Saturday, January 20, 2007

Topsy-Turvy news at The Oregonian

OK, time to play “You be the Editor.”

Consider two stories.

Story number one is about a mysterious company registered in Oregon that rights groups suspect of being a CIA front. Evidence suggests that the company is a shell outfit whose Gulfstream jet was used to transport terrorism suspects to other countries to be tortured. In other words, there may be a link between what has been euphemistically called “Rendition” and operations in Oregon. Oh, and now the Oregon Bar association is pressuring an attorney for the company to reveal who is behind it.

Story number two is about how a well-known developer’s proposal to build a prominent mixed-use high-rise downtown may revitalize commercial activity in the city’s core.

Got that?

All right, your job is to place the stories in the paper. Two places are available.

One story can go at the top of the front page, where you’d have to be blind not to read it; the other can go at the top of the Business page, where readers are generally tracking how the economy is doing.

If you put the CIA/Rendition/Oregon story on the front page and the high-rise/revitalization story on the business page, I say you win “You be the Editor.”

So why, in deciding which would go where in today’s Oregonian, did the paper’s editors do just the opposite?

I’m not casting aspersions here. Inquiring minds just want to know.

How can the Oregonian’s editors see the news in such a topsy-turvy way? And what happens to their credibility when they do?

In this Internet age of information, don’t newspapers have enough problems already?

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