Our local media mandarins know a lot more than they're telling us.
As we have noted before, members of the journalism class don’t like talking about something called…
It’s the power granted to journalists to define what’s “news.” It’s the power to “play” stories on the front page or high on a web site, or bury stuff deeper than the average reader’s attention span. It’s who gets interviewed, and whether the interviewee gets puff-balls or nasty “have you stopped beating your wife” zingers.
That power may be slipping away in the age of Substack, but it’s still real. Especially in sleepy Portland.
Local media has been virtually ignoring Rene Gonzalez; gave him a one-day quicky when the members of the Fire Bureau endorsed him over their boss, Jo Ann Hardesty; but then gave major coverage to Gonzalez getting a knock-off on his office space from the Schnitzer family…a twofer, in the eyes of some news editors. (One could write a book about the odd relationship between the Schnitzers and local power players.)
As we wrote yesterday, local media promptly memory-holed the Adan murder, after the story threatened to lurch out of control and start goring sacred cows.
The “frame” offers editors a chance to position stories to their presuppositions, biases, political fantasies, and—occasionally—sense of revenge.
Consider these two headlines:
Oregon students’ reading, writing and math skills plummeted amid pandemic, first scores since 2019 show
Portland school leaders say big gaps based on race and ethnicity signify an ‘urgent call to action’
The former is from the Oregonian, the latter (you will not be surprised) from Oregon Public Broadcasting…and they were reporting the same thing.
The Frame strikes again!
Which brings us to Covid…remember that?
It kept local media hyperventilating for two years…Killer virus from Hell (but not Wuhan, although on second thought…)! Everyone will die! Masks for everyone! Lockdown! Saved by shots! Let’s give ‘em to the kiddies!
For two years (and counting) the stories, if you bothered to figure out the obvious rewrites of Oregon Health Authority PR releases, were as gray and featureless as a Soviet edition of Pravda, and just as much a product of a one-party state.
Let’s take a look at those dueling stories mentioned above. OPB’s Rob Manning could barely break a sweat mentioning…
Test scores are down across Oregon and across the country, compared with results before the COVID-19 pandemic led to shuttered school buildings, staffing shortages and long periods of students learning from home.
Overall, Portland’s declines were not as sharp as the state as a whole.
…before relapsing into standard-issue racial boo-hoo about Portland Public Schools’ decades of not moving the minority-learning needle.
But rest easy folks…
[Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero] said Thursday that district leaders and teachers are already making changes, but the results showed the urgency of moving ahead.
He said the same thing last year, but no one wants to remind him (or us) of that.
Over at the Oregonian, the Covid fear-mongers got their mojo back in Betsy Hammond’s fevered prose…
Oregon students’ reading, writing and math skills plummeted due to pandemic-induced disruptions to schooling, and students who were already trailing far behind grade level experienced the most harm, somber Oregon Department of Education officials announced.
The staggering blows to students’ academic skills, as measured by the first reliable statewide test scores since spring 2019, could take years to repair and may in some cases never be made up for, they acknowledged.
Note the “somber” state officials—hard to believe since they have absolutely no skin in the education game.
See how that Frame-thingy works?
But let’s suppose for a mad moment that there are actual, competent editors in our local newsrooms, who might say…
Gee! I wonder what the state’s so-called epidemiologist (and chief lockdown enthusiast), Dr. Dean Sidelinger, has to say about these statistics? How does he feel about a year’s lockdowns? Got any second thoughts? Would he be so totally sure about his self-proclaimed “epidemiology” next time? Will there be a next time?
Golly! All of the women running for governor were in office during Covidmania…what did they think about the lockdowns at the time?How come none of you stood up and said something like, “Maybe that guy in Florida has a point about not slamming the economy shut?” And don’t you think that loosey-goosey law that gave Guv Kate virtually dictatorial, self-renewing “emergency” powers might need a second look?
Do not hold your breath waiting.
And now we come to the Covid End Game…the latest vaxxes.
OHA is giddy with delight and really, truly thinks the vaccines (with a flu shot along for the ride) ought to be in everyone’s arms, from age 12 and up. Period.
But our local media shot-callers seem to be losing the story line. The new! improved! vaxxes got skimpy little stories (more PR release stenography), with the Tribune weighing in with…
Omicron-targeting COVID-19 boosters: Here's what you should know
…in which reporter Max Egener reported drily that…
New COVID-19 boosters that target the most common omicron strains have arrived in Oregon, and eligible people in the Portland area are now able to schedule appointments to receive shots.
Under the cheerleading headline…
When to get flu shot, COVID-19 booster? Now, and together, experts advise
…the O didn’t even trot out an intern to do an OHA rewrite; instead they reprinted a ho-hummer from The Chicago Tribune.
All those experts! And yet there was not the slightest, itty-bitty hint in any story that there are many other “experts” who are questioning the vaccines, how they are administered, who should (and shouldn’t) get the jabs. Some are actually epidemiologists.
And how about those ever-growing OHA “breakthrough” stats? They’re buried—but not that deep.
Too bad. None of that fits the Frame.
God knows, the stories are out there; how come the well-paid journos around town seem handcuffed?
These just dropped in various easy-to-find venues online…
mRNA Covid shots for kids are dead
Only 325,000 of the 19 million children under 5 are fully vaccinated, not even 2 percent.
…from Alec Berenson…
CDC Oversells the ‘Bivalent’ Covid Shot
The FDA approved it without clinical trials, and there’s reason to doubt it beats the original vaccine.
…from the Wall Street Journal…
More Than 1 Million COVID Vaccine Injuries, Nearly 27,000 Deaths Reported to VAERS, CDC Data Show
…from The Defender…
Prostate cancer death rates tripled during pandemic
…from The London Telegraph…
Serious adverse events of special interest following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination in randomized trials in adults
…from Science Direct…
Before We Push the New Omicron Vaccine, Let’s See The Data
…from Vinay Prasad (Associate Professor, Hematology, Oncology, Health Policy, Epidemiology)…
It’s out there.
But not in local media’s Frame.