Have you seen this yet? KATU is airing a melodramatic commercial for an "investigative" piece tonight that's apparently all about how the Oregon State Hospital keeps on letting crazy people lumber free from decrepit cages to menace innocents and little children.

They're pulling out all the stops: sinister music, a raspy narrator, gritty black-and-white footage—even a hallway confrontation between a reporter and a state official. Update! Here's a YouTube embed; seems the KATU embed stopped working. Update again! And then the station's YouTube embed went down, too. Curious. Very curious. I've left a message with the newsroom to find out what's what. Another update! The Mental Health Association of Portland shrewdly made their own copy and posted it to YouTube. So it lives again.

Good for them and their gumshoe reporting, right? Wrong. Mental health advocates are ripping it as a bunch of stigmatizing, insensitive hogwash.

The Mental Health Association of Portland is calling the story "crap" and wants people to call KATU and raise hell:

The Mental Health Association of Portland has sifted through a lot of crap news stories about the Oregon State Hospital—but this looks to be a doozy.

What’s true? The hospital HAD four basic problems — decrepit and dangerous buildings, demoralized under-educated staff, stigma/fear/panic on the part of just about everyone but especially mental health providers and the media, and the association with Psychiatric Security Review Board.

Number one is resolved. Number two is changing fast. Number three, as evidenced by Dan Tilken‘s hysterical reporting above, is still a basic every day problem. Number four was addressed with major legislative changes in 2010.

Tonight KATU is the problem, not the solution. Too bad Dan couldn’t find a real story.

And here's what the Multnomah County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness had to say:

KATU is running inflammatory, fear-mongering ad spots about people being treated at the state hospital. The key word in Oregon State Hospital is "hospital"—not prison—as KATU portrays.

Lucky for you, we've obtained an advance copy of KATU's special report! It's after the cut.

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