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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You Might Die Trying

The Whoregonian's piece on Sunday about PERS managed to antagonize quite a few people - some good, some bad. My personal internets are buzzing with various shards of information about how we might see a variety of groups try to take on the local rag with a concerted information campaign to show how wrong-headed the Oregonian is. While they just "report" the news, they do far more than report. Every article is an editorial, whether they agree or not with that assertion. The headlines are editorials and much of the article's structure may be put together in such a way to lead a reader to the ineluctable conclusion that PERS is a failed enterprise that must go, or be significantly changed. Needless to say, everytime the Oregonian takes a strong stand on PERS, the Legislature inevitably gets into the action. This is why I predict -- this doesn't take a seer or genius to do -- that PERS reform will, yet again, be part of the 2011 Legislature.

In any case, the word I'm hearing is that the unions, the various other organizations that represent PERS members and retirees, PERS itself, might be moving towards a more concerted effort to counter the Oregonian's campaign of dis- and mis-information. I have no idea how, when, or if this will all come together, but if it does, expect it soon because the Oregon's effect is NOW. Unfortunately, the damage is already done, and I hope that efforts to change public opinion don't cause people to die trying. The general populace isn't very smart when it comes to PERS, and the Oregonian dumbs it down so that it is understandable. Unfortunately, that understanding comes at the price of substantial accuracy and versimilitude.

It does my heart good to read that the Oregonian's subscriber base has fallen to its lowest level since before it merged with the Oregon Journal. May this bastion of SI Newhouse finally bite the dust, or be turned over to some people who know not to bite the hands that feed them.

In the meantime, good luck to all those who may be trying to set the record straight. I give you props for trying, but I have low expectations of your chances to succeed in the court of public opinion.

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