This is not a story about policy or legislation. This is a story about journalism, and the all too cozy relationship between ‘reporters’ and the public officials they’re supposed to hold accountable. It’s been two weeks since Democrat State Senator Ginny Burdick of Oregon was to have held a town hall to answer questions on the current legislative session. As reported locally, Senator Burdick lied about “scheduling conflicts” causing her to cancel this town hall, which has yet to be rescheduled.
A citizen journalist released a video that showed Burdick returning home at the time that the town hall was to have been conducted and staying in all night, not even answering a knock at the door. The next day, I called Burdick’s office to verify her claims of scheduling conflicts, but instead confirmed that she made the whole thing up to avoid her constituents.
Burdick has repeatedly admitted that she fabricated the story to avoid having to face constituents who disagree with her stance on the Second Amendment. Burdick evidently does not fear hard questions from the mainstream media, and is fully comfortable admitting the lie when their cameras show up. It seems obvious that she has no reason to even expect hard questions from her friends in the liberal Portland press.
Meanwhile, a coordinated smear campaign has been waged by blogs, mainstream news outlets and national columnists against the reporter who verified and reported the story. I was famously labeled “the most irrelevant man in Oregon politics” by the progressive blog, Blue Oregon, in a story critical of the original report. Of course, four subsequent stories have been devoted to Mr. Irrelevant by that site – along with a news story in the Oregonian, two columns in the Oregonian (one of which was corrected and then retracted), a hastily assembled editorial board statement in the Oregonian, a report on KATU News that only gave Burdick’s side of the story, a report on KOIN Local 6 News that gave both sides, a hit piece in the New York Times by the rabidly anti-gun Joe Nocera, and (after a claim from her chief of staff that she would have no further comment on the matter) an appearance on Al Sharpton’s show on MSNBC (the title of which I, along with millions of other nonviewers, am too lazy to look up).
Incidentally, the video of the show appeared on MSNBC.com with a blog post that was a wholesale cut and paste job, under byline of Morgan Whitaker, of the Joe Nocera column in the Times. Well, it was almost a 100% copy job of the original – the only thing they left out were my comments in Joe’s original column. I confirmed via email with Mr. Nocera that he “most certainly did not” grant them permission to copy his work.
The coordinated talking points have been that the video was creepy and intimidating, and crossed some sort of unwritten rule. Well, guess who used to be the Director of Opposition Research for the Democratic Party of Oregon, in charge of training political trackers? None other than Jeff Fisher, newly hired as Ginny Burdick’s chief of staff. If this is an unwritten rule, it apparently only applies to one party. If Burdick were so offended and creeped out by this practice, why does she employ the guy who trained all the trackers for her own party as her chief of staff? Further, if she were so dedicated to elevated political discourse and respect for the position, why has she herself engaged in a pattern of harassing and intimidating behavior, such as using her public position to try to get a public worker fired for disagreeing with her?
All of this has been clearly coordinated to give Senator Burdick cover in the mainstream media and to deflect from the actual story – she lied to her constituents and made up a story to duck their questions. That’s the real story and they’re hoping you’re not paying attention.