Letters to the Editor: Feb. 3, 2017
No media like old media
Regarding the Jan. 27 letter chastising the News-Register for its coverage of a local event and not providing more news about the inauguration, I thank our local paper for carrying that local news.
I didn’t see anything on TV news about our local women’s protest event. However, the inauguration was well-covered over and over again.
The women’s marches were held around the world and included men who understand the importance of freedom and equality for all. Freedom and equality for all means including the disabled, those of varying faiths, those beyond our borders who are downtrodden in various ways. Freedom and equality are not just for the rich and famous, the so-called “beautiful people.”
If covering local news that is important means the News-Register is “old media,” well, old media is fine with me.
Marching is my right
Thank you for printing the articles about the recent political marches. I was concerned, however, when I read some of the comments online.
One comment described the freedom of assembly as an “exercise in futility.” This dismissive attitude toward the power of public assembly is troubling.
The right to freedom of assembly exists to allow large groups of passionate people to raise their voices in unity and take to the streets to be heard. I will always remember the feeling of solidarity at the march; I was one of more than 1 million to march worldwide. It was humbling. Public assembly satisfies a very basic desire of all humans to belong to something greater than themselves.
There is an opinion that protests and marching are pointless endeavors, only serving to annoy local citizens and shop merchants, and that they don’t accomplish much for social change. I heartily disagree. Freedom of assembly is a powerful, necessary tool of any democracy which should be used and protected by all citizens, regardless of political views. The Founders believed the freedom of assembly to be an inalienable right, going so far as to even debate its inclusion into the Constitution. When practiced freely, history tells us that the power of protest can alter the course of a nation.
No matter your political or social views, you have benefited from the power of protest and freedom of assembly. This is one of many parts of America that has always been great — our respect for each other’s right to raise our voices when we strongly believe we need to be heard. Please do not deny me the right to use my voice. I deserve to use it just as much as you.
Paper deserves credit
While Gary Beard in his Jan. 27 letter seems perplexed about the News-Register’s coverage of the local version of the international Women’s March Jan. 21, as a resident of McMinnville, I’m glad our local paper covered this event.
When more than 1,000 community members turn out to exercise their constitutional rights, this is definitely worthy of coverage in a town the size of McMinnville.
Beard further suggests that the News-Register should have ignored this event to cover “local” news, which he indicates is the “peaceful transfer of power.” Presumably, he’s referring to the national (not local) event of President Trump’s inauguration.
I suppose in these days of alternative facts, it’s better for a regional paper to ignore local protests of national events in favor of painting a rosy picture about the peaceful transfer of power on the national level. I, for one, am thankful that the News-Register reported on this event as it played out in our community. This is what a “local paper” is for!
Thank you, News-Register.
Concerns in the bag
I read with interest the report of the McMinnville City Council initiating an ordinance banning one-time-use plastic bags. I quite agree with limiting and/or eliminating the use of the flimsy little things. They are the singular cause of “plastic-bag disease” in goats (and probably other creatures). I do have a couple of concerns, however.
1. I do not live in McMinnville and have no direct electoral influence. However, 90 percent or more of my retail purchases are made in McMinnville. Does the council have an understanding of the impact these kinds of decisions have throughout the market area?
2. The article reports an assessment of a nickel per paper bag will be included in the ordinance. I object. Any costs to the seller and buyer in the purchase transaction should be between them.
If the council wants to initiate a “paper-bag tax” of 5 cents, this should be in a separate ordinance and only for residents of McMinnville who are the electors of the council.
Luxury at whose expense?
When I first heard about the new luxury hotel being built, I thought, “Great, but how many of our local residents can afford $400 a night, let alone afford reasonable housing?”
Today I read the editorial page with one opinion touting the new luxury hotel. Right next to it was an article about prevention of homeless issues. I noted the irony.
Perhaps, with the new income coming into our town, a portion of profits could be devoted to an affordable housing project. This could be a win-win situation.
Drain the swamp
With a $1.8 billion shortfall for Oregon, I think it’s time to drain the swamp.
Media deserves criticism
I read Jeb Bladine’s Jan. 27 Whatchacolumn and am compelled to respond. I understand his concern regarding the freedom of the press and the unprecedented friction between the press and the new administration, but the administration’s concerns about being treated fairly are warranted.
I did not vote for either of the two main candidates in this election, but numerous instances of inappropriate activities by some in the media were revealed this past election cycle. Among some notable accusations: At least one debate question was fed to the Clinton campaign prior to debating Bernie Sanders, the Clinton communications director was allowed review power prior to release of a story; and, a debate moderator choked up election night on live television when President Trump won. This is just a small sample by members of mainstream national news organizations.
These are not the actions of an objective press. Since it is purported that more than 90 percent of the media do not support President Trump, his concern is understandable. Many in the media are guilty of pushing a narrative and screen and spin what they report in support of that narrative. A September 2016 poll by Gallup measured a record low in Americans’ trust for mass media in a poll that goes back 45 years. Biased journalistic practices like those from the past election cycle need to stop so Americans can once again trust what they hear from the news media.
Facts not debatable
Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, recently said to the press, “Sometimes we can disagree with the facts.”
The dictionary defines “in fact” as “in truth.” Therefore, facts cannot be disagreed with. There is only one truth. Opinions and interpretations can be disagreed on. Is this kind of uneducated, misleading language we can expect from the voice of the president?
Aldous Huxley said, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Is 2017 a “Brave New World”?
Trump accuses journalism of “fake news.” Consider his strident statements that the election was rigged. True news or fake news? On Nov. 7, he must have asked, “Which lie should I tell now? Was it rigged?”
In any case, let’s consider a subject of far greater importance than U.S. politics: human-caused climate change. Here, the future of our entire species is at stake.
Ninety-seven percent of credible scientific organizations agree global warming is real and is nearing irreversible. But Trump claims climate change is a hoax. Check out the other 3 percent of “scientists,” and their “facts” are really opinions.
The brilliant astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was more succinct: “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe it.”
In humble speeches, President Nixon said, “… with God’s help and your help, we shall surely succeed.” President Reagan said, “I ask you not to simply trust me, but to trust your values -- our values -- and hold me responsible for living up to them.” President George W. Bush said, “… I know the presidency is an office that turns pride into prayer.”
Trump says, “I alone can fix it.” He apparently does not need God or any of us.
He is unfit as president, but he would make a dandy demi-god. Or is this fake news?
Obama provided the ammo
Government attacks on journalists and whistleblowers didn’t begin with Trump, although they’ll probably get much worse now.
Obama waged a relentless battle against both journalists and whistleblowers. He threatened journalists with espionage charges for doing their jobs. Other powers Obama handed to Trump include the 2012 Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens Act.
This law stripped U.S. citizens of every single protection that protect free people from government tyranny. Questioned as to why he enacted this, Obama said, “Don’t worry it will never be used.”
Tell that to Trump. Obama also claimed the new power to order the death of U.S. citizens without due process. On his word alone, four Americans were killed by drone strike. They were making pro-Al Qaeda speeches. Last I heard, we have the freedom to speak even when what’s said is revolting and offensive. It’s what allows Trump to say the things he says. Thank you, President Obama, for arming Donald Trump with these terrible powers.
I’m sure he’ll put them to good use. We aren’t losing our freedom. It’s already gone.