This weekend,Winston Ross, a Newsweek Reporter, interviewed me about media sensationalism and the Sam Adams story. He had read my previous blog post and thought I might have some insights to share. Later in the day, after Sam Adams committed to return to work, I, naively, hoped that we would be able to put the issue to rest and all get back to work ourselves. But apparently I was wrong.
This morning’s editorial in the Oregonian is an inflammatory as anything I have seen in the past week. This is what the Oregonian has to say: “Adams doesn’t get the final say, however. The community will decide his political fate…” a statement that I wholeheartedly agree with. He is an elected official and we, the voting citizens, are the deciding body. But then they add this to the end of the sentence: “…preferably through a recall election.” A recall election is not a possibility until he has been in office for 6 months, which is 5 months from now. Why don’t we all take a deep breath and leave it to those of us who vote.
The editorial then states:
Yet many Portlanders have rallied to Adams’ side, urging him to remain in power. Some are from organizations that have benefited financially and politically from Adams’ presence in City Hall. Some don’t want to land on Adams’ bad side by failing to back him. Others consider Adams’ leadership indispensable and are willing to overlook unprofessional behavior, unethical campaign tactics and perhaps even criminal misconduct if necessary.
Really, this is as inflammatory as it gets. If any of us rally to Sam’s side, our motives are now suspect. Excuse me, but I am a business owner, employer, taxpayer, voter and volunteer who contributes both to Portland’s economy and our city’s economic stability. I chaired the City Club Committee that advocated for reform of a system well on its way to bankrupt the City and damage our bond rating. In addition, our work was credited BY THE OREGONIAN, as having been the reason that the City caught the overpayments to retirees.
My question to The Oregonian’s editorial board is which category do I fall into? I have neither benefited financially nor politically from him being in office. Rather, I have challenged him and the other City Commissioners to do the right thing. I have taken on Adams and his staff enough times on significant issues, that if I had been worried about landing on his bad side, I would have kept my mouth shut a long time ago. Nor do I consider his leadership indispensable. If I thought his behavior was enough of an issue that he should resign as mayor, wouldn’t you think someone with my history would be leading the charge?
According to the Oregonian: “This was a moment when Portland’s civic community needed to see clearly the difference between right and wrong but failed to do so.”
I disagree. I see this as a moment when the media chose to over-sensationalize an issue. An issue that, once given a day or so to process, a majority of voting citizens decided were not worth putting our City, our economy, or ourselves at risk for.
At this point it feels like The Oregonian is trying to justify its original over-reaction. By continuing to use inflammatory language, exaggerated and unsubstantiated statements, they are trying to win over the remaining few who have apparently not recognized that we, as a city, are ready to move on. I am very disapointed at the irresponsible behavior of the Oregonian’s editorial board. Do they really think that insulting their readership while beating a dead horse will increase readership? That is the only rationale I can think of for their behavior.
Today Sam Adams ges back to work as our mayor. He does have a lot of work ahead of him as he tries to rebuild the public trust. I say we should give him an opportunity to do so. My first step will be cancelling my subscription to The Oregonian and removing OregonLive.com from my bookmarks.