Why I Don’t Subscribe to the Oregonian–And You Shouldn’t Either

Well, once again the Oregonian proved why it’s a dying newpaper—anyone read their opinion section this past Sunday?

Just inside the front page was the O’s editorial board cowering away from picking a Senate candidate, deciding they could support neither Monica Wehby nor Jeff Merkley.

Their reasoning is bizarre. After waxing poetic for the first paragraph about Wehby’s potential as a “fiscally conservative neurosurgeon with moderate social views and automatic credibility on health care policy” they decided that ultimately—due to a series of public blunders—she’s unelectable.

I agree, but have these assholes been paying attention at all to what’s become of the Republican Party? The fiscally conservative moderate Republican is DEAD. And the reason Wehby’s campaign has fallen apart is that she’s a fraud; that was made quite clear when she was caught plagiarizing her health care policy from Karl Rove, and ripping off her position on other issues from the Koch brothers.

Let’s get something straight here: the national Republican Party is incapable of governing this nation. They have no interest in compromising on any issue of national import, whether that be immigration, gun laws, student loans, or reducing tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. They want to repeal Obamacare, but have no plan to replace it. They don’t think income/wage inequality or climate change are important issues, but have no issue pandering to an increasingly radical fringe that is rife with tin-foil-hat conspiracy theorists, people who believe Christianity is the national religion, and racists. That is today’s Republican Party, so frankly, why any thoughtful or reasonable person would consider voting for Wehby in the first place is laughable.

Their critique of Merkley is equally absurd. He’s too “partisan” for the Oregonian’s editorial board, because he didn’t support “free trade” agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Columbia, and he doesn’t want to increase timber harvests on public lands. Really? Really? I could’ve understood if they disagreed (wrongly) with Merkley’s more liberal positions in support of raising the minimum wage, reducing interest rates on student loans, or mandating universal background checks on gun sales, but free trade agreements and timber? This is what keeps them up at night?

More strange is that if you read the non-endorsement endorsement, it’s clear they just desperately want Republicans to win office, but where they’re concerned about Merkley’s partisanship, they’re unconcerned about electing a Republican… why? Today’s Republicans are so partisan they’d probably pull a bill they proposed and passed themselves if it looked like Obama would sign it into law.

And that’s the second thing we need to get straight: complaining about Democrats being partisan is dumb. In just the last two years, Democrats have proposed bills that the majority of Americans support, from immigration reform to raising the minimum wage to universal background checks to reducing the burden of student loans. If Republicans were inclined—at all—to compromise, they’ve had plenty of opportunities to do so. Yet, again and again, these bills are filibustered in the Senate, or in the case of immigration, passed, but then not brought up by the Republican House. So if people are upset about partisanship and discord in government, they need to stop electing Republicans.

The most ridiculous thing about the Oregonian’s non-endorsement, is that they avoid making the critical decision that we, as voters, must make. Even if both candidates have flaws, as citizens we’re still tasked with choosing the lesser of two evils. So sack up and make a fucking choice instead of cowering behind flawed logic and wishful thinking.

Oh but it doesn’t stop there. On the next page, there were three articles expressing conservative views on elections and local governance. Elizabeth Hovde went ahead and endorsed the Republican candidate for governor, Dennis Richardson, because we need “a new mindset”, because we’re “broke—literally and figuratively.” Hovde’s position as a regular opinion writer, it should be noted, can only be explained if she’s sleeping with someone at the paper; I don’t mean that to be sexist—she’s just that bad. As usual, her article is poorly written, lacks seriousness, and is at odds with political reality.

Then there’s the article that argues against a street fee to pay for Portland’s badly deteriorating roads, and another by a local restaurant owner advocating against raising the minimum wage. One might like to see a counterpoint, like oh I don’t know, the fact that anyone, let alone this restaurant owner, not paying his employees a living wage is being subsidized by U.S. taxpayers through the Medicaid, Food Stamps, and Low-Income Housing.

Oh but there’s more. Turn the next page, and you’ll see a full conservative attack, with op-eds from Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Robert J. Samuelson, and Kathleen Parker. Apparently, one essay attacking Obama wasn’t enough, so we get two from Parker and Kraut. And then, two poor articles from two old men, completely detached from reality, that no one wants to read.

Total number of conservative opinions: nine. Total number of liberal opinions: three. And if we look at total page space it’s probably worse than that three to one ratio.

THIS IS FUCKING PORTLAND! We’re a city scorned by conservatives; we call ourselves the “people’s republic”; we’re desperately proud of being independent and keeping ourselves weird. So why does the Oregonian insist on publishing a paper that looks more like the Wall Street Journal than the New York Times?

I can’t explain it, but this is why I don’t subscribe to the Oregonian, and it’s why you shouldn’t either. It’s not just that I don’t personally like conservative opinions—it’s that they’re wrong. Republicans aren’t currently proposing any legislation or policy changes that will make life any better for ordinary Americans. Indeed, as I’ve often repeated, I’m not aware of anything Republicans have done to that end in the last 30 years.

The fact that there’s this entrenched, irrational belief in the media by papers like the Oregonian that somewhere out there are transformative, middle-of-the-road, moderate Republicans capable of waiving some magical wand that enacts policies that are business friendly, anti-tax, and will somehow still leave enough money for schools, infrastructure, and a social safety net, is maddening—it’s a big reason why we’re in so much trouble as a nation. I’ll say it again: “moderate” Republicans exist no more than leprechauns or unicorns.

It’s also, I would submit, why newspapers are in so much trouble. Yes, young people aren’t reading as much. And yes, newspapers have to compete with the internet. But that doesn’t mean people don’t want to know what’s going on in their communities, in their state, in their nation.

We do! But we don’t want to be propagandized with a bunch of bullshit nonsense pushing the same failed conservative politicians, pundits, and policies they’ve been trying to sell us for years. We aren’t 80-year-old hypocrites who watch Fox News and complain about socialism, while having Medicare pay for our weekly doctor’s visits and collecting checks from Social Security.

THIS IS PORTLAND.

Figure it out.

About The Author: Jay Scott

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