dares point out that Portland is broken. Why would any publication in the city bother to hire a real dirt-digger when anything even remotely negative gets nothing but shrieks and bellows? "Waaaaaaaah! That reporter made fun of me! He's not even from Portland! Have him killed, Daddy! HAVE HIM KILLED!"

Hilarious, but sadly true here in Stoopid City. Makes me think of Berlin when the Red Army was just around the corner and getting closer every day. The government kept telling the people to believe one thing while the people were gradually coming to realize something else.

Many of these writers seem to be our own version of Baghdad Bob.

That's because at a certain major metropolitan daily, the editors are busy with their latest newsroom reorganization and initiatives to improve "diversity" and to "work smarter."

When they're not forming new committees to study ways to boost readership and/or attending kiss-the-ring conferences with company executives, that is.

Meanwhile, the reporters, copy editors, designers and others working in the trenches are spending much of their time networking, polishing their resumes and lining up interviews for jobs elsewhere—preferably as flaks in government where the hours are short, the pay and benefits excellent and you need not feel encumbered by facts.

Baghdad Bob was - in my opinion - misunderstood. He wasn't lying in the Western sense. There's this cultural thing in the Middle East that involves saying things that aren't technically true, and are even outrageously false, but that the person really wishes were true. It's all about the attitude.

Back to the reporters in this town, or this country. They are all working with corporate filters and it is amazing how quickly a human being just integrates the safe or desired message into his or her brain. After a while, it's not even second nature. It becomes innate.

Here's an example of how this occurs. We're currently being force fed the war in Iran. These are not the drums of war. This is a sampled drum track from the last war. I expressed my doubts about the plan and at least 2 commenters described this as anti-Semitism and being anti-Israel. These kinds of charges are the reason American politicians are so afraid of speaking out, and usually just go along with whatever Israel's leadership wants.

Meanwhile the Daily Beast has since published an article with this excerpt:

"... an astonishing number of Israel’s top soldiers and spies are warning against bombing Iran. It began last summer, when Meir Dagan, fresh from a highly successful, eight-year stint as head of the Mossad, called attacking Iran “the stupidest thing I have ever heard.” He noted that while in office, he had joined with Yuval Diskin, director of the Shin Bet, and Gabi Ashkenazi, chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Fund, to block this “dangerous adventure.” Since then, a throng of current and former security officials have issued similar warnings. In December, Dagan’s successor at Mossad, Tamir Pardo, suggested that an Iranian nuclear weapon was not an existential threat. This month, another former Mossad chief, Efraim Halevy, declared that “it is not in the power of Iran to destroy the state of Israel.” Former IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz added that “Iran poses a serious threat but not an existential threat” and that bombing would mean “taking upon ourselves a task that is bigger than us.” It’s remarkable, when you think about it. Almost every week, Israeli security officials say things about Iran’s nuclear program that, if Barack Obama said them, would get him labeled anti-Israel by American Jewish activists and the GOP."

I guess at this point Gaye Harris and Max should attack the former head of Mossad for being anti-Semitic and anti-Israel, but I doubt that'll happen. These charges against me were meant to keep the free expression of ideas in America from occurring - even when, according to these Israelis, I'm right.

It's similar to corporate media in general. These reporters can't really report the news, because the corporations they work for, want a certain message to get out. So the media has become a PR firm for the powers-that-be, and that has a lot to do with the erosion of our freedoms. The 4th Estate plays a vital role in a democracy and I'm sure if America falls, there will be historians who trace it back to when American reporters lost the ability to do their job. The link is the squelching of our ability to discuss what is happening in an open manner.

The only real place for the public to exchange ideas now, is the Internet, and that's why Congress is working feverishly to come up with a way to stifle it and further erode public discourse. Do you think the power structure in this town is happy about Jack Bog's Blog? They don't own blogs, etc.. so they can't control them. That's why a top priority for the powerful now is to change the Internet and bring it into line with their vision for us all.

Our bus system is in turmoil; your bus might not show up, and we have one of the oldest, least reliable bus fleets in the nation.

But we have the Best Transit Light Rail System in North America!

The Oregonian staff seems to be focusing increasing amounts of attention and energy on upscale "side" publications for the well-to-do:

Mix, Explore the Pearl, Drive Time, Oregon Wineries etc.

While I was thumbing through the O this morning, I thought - as I often do - that for a city this size, there's not much substance there.

NW Portlander, that's to be expected. I suspect everyone at the Boregonian is trying to get jobs with the CoP, and you don't get that by even hinting that Gary, Indiana might have more of a nightlife.

"We have our own reality here."

So what is the sustainability org going to say? "We were wrong and most of these green energy investments are just flushing money down the drain"?

I'd expect Earl to say he was wrong before they'd say that.

To be fair, we can't move toward a useless, agrarian, micro-memetic and bike-driven economy without the compliance of local news outlets.

I think most of us here realize that most of this blog's critiques are falling on death ears of our bureaucrats and politicians-they wouldn't admit a "wrong". To bad our media gives little help.

But we might be making some inroads for the average citizens. And then maybe we'll vote the pols out and have a few re-education sessions for the bureaucrats. But it certainly is taking time. Clackamas citizens give hope.

"I suspect everyone at the Boregonian is trying to get jobs with the CoP"

Not true! There are a number of local government agencies who have hired Oregonian reporters! They're not picky!

It'd be nice to have a media outlet that actually questions those in power.

I thought Pamplin was supposed to be that (between the Portland Tribune and KPAM 860), but so far they drool over light rail and all that other downtown crap, and they put out plenty of "happy go lucky" fluff in their newspaper.

Erik, not to mention the Tribune's "Sustainable Living" section.

Out of spite, I am doing everything in my power these days to live as unsustainable a lifestyle as possible.

The Fourth Estate is reduced to a fifth column. This is intractable, at least until utter bankruptcy (both city and paper are on their way).

My solution was to find a place where it seems extremely unlikely that the local gov't could tax, hide, or waste anywhere near this much money.

Best of luck with the European system. That economy died with it's Belgian urban planning awards arranged smartly around it's Brutalist coffin...


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