Thursday, January 28, 2010

My local newspaper and *shudder* politics

Is it blasphemous to say that Chopin is almost as good as chocolate? And that practicing my Chopin piece might even be slightly better than chocolate, since it isn't even fattening?

But of course that doesn't have anything to do with newspapers. Neither does what I'm about to say next.

I'm staying home today, which means that I'm missing school, work, and my piano lesson. This isn't so good, but it's better than throwing up at school again. It also means that I have more free time to rest (which is good because I have not had enough sleep this week) and that I have more time to do homework.

Now, onto newspaper and *shudder* political stuff!

The newspaper my family has subscribed to for virtually my whole life is The Oregonian. We haven't always appreciated everything they've done, such as when they misquoted a friend of ours years ago whose daughter had gotten beaten up at school (she was very angry but The Oregonian reported her as saying that she wasn't), but we've never canceled our subscription due to disapproval. Until now. Or earlier this week, to be more precise. I was just too busy to blog about it until now.

Here in Oregon we voted on a couple of tax laws this week which, simply put, will take money from people and corporations with big purses to benefit schools. Basically, taking from the rich and giving to the poor. The tax was something that the Democrats had put together, but that the Republicans didn't like and insisted that the people had to vote on it. So they wasted a bunch of money on a campaign supposedly in the name of saving money. (I think you can guess my stance on this issue.)

For several days before the voting day the Republicans bought a HUGE ad and put it on the front page of The Oregonian. The first day it looked like it was part of the news, and you had to look very closely to find the little words that said PAID ADVERTISING. Tall One put one of these in the fireplace, and I've shared a photo of that here so that you can see exactly what it is I'm talking about. Yes, that whole thing is the ad, and it was wrapped around the first section of the paper.

After three days of this mom canceled our subscription to The Oregonian and wrote to customer service telling them that she had canceled because in her opinion political ads don't belong on the front page of the paper, especially not when they look like news. The following day the editorial page of The Oregonian said that the editors had not received complaints about the front page ad and in fact they had received a lot of positive feedback about it.

Maybe that was technically true. Maybe. After all, my mom wrote customer service and not the editors. But since the editors felt that they had to defend themselves I'm sure that my mom was just one of many who expressed disapproval, and I would be quite surprised if no one wrote the editors directly to make their complaints known. Yes, I'll say it outright: I have no proof, but I suspect that The Oregonian is lying.

Oh, The Oregonian also defended their actions by saying that the Democrats hadn't tried to buy that space. That doesn't seem like a very good argument to me.

And all this means that I no longer get to read the funnies over breakfast or while sitting in the comfy chair in the evening! I've been doing that for years, and it's weird to have to turn to the computer to get my comics now.


I haven't really talked politics here before, so I'd like to add that even though I'm usually for the Democrats I'm really more for individuals than for the party. In fact, I wasn't even a registered Democrat until I had to register if I wanted a say in whether it was Obama or Clinton who would be the Democratic candidate for the last presidential election. Who knows, I might become a registered Republican for similar reasons in a few years! lol Not likely I think, but you never know.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I agree with your Mom. An ad placed like that is deceptive because it looks like the newspaper is endorsing a particular side of the debate. The paper definitely compromised its appearance of impartiality by publishing that ad without having a large and clear disclaimer at the top of the page that it was a paid advertisement. I hope lots of people cancel their subscriptions because of it.

Sarita said...

I don't know how many people canceled. The paper would have us believe that everyone liked it.

Maybe I should ask around...hmm...

Lyon said...

I don't blame you guys for canceling your subscription because that is pretty foul practice I think. Regardless of which party it represents because you're right, news should be news and not advertising being misrepresented as such.

I hope you're feeling better, btw!

Sarita said...

I'm beginning to feel better.

By the way, one of my mom's coworkers knows four other people who've canceled their subscription, and one of them definitely wrote to the editors. So yeah, the editors of the paper lied.

Did they really think that people wouldn't start comparing notes about who wrote in and who canceled their subscription?