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Journalistic Standards at the Oregonian?

Originally 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 clear...

John F McEnroe
Portland, Oregon 97214-1500

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In our inner cities, where firearms are outlawed, only outlaws are armed. When our "philosopher kings" sit back and do nothing, this is the tyranny and terror of "gun control." —CHARLTON HESTON

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