‘Detect that Bias’ for Oregonian’s Dana Tims

Rep Mike Nearman_thb

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.

State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) is willing to speak to members of the media who are willing to speak to him. Send ounces of political bias to [email protected]

  • Dick Winningstad

    the news media (in the U.S. and elsewhere) has always been biased. It is only in the last few decades that various news organizations have pretended to be even handed. But that has never been the case.

    • Sasha Good Question

      And who be the Dem insurgents PACing them?

      • Dick Winningstad

        There have always been bias to one side or the other. Though I would say that liberal leaning is the main tilt these days.

        • guest

          Indeed, PERSeers have owl ears bent on byting off any branch you settee upon.

  • Eric Blair

    I don’t think personal political affiliation necessarily results in bias. I would assume, and hope, that Rep. Nearman would not be biased in handling requests from Democrats who live within his district. I also find it telling that Rep. Nearman does not have any evidence on the part of Dana Tims, but is soliciting potential examples.

    I would say, as a Bernie supporter, that the rift between Democrats when it comes to Hillary Clinton is not even close to the rift among Republicans when it comes to Donald Trump. Whatever my, or your, opinion of Ms. Clinton may be, she has been a long time Democrat and has been heavily involved in Democratic politics. The same cannot be said of Mr. Trump and is involvement in Republican politics.

    The majority of resistance to HIllary is not coming from within the Party, nor from a vast majority of Democratic office holders and party brokers.

  • raven6

    I do so love a good intellect. Thank you Rep. Nearman, may I have repost permission?

  • Nathan Dahlin

    We should all ask Mr.Tim if he and his editors will be demanding answers from each of the state Democratic candidates as to whether they will be supporting Measure 97, the stealth sales tax promoted by Kate Brown & their special interest group allies: AFSCME, SEIU, NARAL, OEA, etc.

  • barttels

    C’mon, Republicans supporting or not supporting Trump is and has been a national story. Ted Cruz, anyone, just for starters? It is well within fair journalistic purview to bring the story home. (I would not have asked who you are voting for because ballots are secret for good reason.)

    The “turnabout is fair play” argument just doesn’t hold water at this point. Here is the story Dana Tims and the Oregonian ran:


    Ted Ferrioli gave exactly the answer I would like to see.

    As for Dana Tims, in all my encounters with him on Oregon Live, he was extremely polite and fair minded, just about as much so as they come. And he and I do not share party affiliation.

  • Bob Clark

    The Donald Trump question is something to be handled delicately, for GOP in this very progressive Oregon. I’ve sided with Mr. T as I thought he might be a bit of a kick starter (animal spirits in the business sense) while defending the limits of government, or individualism balanced against collectivism. However, Mr. T is failing to bring such constructive message from his initial bursts of protests against the existing regime of politics in America.

    So, now I am at a point, where I am hoping the two sided coin (HIllary v. Trump) comes up edges when the toss is made on November 8th.

    • barttels

      It’s not going to come up edges. Sorry. I’ll take your money if you want to bet.

  • barttels

    Here’s another piece on exactly the same topic — asking Oregon Republicans about their position on Trump. Lots of different reactions.


    • Bill Post

      My only problem with the Pamplin story is the complete misspellings of most of the names ie:

      Lori Chavez-DeRemer is spelled: Lori Chavez-Deemer

      Treasurer candidate Jeff Gudman is spelled: Jeff Gund

      Ron Noble is spelled: Ron Nobl

      And finally under Bill Post it say’s “Supports Trump”. This is what I wrote in response to their questions:

      So let’s tackle these:

      I am supporting Republicans but I am of course FAR more
      concerned, as I always have even back to my radio show days, with the Oregon
      elections. A Republican presidential nominee has very little chance of
      getting the 7 electoral college votes in Oregon (it’s not happened since 1984)
      yet a Republican could win Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer and of
      course several House seats. That is where my focus is and I hope that is
      where Oregonian’s focus is as that is what will affect them on a daily basis.

      I don’t expect to be invited to any fundraisers, those are
      for big donors not little old State Representatives. I am far too busy
      with my own fundraisers.

      I don’t expect an endorsement as again, he is running for
      President of the United States….but if he personally endorsed me,
      then I’d take that.

      I don’t really care what the RNC does with its funds unless
      of course it would like to dump the millions of dollars at its disposal into
      Oregon House races?

      I will answer the final part with a question of my own that
      I’d LOVE for a newspaper in Oregon to find the answers to:

      1) What
      are Oregon Democratic Candidates stances on Measure 97/IP28? This is the
      largest tax increase proposal in Oregon history….wouldn’t that be FAR more
      important to Oregon voters than who’s voting for what Presidential candidate?

      Thank you
      and I hope that helps!

      • barttels

        I could not agree more that questions about M97 should be paramount.

        I think Hillary Borrud and Paris Aichen are terrific reporters. But when I took journalism classes, at OSU circa early 1980s, name misspellings were an automatic F.

  • Bill Post

    Here’s how I answered Dana:

    Dear Dana,

    I think I’d answer the questions if you can help me with a few of my own:
    1) Are
    you asking the Oregon Democratic Candidates their stance on Measure 97/IP28?
    2) If so,
    can you provide me with the answers given by State Rep. Paul Evans and Susan
    McLain, candidates Janeen Sollman, Janelle Bynum, Ray Lister and Julie Fahey?
    3) I
    noticed in the SOS voter file that you are registered as a Democrat, do you
    think that might have any effect on your story writing?
    4) In 2014, your own newspaper had an open investigation into then Gov. John Kitzhaber and his girlfriend Cylvia Hayes…which at the time wrote that at the least there may have been ethical violations and at the worst legal violations, so then did you ask House Democratic candidates/incumbents if they were voting for/endorsing Gov. Kitzhaber, especially considering he and she were both under
    Let me know.

  • Conservatively Speaking

    Tims to replace him with David Reinhard’s honest appraisals.

  • .

    Tims to make a change. Reinstate Reinhardt.