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December 24th, 2008 WW Editorial Staff | Rogue of the Week
 

Willamette Week

Man, we screwed up.

     
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When WW makes a factual error, we run a correction.

When we make an error of judgment? A lump of coal in our stocking. So why are we the Rogue? Because WW’s marketing and promotions department recently agreed to put on an inauguration party Jan. 20 along with the Democratic Party of Oregon at Holocene.

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. We have no specific problem with the DPO; it’s just not a group we should be in bed with.

“Put it this way,” political reporter Jeff Mapes wrote accurately on his blog at oregonlive.com last week. “If the Oregonian co-sponsored an inaugural party celebrating any politician’s victory, you can be sure Willamette Week would be all over it.”

Even worse, WW’s editorial department didn’t know about the co-sponsorship until Mapes wrote about it on Dec. 17.

For journalists, getting in bed—or appearing to get in bed—with any Party (with a capital P) isn’t just plain wrong. It’s downright unethical.

Roll Call, a Washington, D.C.-based newspaper covering politics and Capitol Hill, linked the Democratic Party of Oregon’s announcement to our coverage this fall of U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), whose frozen-food plant has employed undocumented workers. Smith lost, but not before his staff accused WW of pushing a “left-wing agenda.”

Editor Mark Zusman told Roll Call he was embarrassed by WW’s co-sponsorship with the Dems. And on Dec. 18, WW decided to back out of the party and find a more appropriate way to mark the inauguration.

But for this week, we have met the Rogue. And it is us.

 
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