Bulletin vs. Environmental Center Rd. 3 | Guest Commentary | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Opinion » Guest Commentary

Bulletin vs. Environmental Center Rd. 3



Regular Bulletin readers know that the paper's almost comically conservative editorial page has been waging a campaign against the Bend-La Pine School district's arrangement with the Central Oregon Environmental Center, a local non-profit, to put on an environmental education program in local classrooms. This past week, Editor in Chief John Costa chose to take direct aim at one of the Environmental Center's defenders, former city councilor Peter Gramlich, who circulated an e-mail sharply criticizing the paper's editorial board. Prior to the editorial, Costa traded e-mails with Gramlich and in one of those he told the former city councilor that he would "present" Gramlich's letter as part of the paper's response. As far as we, or Gramlich, can tell, he didn't. Instead he opted to quote snippets of it in his Sunday column, a sort of weekly ombudsman piece in which Costa holds forth on the state of the newspaper and often answers critics. Those familiar know that the column is basically a monologue that acts like a strong sedative on the paper's collective readers. But those who did manage to soldier through Costa's spirited defense of the paper this week got the usual clap-trap about the intellectual integrity of the editorial board. What they didn't get was a full reading of Gramlich's original letter.

The letter has already been circulated widely in some circles. Since the Bulletin apparently decided it was worthy of response but not a re-print, we thought we'd let you see what got John's BVDs in a bunch.

Michael and assorted friends/colleagues-

Re the recent editorial you shared, I would agree that the Bulletin's, um, "insights" are worthy of many sentiments, but surprise cannot be one of them. While no logical person would find fault with your teaching eco values in the classroom, we are not dealing with such an entity here. Their strategy is one of repressing progress in all forms.Never mind that you're doing exactly what the largest public outreach effort in Bend's history, the Vision 2030, asked you to do: but since environmental education doesn't suit their historically neoconservative values, that's that. Why should 8,000+ people speak for a city when Costa and his clueless cronies can?

Given the new realities in which we find ourselves, some people will adjust and overcome, and others will scream out loud at being forced to adapt to anything beyond the old ways of exploitation and greed. That the Bulletin is a shining example of the latter can be a surprise to no one.

It's been another eventful few days for our friends at the editorial desk.

1: On Saturday 11/21, while the Oregonian ran a detailed front page story on the real estate fraud indictments in Bend, the Bulletin got the number of indictments wrong (it was 13, not 10) and, incredibly, ran a cover story on - brace yourself - goose poop. This does not abet the common perception of the Bulletin as cronies to the crooked industries that created this mess.

2:On Friday 11/13, they lashed out at a Pew Center on the States report detailing why Oregon is a state in fiscal peril. Rather than deal in facts, they chose to advance the classic right wing straw man argument: invent words that the report did not use ("Oregon voters are dumb"), then attack those words. Again - anything but progress.

3: The Friday 11/20 editorial you mentioned takes issue with science being taught in science class. It'd be comical only if it weren't so sad.

So why should we care what this outfit thinks and does? Because a component of a credible city is a credible newspaper. To force that change, you and I are obliged to call out their follies.

I will cc their editors Mr. Costa and Mr. Lukens here on the off chance this sparks a positive reaction. I do have a precedent for such: at a City Council meeting last November, I was forced to publicly refute and correct their facts in an editorial of 11/18/09 on Infrastructure First. Mr. Lukens then did acknowledge the factual inaccuracies.

On the other hand, perhaps we can anticipate yet another amusing Sunday 'perspective' from Mr. Costa blindly defending his outfit's follies rather than writing about real news.

Cheers, Peter

(Editor's note: Costa's column took issue with Gramlich's figures on the real estate fraud story and defended the paper's reporting as factual. The Source did not double-check either of those claims.)

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