Watergate, Journalism and then there is the Columbian

by lewwaters

Boris ColumbianYou might say 1974 was a watermark for the media, Journalism in particular. The diligent investigative journalism of the Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein resulted in the only resignation of a sitting U.S. President as Richard Nixon was forced to resign over the scandal.

I missed much of it as I was stationed overseas in Germany during that time, after completing my tour in Vietnam. But we heard of the relentless pursuit of information on the cover-up and illegal actions of President Nixon. It was clearly a fine example of how dogged determination of scandal by the media could change the course of a country.

With that in mind, I find it peculiar to see Columbian editor Lou Brancaccio leaning on the investigative journalism of Woodward and Bernstein in his Saturday, April 27, 2013 editorial, Of Watergate, awards & stress. I find it so peculiar because the Columbian is anything but serious investigative journalism.

Lou says in his editorial, talking of a documentary he watched on the Watergate Scandal,

“…what Watergate did for so many college students who were looking for a career path:”

“It led them to reporting.”

“The allure of doing good, uncovering evil and holding the government accountable was a magnet for the brightest and the best.”

“That allure still holds true today — just look around The Columbian’s newsroom, for example.”

I’ve met many of their reporters/writers and although I see them as good decent people with talent, they write as if they are restricted in any real investigative efforts towards journalism.

For example, let’s look at the writing of former Columbian reporter Andrea Damewood, who many of us often accused of being a supporter of the CRC light rail project due to many articles in support or lessening serious concerns of citizens and those who have dug deep into documents associated with it.

Since leaving the Columbian for the Willamette Week, she now shows much more freedom to write in exposing many of the same concerns we citizens have had.

Yet, the Columbian retains strong support of it even with Brancaccio recently stating in another editorial,

“There have been so many missteps on this Columbia River Crossing project that if it was entered on ‘Dancing With The Stars,’ it would be voted off before Mike Tyson. It’s just mess after mess. The tomfoolery is epic. Even its most ardent supporters would agree with this. For me, I hold my nose and close my eyes, and say we should move forward.”

Clearly, he sees the many problems surrounding it, but chooses to ignore them and push ahead?

Would Nixon have been forced to resign if Woodward and Bernstein adopted that sort of attitude?

And it doesn’t stop there. Have we forgotten how the paper was relentless to surround former Republican Representative Richard Curtis in scandal and when a similar scandal appeared evident for Democrat Jim Jacks, it was treated with kid gloves and largely passed on since, as Lou stated, “there is no paper trail.”

Woodward and Bernstein did not wait for someone to bring them a paper trail; they dug in and found it, as we would expect a real investigative journalist to do.

Time and again we have seen the paper going after those who stand up for citizens, especially where the CRC is concerned.

Sen. Don Benton has bore the brunt of their vitriol for over 16 years. Recently elected County Commissioner David Madore has also been a target of theirs as they tried desperately to prevent him from being elected, even though he was the people’s choice.

Commissioner Tom Mielke has had the same target on his back from the Columbian while Democrat Jim Moeller largely receive a pass as he sues constituents to invalidate their votes and pushes tax after tax off on a still struggling middle class.

Another example could be the recent election endorsement of rookie Annette Cleveland over experienced legislator Eileen Qutub saying,

“When it comes to experience, Republican Eileen Qutub has the edge, having served in the Oregon Legislature as state representative and state senator in the late 1990s.”

They endorsed rookie Democrat Annette Cleveland, though.

With citizens raising their voices in concern and opposition to the CRC light rail project, uncovering questionable accounting practices, appearances of conflict of interest and the potential of fraud, we see no mention in the Columbian of recent fraud uncovered up north by KING 5 News, presumably because it likely would shed some credence on citizens concerns of the CRC.

What do often see is that citizens taking a stand end up labeled “Hounds of Whinerville,” “Cockroaches,” “Ankle Biters,” BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything)” by Columbian Editorial Page Editor John Laird.

Blogger Kelly Hinton has often be the target of much vitriol by the Columbian as he takes a stand for his principles.

And on and on it goes. Citizens raising legitimate concerns on this CRC are blasted, denigrated, demeaned, ridiculed and ignored by the Columbian’s Lou Brancaccio who now wants us to think he might be comparable to real investigative journalists that brought down a scandalous President.

How can that be when this paper has yet to feature and article on any of the scandals surrounding the current President, who just so happens is a Democrat again.

Brancaccio says in his editorial,

“reporters and all journalists deserve much, much more. We are extremely fortunate that so many talented folks have remained with us.”

Don’t citizens of Clark County deserve even more from the so-called newspaper of record than continual cover-ups of what is ongoing with the CRC?

I agree they have talented young folks there.

But imagine how those talents are likely being wasted since they are not free to dig deep into the CRC and other matters today.

No Lou, ya’ll ain’t no Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein, that’s for sure.

6 Comments to “Watergate, Journalism and then there is the Columbian”

  1. You can’t believe anything written the Columbian because of their non-existent journalism standards and not caring enough to check facts BEFORE going to print. When you lie as often as they do it’s hard to take anything they print as serious. These folks are just out to create sensational stories to generate ads, they don’t care who or what they the hurt or lie about. How do you know if a habitual liar is for or against anything? The Columbian is a sad pathetic joke that is run by people with almost no ethical standards.

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  2. “… just look around The Columbian’s newsroom, for example.”

    I look around the newsroom and see out-and-out scum. Stephanie Rice, for example. John Laird, for example. And Lou Brancaccio… for example, ordered, as I understand it, to apologize to many of the unfortunates who’ve worked for him and/or are working for him… but not those Brancaccio has lied about or attacked because they’re smart enough to oppose his idiotic, screw-the-community agenda.

    Brancaccio’s ongoing failure to publish ALL of the truth, particularly when that truth conflicts with Brancaccio’s agenda or fringe-left allegiances… like Jim Jacks, who was forced to resign because of his alcohol fueled assaults on female House staffers… that the newspaper published nothing about and made no effort to investigate.

    The democratian’s failures on the CRC are legendary, having abrogated their responsibilities long since to former democratian staffer Andrea Damewood, now working for the Willamette Week… who has displaced the democratian as the publication of record when it comes to the massive corruption and rot of the CRC scam.

    Sure enough, Brancaccio’s additional column of self-flagellation (And aren’t most of them? Really?) was a joke. But then, when reading his tripe, it’s best to consider the source.

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  3. Oh for the days of Paul Harvey! Man it would be nice to be back in an era when people telling the news were real and television was imagination and make believe. No need for reality tv since the news gave it to you straight. No need for “re-edited” history books in school… your parents knew the truth and they’d have “straighten out” the school board for messing around with history. No lawsuit for kissing some kid on the cheek in first grade everyone understood. Evening editions were based on what came out during the day and sold based on the need to be kept informed rather than dumbed down by the press avoiding the facts.
    Education is the single most important ingredient to solving the disparaging differences in class warfare and keeping free men free. The process we are seeing today is an orchestrated attempt to endenture mankind once again.
    Demand facts, demand truth and settle for nothing less than freedom!

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  4. Watergate helped uncover the fact that Jack Anderson owed his Pulitzer Prized winning series in National Reporting to a lie purposefully fed to him by the Nixon Administration. As a syndicated columnist his reporting of American policy decision-making during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, was manipulated by Henry Kissinger. So in a way you can’t blame Lou for thinking that his patty cake get along to come along like CNN News in Baghdad approach to Journalism would win him awards. They asked the tough questions, but not of the people responsible. They asked the tough questions of people like Robert Dean and Larry Patella then poo poo-ed the answer because, the mayor and the Nancy CRC director Boyd and Jim Moeller and a whole host of others said that those two could not possibly know anything. Proving that an ounce of corruption can destroy a pound of cure.

    Keep pounding guys!

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  5. The Columbian is so biased that they no longer know what bias is. While it is a sad commentary on a relatively small paper (claimed circulation of 48,000 less than 1/5 the size of the Oregonian) serving a portion of the 24th largest metropolitan area (“Greater Portland”) in the U.S., it really makes little difference. The type of biased reporting is having less and less impact on readers … as readers are finding less biased news sources and other news sources with “known bias” to get local and national news and commentary.

    Indeed, this blog is one news source that may be biased, but the bias is clearly obvious, known, and intended. (It isn’t the “Clark County Liberal,” after all…)

    Having become tired of supporting biased newspapers (and magazines) that constantly embraced views and policies contrary to my leanings, I decided to stop paying for subscriptions to such media.

    Surprise! I don’t miss ’em. While I recently moved to Vancouver — I don’t subscribe to the Columbian and I pay little attention to them. I do, occasionally follow a link from this (or other) site that leads to an article there … but I make no effort to look for any of their content. (They do mail me their free weekly “North County Times”, which is primarily a “shopper” that as little content of any value aside from some very local controversies involving the school districts, etc.)

    The only way to get a newspaper owner’s attention is to (1) stop subscribing or buying the paper and/or (2) complain to advertisers about the bias of the newspaper and explain that you’re ceasing to subscribe to it and suggest that they reach you with their advertising messages via some other means. Only then, will the newspaper’s managers realize that their bias is financially a loser and they will need to reexamine their editorial policy to increase or even retain their circulation.

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  6. Funny thing about that – we let our Oregonian subscription go a few months back, and don’t miss it either. We no longer get any paper at all. Our cats miss them tho 😉

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