Gordon Smith plays Oregon media for chumps

Carla Axtman

So yesterday I'm slogging through my Google news alerts and what do I behold? Politico reporting that Gordon Smith tapped Alaska's Ted Stevens for a big, fat $10k loan to pay himself back for a $2.3 million loan he made to his 1996 campaign. As you may recall, Stevens is in a shit-ton of trouble with the feds on corruption charges (for which he's been indicted) stemming from his sweetheart deal relationship with an Alaskan contractor.

Smith's sucking up of cash from Stevens was a large enough story to make a national news outlet...but here in Oregon, not so much. As far as I can tell, not a single local media outlet covered the story of the loan. And Smith is counting on them not doing it.

Gordon Smith has shown time and again that he thinks the local Oregon media are a bunch of punk chumps--backwater media that don't amount to a hill of beans. When he tells local reporters that he's not going to the RNC because he's just too busy campaigning in Oregon--and then fails to hold any announced public events--that's a demonstration of Smith's disrespect for the in-state reporting corps.

Oregon's premier political reporters head off to the RNC this week, only to be unable to report on Smith cuz he's not there. Had they stayed home, they couldn't report on him here, either--because he's not announcing his campaign stops to them any more than he's announcing them to us.

I've called Smith's campaign office three times today in an attempt to get his campaign schedule for the week. They've told me that I have to speak to the "scheduler", who has been in a mysterious meeting since at least 10AM this morning--and nobody else in the entire Lake Oswego campaign office seems to know where he's going to be. But they do know he won't be in the Portland metro area any time soon..this week he's in very nonspecific "rural" Oregon and next week he's back off to D.C.



He lied to them about the Convention. He lied about really campaigning in Oregon. He's not commenting on the loan he took from Stevens and our media isn't reporting it.

When Smith's frozen food plant leaked pollution into an Pine Creek, causing a "serious class 1 violation", Smith's campaign downplayed the spill and the Oregonian editorial board came rushing to Smith's defense, further undermining the good work done by their journalists.

Punk. Chumps.

Smith even believes he can get away with running TV ads that flat-out lie about Jeff Merkley..and when local journalists to their job, pointing it out..Smith will disrespect them again..insulting their intelligence and call it a "mistake". Senate campaigns at this level don't make mistakes like that. They do their homework. It costs too much money to screw up.

Its deliberate. Just like the "moderate" image. And Smith will insult the entire Oregon media corps with his BS, believing that journalists will just take his word for it.

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    Gilbride told the S-J via email that Gordo is planning to be in Portland. Of course, she didn't specify when...

    Perhaps this alleged campaigning "across the state" might not even occur this year.

  • Captain Crunch (unverified)

    Perhaps you might want to tone down the personal attacks, Carla. It really undermines our message when you use such sophomoric language. Then again, I expected as much when I saw your name in the byline..your well documented surface level diatribes and all.

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    Ahh yes CC, attack the messenger. The strategy of choice for the GOP when they can't actually refute the message.

    I call it like I see it, CC. And attacking me won't fix Gordon's problems with the Oregon media.

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    Perhaps you might want to tone down the personal attacks, Carla.

    Dude, there were no personal attacks in that post.

    She did say that the Smith campaign lied but that's certainly a fair and necessary thing to do in a campaign if you document the other side's straying from the truth--which she did.

    Carla also accused the Smith campaign of treating the media like they were punk chumps.

    She didn't call anyone a punk chump.

    She did more or less challenge the media not to live down to the Smith campaign's apparent estimation of them. That's a worthwhile endeavor, I shoud think.

    Perhaps you consider her arguments "surface level" because you are just skimming instead of reading them.

    Not to mention that ending with "I expected as much when I saw your name in the byline" is kind of a funny way to end a complaint about people making personal attacks.

  • rural resident (unverified)

    Carla ... I call it like I see it, CC. And attacking me won't fix Gordon's problems with the Oregon media.

    It doesn't appear that Gordo has many problems with the Oregon media. He seemes to have them pretty well snowed. They certainly don't challenge him about the misleading statements in his ads, especially the ridiculous claim about his "bipartisan" record. (He's about as "bipartisan" as Dick Cheney.)

    That said, where in the world is the Merkley campaign? I hardly ever see an ad for him, and the ones I do see are terribly mild. He hasn't done much of anything to keep Smith from practically defining himself as a liberal Democrat. Does Merkley simply not have any money to spend on ads? Is he trying to hold onto his funds until the very end? (I hope he remembers that by October 20, ballots will be in the voters' hands.)

    C'mon Merkley campaign. Show a little energy here. You're not going to close that ten-point gap without a heck of an effort.

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    Which local journalist(s) did Republican Smith's campaign tell that the ad was a mistake? Your link goes to an AP story which says the campaign stands by the ad.

    And I have to say that while it is a lie that the legislature cut the existing program, changing Ted K's proposal to increase a $12 million program by $4 million (over 30%) to increasing by $600,000 (5%) does seem to represent a lot less of that service being available as a result. They chose to make a lying ad, but probably they could have made a more honest one that had a more or less legitimate point.

    Of course, the ad misrepresents the whole budget process -- making it sound as if these were the only two items being juggled and jiggered with. That's similar to the furniture ad's failure to make clear that the furniture was less than 3% of a whole renovation project and making it sound as if the total for the whole project was the furniture total

    Did Smith vote to support Bush's ban on Medicare negotiating prescription drug prices?

    Doretta, I'm pretty sure that Carla does in fact call the O's editorial board punk chumps, because they are joining in Smith's disrespect for the actual journalists. At best more than one reading is possible.

    However, that doesn't bother me, because it's fair comment about the board, in the context.

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    Chris: I didn't say that Smith told a local journalist that the ad was a "mistake". I said that I believe that he will. I do in fact believe that if he's pressed--that's what he'll say, once again trying to play the Oregon media for chumps.

    I am saying that the editorial board is playing their journalists for punk chumps by carrying Smith's water for him. That's exactly what I think they're doing.

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    Thanks clarifying, sorry for misreading.

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