I'll give Michael Davis, executive editor of the Salem Statesman Journal, credit for this: he stimulated a lot of online comment discussion by writing his decidedly weird "Oregon's fatal case of the Pulitzer pox."
As I said in the title of yesterday's post concerning Davis' rant about the Portland Oregonian editorializing in favor of Governor Kitzhaber resigning (which the Guv has done), Statesman Journal executive editor has some Oregonian envy.
At the moment there are 77 reader comments on this opinion piece.
Quite a few praised Davis for taking the Oregonian's editorial board to task in calling for Kitzhaber to resign before investigations into possible wrongdoing by he and his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, had concluded.
However, a lot of comments echoed my feeling -- that the Statesman Journal failed to do any original investigative reporting of its own on this scandal, so it shouldn't be criticizing the Pulitzer Prize-winning Oregonian for kicking the SJ's butt both in the news and editorial sections.
Below is a selection of comments that resonated with me. Naturally, one is my own. I particularly liked the first one (a combination of two separate comments submitted by Mulrooney).
It is indeed strange that Michael Davis felt the need to editorialize that another newspaper's editorializing was inappropriate. Isn't the purpose of opinion pages to express opinions? Are we supposed to only read one paper's editorial page, because it has a godly sense of What Truly Should Be?
The Oregonian editors opined that Kitzhaber should resign. Nobody was forced to agree with them. But almost instantly, the Democratic leaders in the Oregon legislature agreed with the generally right-leaning Oregonian editorial board.
Sure seems to show that the Oregonian was more correct in its assessment of Kitzhaber than the Statesman Journal was.
Here's the reader comments that I liked:
Your position is that The Oregonian made an editorial charge too soon and they did that because they had won a Pulitzer before? So what should they have done instead? I mean, it looks like they were right. They have gone out on a limb to declare their position before a legal proceeding. While I'll stop short of calling that brave, I will use the outcome to determine how credible I believe they are in the future.
As a reader of both publications, what exactly should I do with your information? That's not a rhetorical question. Should I trust you more than The Oregonian?
I feel like I'm going to be ok. Thanks for trying to save me from joining a cult.
It looks like executive editor Michael Davis has some Oregonian envy. As I said in a blog post today, the Statesman Journal got its journalistic butt kicked on the Kitzhaber/Hayes scandal by the Oregonian and Willamette Week.
Even though the SJ is right next to Oregon's capitol, it didn't do any original investigative reporting on this important story. And now Davis is taking the Oregonian to task for its superior news and editorial work. Huh?
As a Democrat I'm disappointed in Kitzhaber's resignation.
However, if what he and Hayes did had been done by a Republican governor and his fiancee, I'd be calling for exactly the in-depth investigative reporting and editorializing that the Oregonian did, and the Statesman Journal passed on.
The big problem here isn't the Oregonian. It is the Statesman Journal's abdication of its journalistic responsibility to hold public officials accountable. I personally experienced this when Davis killed a story that had been written by a SJ investigative reporter about misdeeds by City of Salem officials involving downtown tree removals.
That was shameful. So is this opinion piece, since it criticizes the Oregonian for being better at journalism than the Statesman Journal is.
News flash Mr. Davis the people want news and facts about their elected officials. Nothing written by WW or the Oregonian was untrue.
If you ever wonder why you are losing money and not winning Pulitzer prizes it is because you are afraid of your corporate livelihood.
Woodward and Bernstein were just hacks to you right?
For the record I am glad they both resigned in shame.
And it wasn't just the Oregonian calling for his resignation. I believe there were six other papers doing the same thing, and I don't see Michael Davis skewering them for their troubles. Kitzhaber broke his trust with the Oregonian people and undermined his ability to get the job done by A) knowingly turning a blind eye to his shack-up queen's shady dealings and B) helping to cover them up, as the investigation will no doubt reveal.
All in all, this whole article reads like a journalistic temper tantrum by an executive editor who is suffering from a bout of jealousy at getting beaten to the punch on the governor. better luck next time, Michael.
The defenses of "Kitz" from Democrats today are eerily reminiscent of the Republican excuses for Nixon back then. I'm embarrassed for the writer of this very, VERY odd editorial, and for Oregon's knee-jerk Democrats.