by Rep. Mike Nearman
We’re going to play a little game show here called “Detect that Bias”. The way it works, is that I get an enquiry from Oregonian reporter Dana Tims, asking me the following:
- Have you endorsed or will you endorse Donald Trump?
- If not, whom are you voting for instead?
To me, this looks like it might be a biased, “gotcha” hit-job, so I asked back:
Hi, I have a response prepared for your questions, but first, I have a couple of simple questions for you:
- Are you asking the same of the Oregon Democratic Candidates?
- I looked you up in the voter file and it looks like you are registered as a Democrat. Can you explain to me why I would expect to be treated fairly by you?
I think that the Oregonian, arguably, has as much influence over public policy as I do, so I think it’s necessary that they be held accountable from time to time, especially when it comes to their journalistic practices. To his credit, he responded to the first question:
“…at this point, no, we aren’t asking the same of Democratic candidates. By any reasonable measure, we are seeing profound differences in the way the respective parties are viewing their presidential nominees. Some percentage of Sanders’ supporters will not endorse Clinton, but this is nothing like the wholesale rebellion on the Republican side (letters from scores of prominent Republicans, for instance, urging their party to drop its candidate). “
You’ll notice that he backs up his answer with the phrase “By any reasonable measure”, so that anyone who disagrees with him (as I do – I think there is a huge rift in the Democratic Party with Bernie vs. Hillary supporters) is “unreasonable”.
On the second question, he responds:
“In my nearly 40 years covering news in Oregon — including the timber wars of the 1980s and 90s, fishing struggles, land-use conflicts, legislative and related political battles — I’ve never once had anyone cite a single story I’ve written as showing even an ounce of personal bias. I have never given a dime to any political cause, posted a lawn sign or affixed a bumper sticker. The day I do is the last day I will work as a journalist.”
I sent him my response (hint: I’m voting for Trump – read it all in the Oregonian), but couldn’t resist asking him:
“Whom are you voting for in November?”
To which, he responds:
“No comment on my vote — between me and the ballot box. However, I will be covering state government and look forward to working with you. If you ever detect bias in any of my stories, well, you have my cell number.”
“By the way, I was asked to pursue this story and along these lines. Not this foot soldier’s call…”
So, let’s get this straight. Republicans get asked whom they are voting for, but not Democrats, and when asked, members of the media, registered as Democrats, and claiming not “even an ounce of political bias” need not answer the question.
Now is the part of Detect that Bias where the audience is invited to participate. I have Dana Tims’ cell phone number. Send me examples of his bias and I will be happy to forward them to him. On to the bonus round.