Monday, February 16, 2015

Ouch. That's going to leave a mark. (Part 2)

The Statesman-Journal joins GoLocalPDX by turning up their noses at the award-trolling efforts of Oregon's former newspaper of record:
What's Pulitzer pox, you ask? It's a swelling of the cranium following the awarding of journalism's top prize. When you are overcome by it, Pulitzer pox creates an insatiable craving for more awards.

To the trained eye, Pulitzer pox symptoms are easy to spot. The early stages produce ecstasy, euphoria and a thirst for champagne.

But in the weeks that follow, all the accolades make the swelling worse, compromising judgment and, in unfortunate cases, delusions of grandeur, high fever and delirium.

The Oregonian won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 2014. Apparently, they developed no immunity and it went right to their heads.

How else to explain the power-mad editorial suggestion on Feb. 4 that the duly elected governor of Oregon accede to their demand and resign?

At the time, Kitzhaber, a popular and trusted public servant who has moved this state forward in innumerable ways, had not been charged with any crime or found by anyone in authority to have crossed any ethical breach.

Nothing about that has changed, yet, after a complete cave-in by the governor's supporters and a media frenzy of O.J. proportions, John Kitzhaber is out of the job he was elected to fulfill.

Long-time readers of The Oregonian can always spot That One Editorial Topic or That One Journalistic Series that sticks out like a sore thumb (remember the headline last summer, ripped from the 1982 film Poltergeist: "THEY'RE HERE" -- aimed to make readers tremble at the thought of otherworldly intruders?) and say to themselves, "Ah, yes, this their time-out for another run at a Pulitzer."

It was a big front page piece on the print Oregonian last summer, but if you can't find "They're Here," on their website, or the rest of the week-long 2014 series hyping the rumors of drug cartels exploiting lax immigration laws by moving into Oregon, the beating heart of their four-day-a-week tabloid makeover, it's not your fault. Unsearchability is something of a tradition at OregonLive, and diverting hapless readers there is part of their business model.

And if you can't find much follow-up about the story after their splashy coverage for a week in late June – well, there's a reason for that, too. The Oregonian really has only a small handful of stories it likes to run with. Workers' rights: Bad. Port of Portland workers' rights: Very bad. Public employees' pensions: Especially bad. Local taxes for any conceivable reason: Also bad. Alternative transportation spending: Ditto.  And, of course, the political indistinguishability of Jeff Merkley and Amanda Wehby as candidates for the US Senate.

Once Pulitzer Week was over, The O went straight back to their comfort zone. And if you were wondering about that 2014 Pulitzer-winning editorial, the one you may not have spotted and likely can't find now, it was part of a series complaining about the cost of workers' pensions. 

Because, you know, it's like the problem with former Oregonian staffers Oregon Media Group employees: Pension promises just make it that much harder to put them out.

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