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.
You have also gone out on a limb to declare that The Oregonian was blinded by accolades and had they not been, the editorial board would have gotten the story right.
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?
Also, if your beef is not with the reporting but with the opinions (I assume you are talking about editorial articles) I would be surprised to hear that more people find the editorial articles more trustworthy than the reporting. If you are trying to warn us against putting too much faith in articles that are allowed to use flowery and potentiality convincing words, then I don't know what you want me to do with your editorial.
If you are implying that we are being tricked in any fashion, I would genuinely like that to be cited and referenced. But if this is anything that smacks of "God dangit! Why are readers believing The Oregonian? I bet it's those Pulitzer Prizes." I can tell you that it never entered my mind to use that notion. I didn't even know they had any until you wrote about that.
I feel like I'm going to be ok. Thanks for trying to save me from joining a cult.
The governor had a choice: he didn't have to resign. He make that choice himself. If he was innocent of wrongdoing, he should have stated such, and not resigned. He's made no effort to even try some type of explanation. I for one, still wonder if he's having some medical issue, possibly age or stress related. He could have taken a leave of absence. In my opinion, I think he knows how the game is going to play out. I also think that Ms. Hayes was allowed to much power without oversight. Those are MY opinions. I do wonder why the SJ felt they had to lash out at the Oregonian, instead of reporting any "new" news from here in Salem. Apparently no staff here picked up on any issues. Perhaps that's because the staff has been cut so bare that we aren't really getting news here in town. Often I will find out about police activity from Portland stations way before anything is available here in town. That is a little bit nuts.
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.
The combination of sour grapes and partisan defensiveness is really, really strange. Someone needs to distribute this editorial in abnormal psychology classes for analysis.
So Michael Davis has egg on his face for not employing investigative journalists and suggests that a rival paper should be so incompetent.
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?
Using Mr. Davis' logic, then he should have included former President Nixon and former Senator Packwood as victims of an over zealous press. After all, they resigned from office without being convicted. But they both suffered from the same disease: republican.
For the record I am glad they both resigned in shame.
Unbelievable BS. Pulitzer Envy is more what it is! Do your job and start Investigating.
How nice. A Saturday morning quarter back editorial supporting the disgraced soon to be former governor. What moral courage the Statesman Journal has. Where was your editorial board last week urging the Governor's retention? Why did you wait until after he resigned to show your support?
Michael Davis must be competing with Dick Hughes for the spot of apologist-in-chief for the soon-to-be ex-governor. basically, he's putting all the blame for Kitzhaber's resignation on the newspapers that broke this mess wide open and dared to ask, not demand, that the governor resign because of it while coming within an inch of absolving Kitzhaber of any wrongdoing.
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.
And I'm not saying this without cause to do so. Already both the state and the feds have found sufficient evidence to open investigations into the both of them, something that neither the state AG nor the FBI does lightly.
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.
Michael Davis's editorial makes as much sense as the rest of the Statesman Journal. While blaming the media is its own cottage industry, it is inaccurate here. I am certainly no fan of The Oregonian, but it, and Willamette Week did their jobs. They didn't fabricate the scandals, but uncovered them. The improprieties--from Cylvia Hayes to demanding emails be destroyed --needed to be exposed. Blaming the media for Governor Kitzhaber's downfall is like blaming Woodward and Bernstein for Richard Nixon's eventual resignation. I voted for the governor and I feel really bad about what has happened. But, please-- don't make the media the fall-guy. Maybe Mr. Davis should stick to holding court at that dairy restaurant and leave the journalism business to those that know what their jobs are all about. As it is--and I've said this before--the Statesman Journal is a pathetic newspaper. Between "The Home Page," "The Daily Download" and so on, there is precious little news actually in the paper. If I wasn't such a Luddite, I'd cancel my subscription...
Holy smokes, what a weird editorial, and I'm not talking about the lighthearted "Portland Weird" kind of weird. By the way, you publish your newspaper in Salem, correct? What reporting, if any, did your publication do about the open peddling of influence in Kitzhaber's administration? Any at all? Inquirin' minds want to know, or at least this one does.
And remember what newspaper plant prints the SJ. The SJ like all the other papers didn't want to look. It took an alternative weekly to bring this all to light.
I grew up during the Watergate era. I remember skipping some classes at a summer program in 1973 to watch the hearings. It couldn't have been more obvious that Nixon was a crook, just as it couldn't be more obvious that Kitzhaber is a crook.
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.
77 comments? Compare that number to the amount of comments regularly posted on Oregonlive.
Yet another reason why the Statesman Urinal sucks; their comment posting rules.
I do not have, nor will ever have a FaceSpace or MyBook account.
Homey don't play dat!
So I can't post.
I opened up a bee hive the other day that had gone hopelessly queenless and was dwindling fast. To the remaining colony I said, "Oh, you're dead and just don't know it yet."
Sound familiar? Same analysis for the few remaining shards of the Urinal.
Posted by: Harry Vanderpool | February 17, 2015 at 09:42 AM