The Mercury's reporting is reliably trivial and shallow except when it comes to covering music festivals, dining, strip clubs, and the showing of homemade porn at Century 21. Where police in the area live is minimally interesting and illuminates next to nothing. I've read your column for years, Dennis, and you ignore all the important things. I doubt you even know what a Morrissey hearing is, and how it helps to ruin countless lives. Have you ever bothered to investigate the unchecked use of solitary confinement in the area's jails? Do you ever bother to ask exactly why so many people are in jail in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties, especially at a time of record lows in ALL categories of crime? Have you ever bothered to look at the historical rise in the "public safety" budget (as an ever-expanding percent) of public resources? Have you ever reported on what parole and probation officers use as an excuse to jail people for months at a time (being a few minutes late for an appointment, for example). How much money does the courthouse take in every year in levied fines? Yeah, where does all the money come from and where does it go? That would be interesting to find out. For example, though the majority of Oregonians support the legalization of marijuana at this point, The Association of Oregon District Attorneys, along with several police departments are marshaling political and financial resources to oppose it. One might assume that the legalization of marijuana might offend the values of conservative white Christian males--an accurate profile of the average cop or DA in Oregon--but one would also have to examine all of the cash that would be threatened should such legislation ever pass in Oregon. Fewer arrests would equal less grist for the system, after all.

Though we cossetted, smug, self-satisfied whites of Portland will readily congratulate ourselves on our environmental consciousness and opposition to fluoride in the drinking water, we must admit, if we are honest with ourselves that the events that have transpired in Ferguson, MO do not represent an anomaly. We saw this during the Occupy Protests. If people of color massed in the streets of Portland, the response would be identical. In fact, what happened in Ferguson is pretty much what happened here, and is what would happen in almost every American city at this point. This is a deeply disturbing reality, and those in the press, while occasionally reporting on symptoms and episodes of injustice completely ignore the larger systemic failures and institutional injustices that point to deep rifts in American society that are not going to go away any time soon...rifts between rich and poor, the powerful and powerless, minorities and majorities, liberals and conservatives, etc.

What is needed is broader dialogue spurred, perhaps, by fearless reporting (not just the kind that panders to your advertisers). So far you have failed.
Wow, typed all of that shit and you could've summed it all up with "I am a self-loathing white guy." Enjoy sophomore year.
I would rather be self-loathing than blind, indifferent, callous willfully ignorant, and bereft of any capacity to eschew invective and engage in meaningful discourse.
All that shit, and you can't even spell Denis's name right?
Good eye, Graam. Is that really your idea of a comment, btw? I guess you don't think enough of your opinion to offer it any kind of factual or logical support? Quite neglectful. You can't say anything because you don't have anything to say. That's my suspicion.
I think what we're getting at is, all that shit you just typed is everything that all of us here in whiteland think and feel. Everything that you said is perfectly reasonable to me and I agree with you wholeheartedly. But you failed to understand that this is an alt-weekly that doesn't put a ton of effort into research to begin with, and everyone who reads it knows this. Just don't blame them for not solving America's race problem. They do what they do because that's what they do. If you want to engage in meaningful discourse, the comment section of the Merc ain't the best place to start.
I hold the view that the Mercury could be a whole helluva lot more than it is even though I doubt that it will ever be. Its blinkered owners have hit on a workable formula and there is not incentive to change it: appeal to prurient impulses while at the same time include a smattering of superficial coverage to important developments to give its readership the feeling that they've done some small part of their civic duty by staying informed. So, from week to week everything is just dialed in according to the established template.

I just don't accept that local reporting has to be as crappy as it is. IF we simply accept that the Mercury is not ever to be taken seriously, that leaves us with only two other papers. But if we are to give the Mercury a pass, we would also have to give The Willamette Week a pass for the exact same reason. That leaves us with only the dreadful, execrable and foundering Oregonian. See my point? Aside from the laughable circus of local news, we are left without any forms of traditional media to cover the so-called news.

It is in this vacuum that I make my plea for the Mercury to step up because someone has to do it if no one else will. And contrary to the proffered advice of their editor/owner/accountant, I don't think appealing to prurient interests and providing more in depth coverage are mutually exclusive, financially speaking. If anything, I think it would actually improve matters.

At the very least, I take comfort from the fact that, even before his diversity training, Charlie was deeply and personally against the militarization of the police. Always said they could have the body armour, as long as it was pink.
In many ways, I see the practices and policies of the local police more as a symptom than the cause of the real problem: public prejudice and indifference. If Portlanders, particularly the white middle class, stood up in mass against abuse of power it would much sooner come to an end. Instead, we have chosen to elect a business-friendly mayor who has been hell on the underclass. Falsely convinced that we are unable to solve big problems--it was Charlie Hales himself who said "We must fail better" when asked how we would address homelessness--we accept the inevitably of defeat before even attempting a fight, and turn a blind eye as we attempt to drive our problems away to somewhere else. Harassment, jail, ordinances, and the police are the preferred weapons against the perceived menace.

Ultimately, it is a moral failure abetted by ignorance. The unwillingness of the local press to bring important, if subtle and obscure, issues before the public has disastrous consequences. Stop blaming the police. Blame yourself.
Try the BBC or NPR. I don't think anyone in their right mind holds blogtown to as high a standard of news reporting. haha.
@Daniel, can you please please please change your username to Turgid Ferguson?
I feel so guilty having worked so hard to get where I'm at today. I had the privilege of coming from a good home when so many others didn't. I got good grades, didn't become a juvenile delinquent, became of goal focused adult. Shame on me for not sacrificing my life for the guy behind bars that was profiled because he fit the description of the suspect and still had the gun on him. He's there because I failed him, society failed him. SOmebody start playing a violin!

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