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Oregon Newspapers Join #FreePress Editorial Campaign

Oregon newspapers join the Boston Globe-inspired #Free Press editorial today to rebut attacks about fake news, reaffirm the role of a free press and remind readers of the value of newspaper coverage.

Oregon newspapers join the Boston Globe-inspired #Free Press editorial today to rebut attacks about fake news, reaffirm the role of a free press and remind readers of the value of newspaper coverage.

Oregon newspapers participated in a coordinated campaign to publish editorials today defending a free press and decrying President Trump’s persistent attacks about fake news.

Organized by the Boston Globe, more than 300 publications, ranging from The New York Times to small community newspapers, communicated to their readers in response to what the Globe’s editors call “the dirty war against the free press.”

The Oregonian editorial urged “Rising above the toxic rhetoric.” The Portland Tribune wrote, “We aren’t fake news; we are the people.” The Register Guard titled its editorial, “Trump shouldn’t expect media to be his friends.” The Bend Bulletin carried a commentary from the Chicago Tribune that said, “[Trump’s] attacks on journalists exemplify his tendency to bully and humiliate.”

“To be sure, the hostile verbal attacks and the insipid ‘fake news’ name-calling coming out of Washington, DC have reached unprecedented lows,” wrote Laura Gunderson of The Oregonian. “Yet attempts to silence the press with bullying and lies is by no means unprecedented. These attacks come from all political levels, all political stripes.”

The Portland Tribune editorial, adapted from comments by the New York Press Association, said, “We’ve been complacent. We thought everybody knew how important a free press was to our world and our communities and that all this talk about us being the enemy of the people would be dismissed for the silliness that it is.”

“But the reckless attacks have continued, instigated and encouraged by our president. The time has come for us to stand up to the bullying. The role journalism plays in our free society is too crucial to allow this degradation to continue.”

The Tribune editorial spelled out local news beats its reporters and photojournalists cover, adding:

“At the Tribune, we pride ourselves on prioritizing news that citizens, and voters, need to know in a healthy democracy – vital public policies rather than ‘gotchas’ and juicy gossip that would boost our readership and web hits. We dissect and explain crucial issues that affect your neighborhood and your world, such as homelessness, gentrification and climate change. 

“We are always by your side. We shop the same stores, worship at the same places and hike the same trails. We struggle with daycare and worry about paying for retirement.”

“Reporters and editors have a keen appreciation for the power of words and would feel a cold wind if a President described any group of Americans as ‘enemies of the people.’ Editorialized the Register Guard. “A President who feels free to describe the media in that way can easily add other enemies to the list. It is a responsibility of a free press to call upon President Trump to stop employing such destructive language. He should not expect the media to be his friends and should recognize instead that their true loyalty is to good government and the values of the republic.”

The Bend Bulletin’s repurposed editorial concludes, “We aren’t enemies of the American people. But many of us have fielded enough angry threats – in the streets, on our phones and at our computers – to chafe when a President calls us that. That’s why we’re adding our voices to those of other journalists nationwide.”

The Boston Globe said, “We are not the enemy of the people. We are a free and independent press; it is one of most sacred principles enshrined in the Constitution.”

 

Report Reveals Diversity, Lingering Bias in Washington County

A new report by the Coalition of Communities of Color dispels the image of Washington County as an all-white enclave by revealing its growing racial and ethnic diversity – and pointing to lingering inequities and bias.

A new report by the Coalition of Communities of Color dispels the image of Washington County as an all-white enclave by revealing its growing racial and ethnic diversity – and pointing to lingering inequities and bias.

Washington County is often referred to as the heavily white and well-off suburbs to the west of Portland. That description falls far short of being complete or accurate, as demonstrated by a new report released this week by the Coalition of Communities of Color.

“People of color have always lived in Washington County,” the report says. “We are part of the economy and social fabric. It’s our home and we like living here.”

Washington County’s population in 2017 was estimated at 591,350. The report calculates that 223,748 of those residents, or almost 38 percent, are from communities of color, led by a Latino population totaling 96,034.

A main purpose in conducting research and preparing the report was to measure the racial and social justice of this sizable chunk of Washington County’s population. “Communities of color in Washington County, compared to their white neighbors, experience disproportionately negative outcomes in employment, income, education, community safety and health,” the report says. 

Some specific data in the report highlighting continuing bias:

  • Vietnamese and Filipino workers have lower incomes than white counterparts with the same level of education.
  • High-income black and Latino applicants are more likely to be denied home loans compared to while applicants.
  • Somali-speaking students are 197 percent more likely than white students to be expelled or suspended from school.
  • 68 percent of Native American single mothers with children live in poverty, which is substantially higher than the national average of 48 percent.

“Our reality consists of both experiencing oppression by racist institutions and practices and our resilience and resistance to that,” the report says. “We are made to feel invisible and hyper-visible.”

The methodology to prepare the report is referred to as “research justice.” “[We] start with the premise that the research process needs to be just and equitable, and to shift communities of color from research subjects into researchers, knowledge producers and communicators. Research practices should be anti-racist to achieve the racial equity we seek to achieve in the region.”

The report includes sections about different communities of color including Native American, African, Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern and North African, Pacific Islanders and Slavic. Each section shows the size of that community in Washington County and offers a few factoids. For example, 50 percent of Middle Eastern and North African community members have at least a bachelor’s degree and 57 percent of the county’s Asian population are immigrants.

Organizers of the research say the findings aren’t intended as a commentary on current events affecting immigrants. "We were mindful that we were writing this report under the current dispensation, but this report isn't just about the current dispensation," Shweta Moorthy, who wrote the report, said in a Beaverton Valley Times interview.

The report concludes with an 8-point call to action that include pay equity, political representation, celebration of diversity, educational opportunity and culturally specific services. It also includes a plea to continue research justice to track progress.

“Communities of color are experts in their own lives, possessing experiential, historical and cultural knowledge. Mainstream research and data do not capture the full lived experiences of communities of color.”

The full report and an executive summary can be downloaded at no cost at http://www.coalitioncommunitiescolor.org/research-and-publications/leadingwithrace-es