Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oregonian's Mapes Shows His Political Snark/Bias

Jeff Mapes on Governor Mitt Romney and Republican electoral chances in Oregon:
"Of course, it's safe to say that Oregon won't be much of a player in the Republican presidential race in 2012. Besides our primary being late in the season, we're not much of a target for the GOP in presidential races. The Republicans, remember, have not won the state's electoral votes since 1984."
Hmm. 1984. The same period of time that Republicans have gone without winning the governorship, and just lost a squeaker last month.

Are Oregon's electoral votes really so out-of-reach for Republicans? According to Mapes it's like a pipe dream despite the excellent Republican showing in gaining back equality in the Oregon House, almost doing it in the Senate and, as noted, almost doing it with Chris Dudley in the governor's race.

Mapes also dismisses with a snort, but no evidence, Romney's contention that years long unemployment benefits "serve to discourage some individuals from taking jobs".
"Romney's argument is that providing extentions for the current unemployment system (which was part of the Obama tax deal) just exacerbates unemployment. Writes Romney:

"'In this, as in so many other arenas of government policy, unemployment insurance has many unintended effects. The indisputable fact is that unemployment benefits, despite a web of regulations, actually serve to discourage some individuals from taking jobs, especially when the benefits extend across years.'

"I doubt this is an idea that will get political traction in Oregon, where our unemployment rate has hovered between 10.5 and 10.7 percent for the last 13 months. And I haven't heard anyone in elected office here suggesting that our problem is an overly generous unemployment insurance program."
Romney says it is "indisputable fact". Mapes does not refer to contrary research or facts other than that he doesn't know of an elected official in Oregon pointing to "overly generous" unemployment insurance as a reason for Oregon's high unemployment rate.

Of course, Mapes fails to note that Oregon elected officials have not been able to pinpoint why 43 other states are doing better than Oregon in getting people employed. And Mapes himself doesn't offer any analysis on the subject or even point to analysis by others on the subject.

Anecdotal evidence is neither "indisputable" nor compelling research, but I personally know people who didn't even look at jobs outside their profession and were unemployed for over a year precisely because unemployment benefits cushioned the need to get work. And these are go-getter types who really searched hard in their employment field.

A businessman I know has been hiring during these last two years. He says that at the beginning of the huge rise in unemployment all sorts of people, including professionals, were vying for job positions at his plant. Now, people turn away saying that they can make almost as much on unemployment.

Have extended employment benefits helped keep unemployment up? Yes. Are they the main cause of Oregon's unemployment. No. But, they are a factor.

Compare this snarky treatment of Romney's position, with Mapes' sweet treatment less than ten days ago of Oregon Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum's about face on the selfishness of asking for a recount.
"Rosenbaum last week said she "was disappointed" that Republicans were seeking a recount of another close Senate race, the 275-vote victory by Sen. Alan Bates, D-Ashland, over Republican Dave Dotterrer in Jackson County. She said it would "distract our leaders from the real job at hand" of getting the economy back on track and helping Oregon families."
Though Mapes links to the Statesman-Journal's account of Rosenbaum's statement, his "disappointed" and "distract" quotations don't really give the sarcastic, attacking flavor of Rosenbaum's original comments:
"'While the Senate Republicans are entitled to pay for a recount, their premature request for a recount is disappointing news. They are ignoring both the process and the facts,' said Sen. Diane Rosenbaum of Portland in a statement.

"'First, the secretary of state has not finished her normal certification process for the election. Additionally, the secretary of state has repeatedly and clearly explained how every eligible ballot is counted. The decision by the Senate Republicans today shows they have decided to ignore those facts.'

"'With so many pressing issues facing the state, it's disappointing that the Republicans have decided to demand a recount. This activity will distract our state's leaders from the real job at hand: getting our economy back on track and helping Oregon's families.'"
[emphasis added]
Instead of taking Rosenbaum to task on why Democrat calls for a recount aren't also "premature", don't also "ignore" the process and the secretary of state's "facts", and won't also "distract" from "getting our economy back on track", Mapes writes this:
"Rosenbaum on Monday countered that "we're addressing it in a different way" by asking for only a count of three precincts to ensure there weren't any voting irregularities.

"She argued that the Clackamas County has had controversy this year regarding the handling of elections, and she noted that the race was the closest state Senate contest in Oregon. But she said she couldn't say for sure if Democrats would be seeking the partial recount if Republicans were not challenging Bates' victory."
No snark, no criticism of Democrat Rosenbaum on a clearly hypocritical action in view of her previous statement.

But, Mapes has no problem with sarcasm on Romney's position.

The interesting thing is that Mapes' bias is so ingrained (and in step with group think at the Oregonian) that he doesn't see the violation of journalistic fairness and accuracy. Sneering at Romney is okay. Sneering at Rosenbaum not so much.

No comments: