The Oregonian could use some new blood!

Albert Kaufman

JoecJoe Conason, a wonderful nationally-syndicated columnist who appears weekly as a guest on the Al Franken show would make a great addition to the Oregonian. On the Franken show recently he talked about how progressive radio is leading to more left-leaning columnists being syndicated and available. His columns are a frank look at what's going on politically at a time when we need all the clarity we can get.

Mr. Conason recently wrote me with this information on how to read his column on-line and the process for newspapers to pick up his column:

"All the information you may need is on the website maintained by Creators Syndicate, which is distributing my columns. The link to my page on their site is here The link to my current column on their site is here

Mr. Conason convinced me that an organized campaign is not the way to go, but if you feel that you'd welcome reading his column in the Oregonian, please send a letter to the commentary editor, GalenBarnett at[email protected] and perhaps cc the letters-to-the-editor address [email protected] .

This is a good time and place to discuss strategy and also to nominate other columnists you'd like to be reading. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    Why are these things happening to me ... I traded emails with Joe just this weekend, (too?) Now here he is staring at me on Blue Oregon.

    My point was urging him to be more like a phenomenal investigative journalist I put as an example, ( Wayne Madsen), and his point back was he has his style and those who wanted Madsen could have him, (too?)

    Joe was impressively gracious after I had been crude. And he replied in person -- that's dear. And he delighted me with the surprise news that he admires George Seldes as much or more than I do. If you find Seldes' "Witness to a Century," read it to know how journalism happens.

    As for the premise -- whether I'd welcome reading Conason in The O.: I don't welcome reading The zerO. Let it go. They took themselves over the rightwing edge into an oblivion of journalistic bankruptcy, don't you be attached. I like reading Conason and I can have him, (too?) (Madsen's stronger.)

    I wouldn't try to put the internet's good stuff in The zerO, (I go to the internet for it), and it doesn't matter to me anymore where The zerO puts itself. It is now as bad as Liars -- I cringe whenever they're on my side.

  • (Show?)

    From: Galen Barnett [email protected] To: Albert Kaufman Subject: Question for the Oregonian Public Editor Date: Jul 12, 2005 9:57 AM

    Hello, Albert.

    I am familiar with Joe Conason's work, and he surely is a reputable commentator and independent thinker. I would add only that we now subscribe to many other voices on the left, most of whom I already receive more requests for than I have room to publish. But I will discuss your request with the editorial page editor.

    Galen Barnett commentary editor The Oregonian

  • (Show?)

    Dang. Leaving aside how the Oregonian might define "The Left", Conason's work on Salon and at the Observer strikes me as being much more nuanced and provocative than many of the other usual suspects based at The Nation, Mother Jones, or some of the online locations like Truthout.

    I'd love to see the O pick him up. If they want a list of "Leftys" to drop, they could start with Friedman.......


    BTW: Albert, do you ever sleep?

  • glenlivid (unverified)

    Joe Conason is fantastic, and someone that definitely does his homeork.

    "My point was urging him to be more like a phenomenal investigative journalist I put as an example, ( Wayne Madsen), and his point back was he has his style and those who wanted Madsen could have him, (too?)"

    Way to make friends. I'm not sure how gracious I would be to someone writing me to tell me to be more like someone else, as a matter of fact, I'm sure I could write back to you by only using two words!

  • (Show?)

    Sleep, yes, very important part of life. Also, bike a lot, and read. Thanks for the kind words, Pat - assume that was a compliment :)

  • (Show?)

    I asked Mr. Barnett for a list of left-ish columnists vis this question - his response...

    From: Galen Barnett [email protected] Sent: Jul 13, 2005 9:49 AM To: Albert Kaufman Subject: Re: Question for the Oregonian Public Editor

    in national columnists from the left: paul krugman, bob herbert, marie cocco, ellen goodman, georgie anne geyer, leonard pitts, nicholas kristof, e.j. dionne, molly ivins, maureen dowd. more centrists but on the left: david broder, david ignatius, tom friedman, neal peirce. no other local voices besides sarasohn except susan nielson, whose column runs in the sunday section. but joe conason wouldn't be local either.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    (glenlivid, as you say, you are nobody having "someone writing.")

    Wow, there it is in black and white. The names listed are not leftists.
    Espcially Cocco, Geyer, Dionne, Pierce, Ignatius -- have never written (that I have read) any one bit noting lies and falsehoods which are systemic in rightwinger's conservatism. (For example, that '04 voters mostly voted on 'values,' where polls show otherwise -- 'unexamined habit' number one, 'the economy' number two.) (Second example, from vaguely across the 80s and 90s, and in Newt's propaganda times, the falsehood that 'this country has shifted to conservatism.' Fact is, voter registration in general and people's personal stories in detail, in a word "politics," never changed in any significance to mention.) (Third example: The lie that the media are liberal. Content analysis of sources and topics show media is not liberal, and shows the opposite as much as there is any un-countered bias, it is slanted steeply rightist.) Those named have never pointed out the lies which conservative voices propound and claim as their resolve, nor have those named renounced -- indeed, they have often adopted -- both the lies and the views and perceptions screened through those lies.

    So they have never said they were not wholly rightist. And as much as they repeat or accept rightist false frames, in their writing, they sound like and support rightism, (in the shortest form: capitalism offers the same opportunities and welfare to each and every person, and any difference in individual successes is the consequence of difference in individuals, only, and no differences in individual successes develop from discontinuities, dis-uniformities, or inadequacies -- unfairness, imbalance -- intrinsic in capitalist theory), and they communicate only rightist views, unallayed.

    Further, these names -- Cocco, Geyer, Dionne, Pierce, Ignatius -- cannot define leftism and cannot identify a principle of leftism in which they find purpose in their own life nor in their writing. (Leftism, in short: Validation of the group, group rights, group equality, the group having true quality, character, worth, purpose and cause. Most visible example: the U.S. Mail, available to every person to write to every other person and have that message uniformly conveyed through the mail regardless of the sender the recipient or the information communicated.)

    In the names, Geyer is least indictable in the case I make here. She is also the most widely travelled, the most experience and wise-given, the most tolerant (uncritical) of other cultural mores and methods, and most decent in writing. However, her silent tolerance serves as tacit approval -- by not denouncing rightist lies and falsehoods she gives her acceptance of them.

    Listing Friedman is a joke. He even considers himself conservative in beliefs and behavior.

    Goodman, Pitts, Kristof, Ivins, Dowd, (oh, toss in Sarasohn and Nielson), are, at best, inoffensive in their writing -- inoffensive to leftism, that is. Much of that is just as much being inoffensive to rightism, too, similar to my description of Geyer. But there is a key difference between them and Geyer. Geyer can cogently express the beliefs and bases of leftism and rightism, both abroad in the world today and as practiced variously in history. (Sarasohn knows history, but not political spectra, during eras, in widespread situations.) In short, Geyer knows why she believes what she believes, (and it's not leftism per se), the others don't exactly have beliefs and what they adopt by imitation or passing fancy which may qualify as beliefs, they can't express or explain.

    Krugman and Herbert actually believe in the goodness and welfare and value and rights of the group. Except, two different groups. Krugman for individual income tax payers, and Herbert for the dispossessed and disadvantaged, (mainly but not solely ethnic minorities).

    That The zerO considers these centerist and rightward writers to be leftists, is exactly being not part of the solution and which is contributing to being the problem. There is Zinn, Morford, Churchill, Rev. Jackson, oh, and Chomsky (guardedly), as names for leftist writers, but even they come comprimised. And that is inherent in the definition of leftism. The values and beliefs of the group are in the 'group voice' and when any one individual acts (writes) to speak as the voice of the group, that is an impossible contradiction in terms. One voice cannot be the group voice; representative perhaps, more or less faithful, yet, absolutely, not the group voice. What group voice absolutely is is the shouts of the mob, the cheers of the fans, the applause of the audience, the sum of all the parts -- which, of course, is incoherent (but not unintelligible) and disorganized (but equinimical since each gets to speak). So leftist writers cannot be individually named and celebrated and still be leftist writers.

    The zerO and other op ed forums, where they intend to offer leftist/rightist balance, should designate an equal area of space for leftist pronouncements from groups and representatives, such as unionists, generations, ethnics, careerists, crafters, artists, professionals, and such. Accordingly, in effect it seems the Letters to the Editor area is the group voice, and the weekly statistical summary of letter-topic count and distribution, (in the Sunday issue), is the sense of leftist beliefs and behavior for the time being.

  • Joe Conason (unverified)

    First I'd like to thank Albert and others who have expressed such kind interest in my work. For someone who spends a lot of time sitting in a room typing away, it's always gratifying to learn that people elsewhere -- on the other side of the country! -- are reading and appreciating what I'm trying to say. I wouldn't attempt to critique the Oregonian's editorial policies, except to say that very few of the columnists mentioned above qualify as liberal or progressive, let alone "leftist." Certainly not Friedman, Broder, Geyer, Ignatius. Ellen Goodman is a very nice woman and a popular syndicated columnist, but she doesn't engage the right aggressively. Whatever happens with the Oregonian, I hope to be in the Pacific Northwest come September to talk about my new book (on the struggle over Social Security). And I'll let Blue Oregon know the details as soon as I know. Thanks again.


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