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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Donkey Town

Lots of reasons to call Portland "Donkey Town" (in a deliberately pejorative sense). The Oregonian and its lead PERS donkey, Betsy Hammond, really do suffer from an incredible bias, which is shown every time Ms. Hammond writes anything about PERS. Compare the Oregonian headline (from today's edition) "Schools' 2007-08 rates for PERS at record high", with the Salem Statesman Journal's headline for the identical subject "Lower PERS rates mean most public agencies will see savings". Ms. Hammond always focuses on the "half empty" glass, while others seem to see the "half-full". Now, just to prove that it isn't just the headline that is biased, consider a couple of internal quotes in the Oregonian article: "This is great news", quoting Mike Pittman, PERS Board chair, and "Overall, those two developments [huge returns, court upheld reforms] mean that state, local school districts and local governments are saving a collective $600 million or more per year...", and finally "Portland Public Schools will pay almost nothing in retirement costs apart from debt payments it must make on pension bonds it sold". I'm having a hard time reconciling the unfathomly biased headline with the actual news reported. Of course, Ms. Hammond manages to find a way to stick the knife in yet again - as if she has some sort of weird defect that causes her to repeat this same fact again and again regardless of the context - that *some* (about 4.5% of ALL) retirees from 2000 - 2004 managed to retire at more than their pre-retirement income. News flash to Betsy: "no shit Sherlock. Your investigative reporter skills are just awesome, dudette!".

Oh well, we really can't expect much better from the Oregonian. With few exceptions, their reporters repeatedly demonstrate that the concept of "journalistic bias" is axiomatic. No wonder the common nicknames for the Oregonian are the BOregonian and, better still, the WHOregonian. Richly deserved for Donkey Town's asinine "newspaper".

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