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We must hold reporters accountable

December 7, 2016

In the political world I live in, we who are in office are sometimes misquoted or “partially” quoted.  Thankfully in this new digital age we live in, we have smart phones that record everything.

Case in point: in perhaps an “eagerness” to paint Rep. Mike Nearman with the broad brush of “racist” a reporter from the Bend newspaper “thought” he heard Rep. Nearman use the word “latinos” in their interview about a ballot measure.  Here are the emails back and forth between Rep. Nearman and the reporter.

From Rep. Mike Nearman to reporter:

You have quoted me incorrectly.  I did not use the word “Latino”.   Please correct your article:

 “I’ve heard rumors of what went on in House District 22, which is Woodburn and north Salem, that there was heavy recruiting and voter registration drives among populations of latinos that are likely to have a lot of illegal aliens,”

Attached is a recording of that part of our conversation.

Thank you.


This the recording of that portion in which you can CLEARLY hear Rep. Nearman say “people” in the place that the reporter quotes as “latinos”.




Here is the reporter’s response to “being caught red handed”:

My mistake. I thought you had said Latinos but can hear from the recording that was “people.” This was an honest and regrettable mistake, though I’m glad I didn’t alter your point.

Thanks for sending.

This on the heels of the incident earlier this fall during the campaign season when another young reporter wrote a completely unsubstantiated story on the front page of the Salem newspaper about Rep. Mike Nearman that was later found to be SO erroneous that the newspaper not only withdrew the article, but printed an actual retraction.  Read about that whole affair HERE which includes the NEW “scrubbed” story.

In this story (which you can read the “new scrubbed” version HERE), the editors of the Bend Bulletin did an “update” to the story:

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. The original version misquoted Mike Nearman on people being registered to vote in registration drives. The Bulletin regrets the error.

“Regrets the error”?  If Rep. Nearman had not recorded the interview, the real story would have never come out!

Now I know that MOST of the time, reporters do a great job of reporting the news and what they get from their interviews and my intention is not to conclude that they are all bad, nor even many of them bad.  So what is my goal here?  It’s not to hurt or ruin a career for young journalists….it’s to draw attention to the fact that the “press” in Oregon don’t seem to be held to any standard anymore.  Reporting the “facts” has become “reporting what I THINK are the facts”.  Editors as well, do not “check” the facts before quickly rushing it to their websites and hoping for heavy “clicks” so that they can show their advertisers how many “views” they get.  When there is an obvious “mistake” made, there should not just be an “apology” but instead a full retraction and with the same enthusiasm, a new article showing where and what the “mistake(s)” were/are.

I am also writing this to warn my fellow colleagues in the House and Senate Republican caucuses.  You’d better ALWAYS record your side of the interview.  Hold them accountable!

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