Monday, August 24, 2009

It IS shenanigans!

The second favorite word in the handbook of Daily Astorian typesetters, right behind "grassroots" as many can attest, is shenanigans. Everyone, according to the paper, is up to shenanigans, and the word must be used in a minimum of a half dozen stories a day.

It is a convenient word, since to most it just means "up to something" and after all, isn't everyone "up to something"? Doesn't news sell better if the reader gets the inside on what those "shenanigans" are? Does it matter to anyone that the shenanigans usually end up being nothing? Is there a breaking point when people say, "enough" and is the paper prodding until that point is found?

Amusingly, earlier this summer the self-righteous editor of the paper wrote an editorial criticizing people who turn to blogs for their news. According to Webb, bloggers don't have fact checkers, such as himself, to hold accountable for the content of what they publish.

Hold themselves accountable? Fact checker? Shenanigans!!! Does he recall that word? A word that his reporter, in his newspaper, supposedly quoted one Eric Schmidt of saying in reference to our board of county commissioners. A word Eric Schmidt, with the Association of Oregon Counties, vehemently denied using and which the Daily Astorian, finally and with great reluctance, buried a retraction deep on a back page. Maybe those aren't the kind of "facts" Webb bothers himself with.

Does his boss do any better? According to a port commissioner Forrester supposedly found out, through his reliable sources and connections, that NOAA would never leave Seattle and that the port should quit throwing good money down the drain chasing a pipe dream.

Relying on the newspaperman's expertise for digging up the "truth" doing his homework and all his "fact checking" CEDR recommended to the port to back off going after the NOAA contract. After sinking $35,000 or so in consultant fees to get the project off the ground the port dropped the idea of bringing the NOAA fleet to Astoria, how can you fight with reason? If NOAA will never leave the taxpayer is going to be plenty pissed at seeing all that money spent.

And then the contract goes to Newport! Opportunity sails right past the mouth of the Columbia River, once again. Now where's the shout of SHENANIGANS? Oh the paper shouts it! Shenanigans, look over there! It was the county board that lost the NOAA deal, and mostly just the commissioners who are looking at a recall. Shenanigans! Look over there at NOHA and lets blame that on a commissioner! Shenanigans! One of the commissioners is challenging the petitioners on her recall. Oh, damn, they can only get a picture of her sitting on a bench and talking to people when they come up to her.

BUT WHERE'S THE REAL SHENANIGANS??? Where's the headlines of SHENANIGANS when a newspaper editor and publisher lies to keep a fleet out of the town, in fear that it might bring in another daily paper? Where's the headlines of SHENANIGANS when the same man continues to lie to his readers to keep out any industry that may allow the area to grow and prosper?

Can one man be so petty and small to keep a region destitute solely so he can maintain his own sense power? Maybe, for once, his shenanigans have gone too far and given the choice of his paper of lies or no paper at all people will choose: no news is good news.