By editorial board • 

Suppression is toxic for free society

Republicans and Democrats may act increasingly tribalistic, fleeing to the fringes of their parties. But they always seem to find common ground in one respect:

They hate bad news. If they can’t shoot the messenger or spin it blatantly enough, their almost autonomic response seems to be suppression.

Consider the Aug. 24 death of an infant in Eugene.

The 9-month-old was rushed to a hospital after he stopped breathing in a state-licensed day care. Federal law mandates such deaths be reported within four days, but only now, seven months later, was this one disclosed.

Something else was happening in late August. Republican Knute Buehler was running for governor. And he was faulting Brown for failing to solve problems at the Department of Human Services, which oversees child-care facilities and the state’s foster care system.

Coincidentally — or perhaps not — the Oregon Office of Child Care changed its rules Aug. 27 regarding release of information about deaths. That was just three days after this one occurred, which doesn’t pass the smell test.

A proposed public statement was dispatched to the governor’s office the day the child died. Yet no statement was ever released by anyone.

Officials at the Office of Child Care said Brown and her staff played no role in suppressing news of the child’s death. Uh-huh.

Never mind the timing, just as Buehler was running a campaign ad blistering Brown’s DHR stewardship and she was crying foul.

Wherever the blame ultimately falls, information was suppressed. One or more people supposedly serving the public trust cared more about appearance than the death of a child.

This attitude crosses party lines, of course.

Barack Obama came to the White House promising an “unprecedented level of openness,” but used the Espionage Act seven times to silence whistleblowers talking to journalists. That’s more than all previous administrations combined.

Over a two-month period, Obama’s justice department also seized the records of 20 telephone lines assigned to the Associated Press and individual journalists, both cell and landline, affecting more than 100 reporters.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump wages open warfare on objective reality, denying even the evidence of his own words. And he repeatedly tars the media as an “enemy of the people.” 

This is Sunshine Week, created by the American Society of News Editors to remind us powerful and ignorant people don’t change their opinions and statements to fit the facts. They change the facts to fit their opinions and statements.

When the facts affect our ability to govern ourselves in a free society, the result is toxic.


Don Dix

If the governor's office was notified on the day the child died, how would anyone outside the governor's team know what was decided afterward? It appears the suppression of the information was strictly political -- otherwise, Buehler's claim (poor DHR stewardship by Brown) would obviously carry some truth -- and truth is the greatest threat to many politicians and their cushy positions.

The basic problem is one party will almost certainly oppose the other's ideas, only for opposition's sake. Of the people, for the people, and by the people has become an afterthought of the partisan politics that occur daily across the nation.

Politics may be the dirtiest, most underhanded sector in this nation, and the dance around facts has become an art. And these are the people responsible for our country's well being? Witness the ignorance of partisan politics!

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable