Journalistic Standards at
published on this website August 13, 2001
Journalistic Standards at the Oregonian?
By John McEnroe
Oregon Tyranny Response Team
August 9, 2001
Should the media tell the truth? In Oregon,
journalistic scholarship and integrity appear to be optional at the Oregonian,
the state's largest "news" paper.
47 days after publishing a May 23, 2001,
editorial, and 34 days after the first Freedom Of Information request was
submitted to Senator Ginny Burdick’s office, the Tyranny Response Team of
Oregon met with Bob Caldwell, Editorial Page Editor and editorial writer Rick
Attig. The purpose of the meeting was to question whether The Oregonian’s
(Oregon’s largest newspaper) ethical and journalistic standards had been
seriously compromised by the uncritical acceptance of an unverified statement
made by Oregon State Senator Ginny Burdick.
On May 23, 2001, The Oregonian published an
editorial written by Mr. Attig that referred to a “cross-check analysis” of
CHL holders that purported to reveal more than 1,000 who had “criminal records
which made them unsuitable for such licenses.”
“The obvious purpose of this announcement,”
according to Lee Anderson, Director of TRT Oregon, “was to create public fear
and suspicion of CHL (concealed handgun) licensees.”
“It has been Senator Burdick's agenda to hamstring
the CHL law because she is afraid of citizens who carry defensive firearms,
and she wants us all to share her fear. We are concerned that despite significant
evidence to the contrary, the Oregonian has failed in its duty to accurately
inform the public and actively seeks to implement public policy through misinformation.”
When questioned, Bob Caldwell admitted that the
staff had accepted hoplophobic (an unwarranted fear of firearms) Senator
Burdick’s statement at face value. Mr. Caldwell also stated, “I think
concealed handgun license rules are too loose.”
When Mr. Attig was questioned about the existence
of the study he admitted that he sat down with Ginny Burdick and went through
“what looked like computer printouts of a list of names... At that time Senator
Burdick said, “This information is not ready for the public.”
Leigh Maynard, a local realtor asked,
incredulously, “you mean you did not check this information?”
“We have no reason to feel that Ginny Burdick
was lying to us,” said Mr. Caldwell.
“You mean that you unquestioningly took the opinion
of Senator Burdick, an avowed anti-self-defense legislator, at face value? Don't
you have a responsibility to check the facts?” asked Lee Anderson.
Mr. Caldwell replied, “No, we had no reason
to question Senator Burdick.”
Mr. Attig responded to the questions by stating,
“usually groups coming in to talk to us bringing information to share with us...your
group is the first one to come in here with an unacceptable attitude.”
Clearly facts were not the issue in this discussion.
The moral, ethical, and journalistic “standards” of the Oregonian are crystal
John F McEnroe
Portland, Oregon 97214-1500
To Get Your Letters Printed Here
Click here and read submission guidelines.