Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Disappointing News

I’ve been seeing growing discontent with the Daily Astorian. In recent weeks at least two of our local blogs have covered the subject:
North Coast Oregon and Dried Salmon Matters, I love that name ; )

There seems to be a lot of growing concern over the Daily Astorian, be it accusations of character misalignment or just plain looking the other way when someone in the story is loved and respected by the editorial staff. The two main local news reporting arenas are the Daily Astorian and KAST radio.

Hunter S. Thompson coined the phrase “Gonzo Journalism” back in the 70s. Gonzo Journalism is when someone reporting the news becomes a part of the story.

KAST frequently is caught up in a quasi Gonzo state because of the stupid things they do like get a generator from the county so they can continue to broadcast when the power is down and they never test the generator often enough so when they needed it, it didn’t work. Or having a pissing match with the DA around election time (which I particularly enjoyed). Or the pissing match they had with the Sherriff and the County about the generator. Or about the General Manager getting pulled over and flashing an honorary Deputy card. So this is a news media that is placing itself in the news stream.

The Daily Astorian on the other hand under reports things. It never paints any of its friends in a bad light, the District Attorney, for instance. It also doesn’t report on several major things that have happened there in the last five years. Two stories come to mind.

About five years ago two people in this county, one from Knappa and one from Gearhart died of CJD, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The disease was even mentioned in their obituaries, though a search of the Daily Astorian archive will not show it. So what’s the big deal? CJD is the disease one acquires from eating beef with BSE aka mad cow disease. I’m sure the editor knows all about BSE and CJD because his other newspaper, the Capital Press often has articles on it. Even last week there was a new case reported in Alberta. So is the Astorian trying to keep the word down so as not to hurt steak sales at the restaurants who advertise in his paper?

Next, about four years ago there was an outbreak here of the Norwalk and Norwalk-Like Virus Infection aka. Norovirus, which has symptoms of gastroenteritis. There were a few peeps in the paper about ship passengers having this condition, but there was never a mention of the nursing homes and assisted living facilities that went on lock down. Employees who were at work were not allowed to leave, and employees on the outside were not allowed to enter.

People log onto our blogs and forums and accuse us of writing about rumor and hearsay. We are actually on a constant fact finding mission. We rely on people to write in and share what they know. There are things going on here in Dried Salmon County that we want to know about and things we should know about and our local trusted news media has let us down time and time again.

It is the responsibility of the news media to share news. Had I wanted to read something with a slant or something that excluded major events I’d read a trade publication or I’d watch Fox or CNN.


Blogger Jaggy said...

Wow, that's a whole lot of bad journalism. I remember Norwalk virus: I worked in a retirement facility, and I got sick. I have only been more sick once (with meningitis). Oh, not good times.

It's a sad day in a city when the most factual and up-to-date publication is the real estate guide. (Slightly sarcastic, slightly serious)

8:01 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Even when you're aware of the slant (liberal, right-wing, whatever...) of the newspapers available (we have three) you still have to read them with a great deal of skepticism.
It's amazing when you happen to know the "true" facts behind a story and then read about it in the newspaper. Even so-called facts can be manipulated.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Trop said...

I suspect such things happen with many news operations. not-a-Dr Rev Jerry Falwell often gets a pass with our local news. And anything criminal that occurs at Liberty U (Falwell's university), like the time a meth lab was discovered there, is suppressed.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous THartill said...

I had no idea about either one of those stories. Mad Cow is a big deal and most cases seem to end up on the national news.

There are so many possible news stories in the County that could be printed, like the Timber Payments or the dredge issues.

But you are spot on when you say that the local bloggers are just trying to get the facts out in the open and it seems like they have a way of floating to the surface if we harp on the issue enough.

1:47 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Jaggy, those too embelish.

Beth, is it the same in Canada or is the press more trust worthy?

Trop, you've got it much worse than we have. Bummer. BTW folks, Trop lives in a town called East Jesus. No shit, it's true.

Tryan. CJD can have other causes, but it is rare, especially when two cases the same geographical area in the same year. There are more cases in the US than people would believe. The largest event was several people who all ate beef at a race track in New Jersey. A year later they were all gone and that meal was what they all had in common.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the Norwalk virus very well because I came down with it. It was the worst stomach flu I have ever had. A friend who worked at the hospital clued me into what it was I had...and yep, there was one of those "wonderful" cruise ships in port about 10 days before. Safeway was downtown then, and I'm sure I picked it up off a grocery cart--which is why I love Freddies with their alcohol wipes. It was well known within medical circles that they were trying to keep it under wraps for fear of negative publicity for the cruise industry.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Hmm, "In sporadic CJD, the disease appears even though the person has no known risk factors for the disease. This is by far the most common type of CJD and accounts for at least 85 percent of cases."

Hardly a case for getting Chicken Little about CJD and mad cow.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

Remember, the newspapers first published by the rabble-rousing Colonists were NOT large corporate affairs. They were very much like blogs today in that they required very little capital to get out, and that there were no restrictions on them (other than the price on their heads, placed there by the Crown for treason). They wrote what they heard out in town, in meetings, from witnesses. Just because the Daily A won't report on Norwalk, for instance, doesn't mean it ain't so. The cruise ships are seen as a huge economic savior to the area, and ANY advertiser would probably pull their paying ads should the paper bring this nasty little side effect to light. We can't rely on them, and that is sad. But there is another grapevine, and it does reach people.

So keep it up!

10:04 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Anonymous, they were sheltering an industry for sure.

Rich, a CJD case is worth investigation, regardless of the %. A while back some of my friends realized that there seemed to be a higher cancer rate in the population of Knappa. What could it be? Is it in the water over there? Is is something the paper mill is putting in the air?

I intend to Mo3. Can you imagine what a blogger could do with press credentials and a staff?

7:36 AM  

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