Today the Oregonian finally printed the answers to a survey sent to GOP candidates and incumbents back on August 15th. I want to be very clear on where I stand. I am a Republican and will support the Republicans on the ballot in November. BUT…..the reporter didn’t ask that way. He asked a series of “gotcha” questions to elicit a “gotcha” response. I don’t play that game so I present to you the entire email exchange between Oregonian reporter Dana Tims and me.
Original email with questions dated Aug. 15, 2016:
I’m sending these to all Oregon GOP candidates and would appreciate your prompt reply. Thanks!
Have you endorsed or will you endorse Donald Trump?
Will you vote for Donald Trump?
Why or why not?
If not, whom are you voting for instead?
State Politics Reporter
My reply dated August 15, 2016:
I think I’d answer the questions if you can help me with a few of my own:
1) Are you asking the Oregon Democratic Candidates their stance on Measure 97/IP28?
2) If so, can you provide me with the answers given by State Rep. Paul Evans and Susan McLain, candidates Janeen Sollman, Janelle Bynum, Ray Lister and Julie Fahey?
3) I noticed in the SOS voter file that you are registered as a Democrat, do you think that might have any effect on your story writing?
4) In 2014, your own newspaper had an open investigation into then Gov. John Kitzhaber and his girlfriend Cylvia Hayes…which at the time wrote that at the least there may have been ethical violations and at the worst legal violations, so then did you ask House Democratic candidates/incumbents if they were voting for/endorsing Gov. Kitzhaber, especially considering he and she were both under investigation?
Let me know.
Rep. Bill Post
His reply dated August 19, 2016:
Apologies in my delay in getting back to you. As for the questions you’ve asked me, no, we are not, at this point, asking all Democrats about their respective stands on M. 97. However, my colleague, Hillary Borrud is covering the heck out of this issue and is certainly holding every foot to the fire that she finds, Democrats included.
Two: I’m not sharing anyone’s comments prior to publication, any more than I will not be sharing anything you send my way.
Three: As for my own leanings, I’ve worked as a journalist in Oregon for nearly 40 years and have never once, among the tens of thousands of stories I’ve written, ever had someone accuse me of any sort of bias based on what I wrote. I don’t contribute to campaigns, don’t affix bumper stickers to my vehicles and don’t plant lawn signs for candidates. We all have the right to our vote and the privacy of the ballot box; that said, my readers have a right to expect fairness and neutrality from me when it comes to my coverage and that’s what I strive to deliver.
Four: As for Kitzhaber and Hayes, you’ll note that The Oregonian went to court to get Cylvia’s emails, and that we are, at this moment, pursuing other leads on that story.
Five: OK, enough from me. You’re the one running for office and I’m sure readers would love to know where you stand on Donald Trump.
And my final replay that same day:
Thanks for the answers. As a long-time member of the media myself I think I have a pretty good sense for what readers/listeners want and right now, IN OREGON, they want to know what candidates for office in Oregon think about the largest tax hike in Oregon history. Yes I am aware of Hillary’s coverage but I think we do the readers a much bigger favor in asking both Democrats AND Republicans where they stand on Measure 97.
I am all about local politics and local elections. What President ______ does will not affect me on a daily basis. What Measure _____ and State candidate ____ does WILL affect me and you daily and immediately.
Now Dana, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to not let your political leanings affect your writing or the choice of stories to cover….I’m not the typical political type that would fall for that….I’ve been around longer than most in Oregon media. I’m not blaming you, but please, you and I are human, we can’t help but let that slip in a bit.
I don’t believe your readers care at all what I or you or anyone else thinks about presidential candidates. And, since it’s still a “secret ballot” I’ll keep that to myself.
Instead I’ll be glad to go over local issues and candidates anytime.
Rep. Bill Post
So there you go I didn’t give an answer the way he wanted, instead I put the onus back on him which is what we should all do…hold these reporters accountable! If voters really cared about who I am voting for on the presidential race, don’t you think that they also want to know how I am voting on ballot measures or my thoughts on the housing situation? How about how do Democratic candidates/incumbents feel about one their own presidential candidate being at the least, a liar and at the worst a murderer? (I’m not even bringing up the questionable “Benghazi” situation….Trump didn’t send young men and women to war did he?) What do voters REALLY care about? Ok….now here is the final article that was posted online today: READ HERE