Different Floors of the House

Monday, December 20, 2010

Will Work For Truth

We're working on our new site and will be closing this one down.  If you're a fan of small government and individual liberty, make sure you check back here for the URL, which will go live and have daily content added after January 1, 2011.  I'll post it here in the next few days. 
Good luck and Godspeed.

Here's one last ditty, before I go...

Dear distinguished editor,

            Thank you for recently publishing the article entitled “Oregon loses jobs, and it’s our own fault”.  The article was an insightful and refreshing adventure into the no-holds-barred journalism of old.  Rare indeed is the celebratory occasion in which your loyal—yet dwindling number of—subscribers have the pleasure of seeing the fourth estate’s investigative prowess on display.  The Oregonian’s coverage of the economic melt down in this state has been par excellence and markedly distinguishable from all other papers of local bent in this nation.
No, it has not.
And you can stop the LexisNexis search for the above-mentioned article. You should know it does not exist.
            In fact, one might say (and one is, now) that your paper truly, truly sucks.  I don’t care who your new hoity-toity yellow-belly-in-chief is or how many Roman numerals he has in his name.  No one does.  What people—readers of local daily papers—want is news that answers just a few simple questions:  “What” and “Why”, for example.  Your paper does a pitifully mundane job at the “what”, and has always been shockingly unengaged in the “why”.  There is a third question that should be reticently obvious and automatically answered by the papers’ own name:  The Oregonian.
            Far too often, I see national goings-on on every prominent page of this supposedly local newspaper…save the quaint little stories about bicyclists who can’t ride a bus because there is no room to put their bikes.  Usually, all we get are constant and incessant macaronic bloviations on national health-care reform, the wars in Afganistan and (until recently, for some reason) the war in Iraq.  Locally we are enlightened by ramblings and musings of our non-existent clean energy industry, bloggishly simplistic entries mentioning, but never detailing the decline of our fledgling “Silicon Forest”, and maybe, if we’re lucky, we get some Pulitzer prize winning journalism—which is code for “Did what an even worse newspaper (i.e. the San Fransisco Obstacle) couldn’t seem to do.’’ One article on your OregonLive.com site suggested that our economy is “veering away from the abyss” by stating federal spikes in certain corners of the economic equation while suggesting that “Even in Oregon, optimism is growing.”  Really?  So, it is okie dokie for your journalists to spike opinion pieces with national stats and in turn apply those stats—none of which apply to Oregon—to Oregon?  Unreal.  But not unbelievable.
            The “what” question is really quite simple, to be sure.  Anyone can say what just happened.  A building burned down.  An international truck manufacturer picked up and left town.  The carpetbagging “creative class” seeking a “green-friendly” home-city scuttles out of Oregon as quick as they come here.  Unemployment skyrockets in just a few months’ time.  No one shops downtown anymore.  Crime is at an all-time high on MAX lines.  No one is hiring.  No one is creating new business.  Nothing is happening and no one at The Oregonian knows the answer to the more important question:  Why?
            Just one example of The Oregonian’s failure to answer the question “why” occurred in a story regarding the departure of Freightliner and the impending loss of 900 Oregon jobs. The reasons why Freightliner left weren’t particularly obscure:  it came down to profitability.  The “why” question was in this sentence: 
            Oregon officials expressed their disappointment, but said there was little they could have done to change the conditions that led Daimler to shift all its truck-making operations to the Carolinas and to Mexico.”
            Ok…why?  Why? Why? Why? Why?  Now, certainly, 900 jobs lost is not the entirety of Oregon’s economic bloodstream.  But it is arterial to the endemic of lost jobs in this state.  Furthermore, if government officials are involved, which the article suggests, then they must have been able, at least theoretically, to do something about the loss of these jobs and this industry.  So, why didn’t they?  Or, granting them the benefit of the doubt (which The Oregonian forces its readers to do):  Why couldn’t they?  The newspaper, in over twenty articles on the subject (sorry, I don’t have access to LexisNexis’ entire search capacity. I’m only an unemployed college student, with three little girls to try to feed or I would have found more, trust me.) never once asked any “government official” any “why” questions.  The reporters, along with the editors and the newspaper as an entity consistently refuse to ask lawmakers and officials the right questions—if they ask any questions at all.  And even if they know the answer, this paper lets more pro-active, under-circulated rags break real news.  Which leads me to the fourth question all respectable papers should be at least trying to answer:  How?
            How can this be?
            Far be it from me to question the majesty of the mighty Oregonian, entirely.  Honestly, only a handful of people are to blame for not allowing stories to accentuate the “why” and “how” of certain stories.  I have been in those offices and have seen the hard work those producers of news task away on daily.  And I know the clock cannot be stretched.  But how can it be that every other medium including radio, radio for Hirsch’s sake, is killing print journalism?  I’ll tell you how:  they ask “why.” They ask “how.”  “Why” and “how” are the reasons Fox news, its publications and conservative radio and its publications consistently lambastes traditional print media.  Bloggers, as well, have learned the gift of asking “how”, and their popularity waxes ever upward.  This is not to say that Fox or e-magazines or bloggers are correctly answering the pertinent questions, but simply to say that they are asking the questions with numerous panels, talking heads and, most importantly, members of the national government.  But even these organizations, for the most part, are asking softball questions design to re-book government officials, not to offend them or stir up any real controversy.
            So where has the Oregonian lined up 
            So, you see, Oregon is losing jobs and it is our own fault.  Or rather, it is your fault.  That’s right, it’s the Oregonian’s fault.  You refuse to answer the pertinent questions of prominently involved public officials regarding our over-inflated housing market, our double-digit unemployment rate, our inability to attract and retain industry, our constant coddling of an overbloated, second-rate tech industry, our refusal to train and educate entrepreneurs of the future, and our over-all disdain for what makes great cities great: namely, an employed, productive and intuitive workforce that excels, nay, dominates any competition from anywhere else.   We’re too busy relegating our masses to waiting for the next bus, hoping there’s a rack on which to mount our eco-friendly rosary beads of the 21st century.