Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Meet the Bend Weekly Parrot

We don't make any bones about where we come from. While Democrats are our natural philosophical allies, neither Carla nor I belong to the party (I should change my registration to Working Families Party soon), and at times lately we've been pretty frustrated with the way the national party is organized...or not, although Oregon's Democratic reps are actually among the leaders in the country on policy right now in my view. And at the state level, I think we're pretty pleased so far. The ORGOP is in far more disarray here than in DC, which is a help.

So despite our professed sense of independence, some may want to label what I did yesterday as shilling: I published the link to the statement from the Majority Office on the blockage of the rainy day fund bill, House 2707. I quoted an excerpt of an obviously self-interested press release, and provided the direct link to the whole thing. I think in doing so, I gave everyone full disclosure that we were quoting a partisan source on a partisan incident, and you should take from the rhetoric what you may. Of course we happen to agree with the facts contained in the rhetoric as well as the rhetoric itself, and it sums up the situation pretty well, so I republished it. But the reader should be warned where the narrative is coming from--House Democrats.

Having seen the release, my introduction to the Bend Weekly News online edition became a rather surprising one. In googling around on the rainy day story, I found this article. Hey wow, I thought--new media outlet! Who wrote it? Hmm, it says "Bend Weekly News Sources." Cool, they have their own sources! And then I started reading the text. Man, it sure sounded familiar. Really, really familiar. Go ahead and compare their "statewide news" story to the original press release I linked to. It's the whole bloody thing verbatim, isn't it? Subheads--"All House Republicans vote against saving for Oregon’s future, Democrats vow to press ahead on ballot measure referral"--and all.

That's pretty ballsy, if you ask me. It's bad enough to epitomize the absolute height of lazy journalism by simply reprinting a party press release; it's even more sad and pathetic to a) pass it off as news, and b) very nearly pass it off as Bend Weekly-written news. Ridiculous. And what sucks for the people of Bend is that they deserve to have the story explained to them properly. My personal feeling is that Douglas Deschutes and surrounding-county residents need to see the caliber of legislator they are sending to Salem: petty, spiteful, not-very-logical Republicans who got used to stubbornly avoiding reason and aren't about to change now just because they're in the minority.

There will be a referral on this issue in May, it will pass, and anybody who was REALLY concerned about what they claimed were their concerns on the floor yesterday, should now be even more worried about a permanent "tax hike." from a permanently repealed corporate kicker. It just doesn't seem very smart to block a one-time repeal in that light, does it? If only Bend readers were lucky enough to be privy to such analysis in their hometown, as opposed to another sycophantic weekly flushing their credibility down the toilet, printing whatever Source X hands them. And that applies whether Source X is Wayne Scott or Jeff Merkley.