Monday, October 30, 2006

How's This for Fair?

Steve Mayes of the Oregonian wrote an article on the race between Rep. Darlene Hooley and challenger Mike Erickson. Here's his assessment of the Erickson campaign:

Erickson got some help a few weeks ago from the conservative Economic Freedom Fund, bankrolled by Texas homebuilder Bob Perry. The group, known for its "Swift boat" attack ads in 2004 that distorted John Kerry's military record, started running a pair of powerful anti-Hooley television commercials and mailing several negative fliers. It's unclear how much the effort, which distorts Hooley's positions on national defense and immigration, will sway voters. Those who follow politics closely see Erickson as a strong competitor who might come close but won't beat Hooley.
(emphasis mine)

Not a word of proof from Mayes backing up his “this is a fact” assertion that Erickson’s ads distort. Mayes says it, and it’s so. For him the fact that the ads were made by a group who made anti-Kerry ads in 2004 and is bankrolled by a conservative is sufficient.

Also, not a word from Mayes that Hooley’s ads might also distort.

I noted one distortion just from watching two of the ads. Erickson’s ad said Hooley missed lots of committee meetings. Hooley’s follow up ad said Erickson was lying about her because she attended almost all of her House votes. What she did was smart politicking in changing the issue to one she had a good record on, but it was a distortion of what Erickson's ad said. Apparently Mayes didn’t pick up on that or thought it wasn’t really a distortion of Erickson's criticism of Hooley.

I’m not even going to get into the personal attacks in Hooley’s ads on Erickson’s character. I admit that I have not seen all of Erickson’s ads, but I don’t remember one that attacked Hooley’s personal character--just her positions and congressional job performance.

What's unfortunate is that Mayes obviously thinks he doesn't have to give any proof that Erickson is distorting Hooley's positions. The distortions are so clear to him from his political viewpoint, he thinks its clear to his readers.

This kind of reporting based on personal opinion rather than investigation is part of why the mainstream press has a bad name. It is opinion commentary--not reporting. Masquerading it as reporting is just another indication of why Oregonian subscription rates keep slipping. If you want real news with real evidence, there are better sources.

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