We've still got a loooong way to go in the fight over Measure 97, which is shaping up to be a bloody-nosed, torn-shirt slap fest.
The $3 billion corporate tax increase (for companies with statewide sales over $25 million) has big corporations forming up against Oregon labor, and should easily be the spendiest statewide item on this November's general election ballot. And until earlier this morning, a casual glance at the "No On 97" campaign's website would have lead you to think the Mercury is squarely against it.
A huge graphic front and center on the website declared "Newspapers across the state agree: Measure 97 will increase consumer costs, hurt local businesses and damage Oregon’s economy."
And right there below that headline? Front and center? The Mercury logo, bunched in with the mastheads of 12 other papers from around the state.
The problem, of course, is that the Merc most certainly hasn't agreed that Measure 97 will do the things its opponents claim. And while it's not unheard of for people to twist our coverage out of context (see here and here) we've barely written about the measure just yet. I've pointed to other papers' stories in our "Good Morning, News" posts once or twice, and last week we reported that Gov. Kate Brown had finally taken a stance. That's it.
In fact, a collection of quotes the "no" campaign has cobbled together to bolster its arguments cites only four of the 13 newspapers its site had been touting the support of.
So of course we wanted to know what was up.
"I'm embarrassed," said Rebecca Tweed, statewide coordinator for Defeat the Tax on Oregon Sales, after we'd called the campaign. "It was not intentional."
Tweed chocked up the misinformation implied by the graphic to "an error when we were switching the design stuff over."
"We were laying out the format of what we wanted it to be when the editorials come through—if they come through," she says. "We were using different logos as placeholders. We would never put them up without permission."
Tweed first said the logos had been up on the site since Monday. When informed they'd first been spotted over the weekend, she guessed they'd been up since Friday. They've now been taken down.