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MAKING THE NEWS

Many activists were unhappy with last Thursday's TV coverage, which they claim gave less airtime to their message than to two broken windows at a McDonald's.

But those media infractions were slight compared to what critics are calling Clear Channel's attempt to "manufacture the news." Owner of local stations 1190 AM, 620 AM, 105.9 FM, and 100.3 FM, Clear Channel holds more than 1200 stations. Starting last week, Clear Channel began sponsoring its own pro-war rallies in Atlanta, San Antonio, and Cincinnati, drawing as many as 20,000.

While nothing in this action violates FCC regulations, media watchdogs are concerned the news sponsorship may violate basic media ethics. Moreover, some wonder whether Clear Channel is trying to woo the Bush administration. A bill has been introduced which would regulate a single company's ownership of media outlets.

In an effort to balance the scales, on Thursday, the Mercury helped the protesters "hang in there" by buying pizza for those stopping traffic on Burnside. PB

THE PEOPLE'S POWER

As Enron continues to pimp out the sale of PGE, the state legislature is doing everything possible to block Portland from purchasing the energy company. PGE is one of Enron's remaining assets. Led by City Commissioner Erik Sten, the city of Portland has proposed buying PGE and running it as a city service, like the water bureau. Enron is pushing to complete the sale, within the month.

But a bill sponsored by Rep. Greg Smith may block Portland from purchasing PGE. The bill would prohibit cities with a population greater than 500,000 (namely, Portland) from purchasing an electric company. Rep. Smith worries how Portland's ownership would affect the rest of the state. PGE also owns power plants, and transmission lines throughout Oregon. JOSHUA CINELLI

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