Here We Go Again: Another Political Whitewash

Tuesday’s edition of the Oregonian carried a front page story entitled, “Progress is Complicated.” It is best summarized as an attempt to gloss over Mayor Sam Adams’ sexual relations with a teenager during his mayoral campaign and subsequent cover up. While acknowledging the misdeeds, the tone of the Oregonian article is complimentary and portrays Adams as an earnest politician pursuing an agenda of which the Oregonian approves wholeheartedly.

The timing of the article is not coincidental. The report on Attorney General John Kroger’s long awaited investigation into Adam’s conduct and cover-up is due any day now.

In my November 27, 2007, column, regarding the investigation of Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s knowledge of the repeated rape by former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt of a fourteen year old girl, I noted:

“Is anyone surprised that the Oregon State Bar ducked on the complaint that Gov. Kulongoski lied about whether he knew of former Gov. Goldschmidt’s nefarious conduct? Neither was I.

“We got our first clue when the Oregonian published a story on the pending ethics complaint against Gov. Ted Kulongoski with a headline that states, “No Evidence to Show Governor Lied”. As the unofficial voice of Oregon’s ruling elite, it was necessary to set the tone for what was to come.”

It should be embarrassing for the Oregonian and the people of Portland to have to endure what has become a national joke regarding the unfortunate juxtaposition of the name of a popular beer and Portland’s disgraced mayor. But it is also so predictable. My previous column noted:

“It’s no different than with the original story about former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt.

“When Goldschmidt resigned his position as head of the Board of Higher Education to avoid the looming scandal of his repeated rape of a fourteen year old girl, the Oregonian dutifully reported Goldschmidt’s press release saying that he had resigned for “health” reasons. The Oregonian did this in spite of having access to the exact same information on Goldschmidt as did Willamette Week which later that same day broke its Pulitzer Prize winning story detailing the sordid conduct of Goldschmidt over an extended period of time as well as his efforts to cover his tracks by making payments to his victim. It was only after Willamette Week broke the story on its web page that the Oregonian finally scrapped Goldschmidt’s press release and coughed up the actual story.

“In the aftermath it appears that the Oregonian had information that could have led to the exposure of Goldschmidt years prior to the Willamette Week story and chose not to pursue it. So it should come as no surprise that the Oregonian published a story on the pending ethics complaint against Gov. Ted Kulongoski with a headline that states, “No Evidence to Show Governor Lied”. Or that it followed its headline with this stunning conclusion: “No one has been able to provide direct evidence that Kulongoski lied about what he heard about Goldschmidt.”

In that instance, the Oregonian’s story preceded the release of the State Bar of Oregon’s dismissal of the ethics complaint against Kulongoski despite the sworn testimony of Fred Leonhardt that he had discussed Goldschmidt’s rape and cover-up with Kulongoski on several occasions. Instead of exercising its journalistic independence, the Oregonian appears to have elected to be the press agent for Oregon’s governing elites.

All of this follows a predictable pattern. The Oregonian publishes a laudatory article regarding the latest miscreant from the liberal establishment. Several local politicians are called in to give testament to the politician’s earnestness and accomplishments. A college professor is cited as saying one’s accomplishment (by this they mean pursuit of the liberal agenda) should be weighed before condemning their misconduct. And finally, all agree that the key to final rehabilitation is the findings of the Attorney General or some other supposed guardian of the public’s interest.

And so who among you think that the outcome will be any different with regard to Attorney General John Kroger’s upcoming report? Like Hardy Myers before him, Kroger is a “made man” in Oregon’s Democrat establishment. He is a favorite of the public employees unions, which ensured his nomination and election over the more independent minded Greg MacPherson. He is well positioned for higher office and he, like most other senior Democrats, have learned that the most important thing for future success is to not rock the boat with regard to other members of the Democrat establishment.

And for Jason Wurster, the Portland liberal leading the Adam’s recall effort, the combination of newspaper articles suggesting that the recall effort has been pre-empted by conservatives and the forth coming attorney general’s report ought to drive a stake through the heart of a legitimate recall effort.

But it is politics as usual in liberal Portland — what else did you expect?