So apparently Oregon Attorney General John Kroger released a report this week that concludes “there is insufficient evidence to charge, let alone convict, [Mayor Sam] Adams of illegal sexual contact with a minor” (page 13).
Sounds pretty conclusive, right?
But wait! Some failed Portland City Council candidate with no legal training says in Thursday’s Oregonian that “insufficient evidence is a long way from being cleared of any legal wrongdoing”. Apparently, since the report does not explicitly state that “Sam Adams did not fuck that minor, has never fucked a minor, and will never, ever fuck a minor in the future,” then we should continue to write opinion pieces muddling the issue.
Sam Adams lied. That is clear, and he admitted it. But there is nothing illegal about lying; it just makes you an asshole. And after meeting Adams a few times, I think he might just be an asshole. But the more important issue here is that an even bigger asshole, one Mr. Dave Lister, gets a quarter page of space in Oregon’s largest newspaper to act like he knows something that our elected Attorney General doesn’t, even though he receives all his information from the Attorney General’s own report.
This is why newspapers are increasingly irrelevant. Reporters and editors at large papers cling to a standard of “objectivity” that demands giving both sides an equal voice as long as both sides are yelling loudly. The Oregonian editors do not see think it is important to point out that the Attorney General's report addresses all of the issues brought up by Mr. Lister, or that he provides no evidence to back up his insinuation of legal wrongdoing on Adams’ part.
No, what’s important to the Oregonian is that Lister is a conservative-ish guy, so he should get to scrawl his idiocy in thousands of newspapers because there is an opinion piece above him on the page arguing for universal health care. That is a liberal-ish piece, so it’s only fair and balanced to publish whatever Lister may have been yelling about on Thursday below that. If the top half of that particular page of the newspaper is liberal, then the bottom better be conservative or your newspaper is going to be so very biased.
I think it’s fair to assume that people that have subscriptions to newspapers are a bit more educated and informed than non-subscribers on average, and I think those consumers of news are no longer satisfied by the product that is produced by the conventional notion of journalistic “objectivity”. A piece like Lister's is manipulative and condescending, and I think that many people see and feel that as they read it. So they’ve started getting their news on the internet from people that will say “Hey, that Dave Lister guy sounds like a pretty big asshole”. And so it goes.