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Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
February 21, 1996     Hells Canyon Journal
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February 21, 1996

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Page 4 Hells Canyon Journal February 21, 1996 Guest Opinion American Newspapers Mirror Society's Slide And Proud Of Them! with the candidates who run Dear Editor, for political office in Oregon. Enough is enought I must How many Democrats might rise to my students' defense, have preferred DeFazio to ThestudentsinmyAdvancedWyden for Senator? How many Republicans would English class were asked to have preferred Jack Roberts write a journal of their expe- or Norma Paulus to Gordon riences while on their trip to Smith?Howmanynon-affili- Alaska. By its very nature, a ated voters are happy with journal is personal, reflect- the selection of the major party ing the style and personality candidates? of the writer. As a class as- signment, thesejournalswere How can we forget the notwrittenwiththeintention words of Edmund Burke of their being published, but (1729-1797)?"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph all of the students were will- is for good men to do noth- ing to share their personal reflections. They know that ing." Democrats and Repub- tone and style are a factor to licans, who vote in the pri- be considered when writing, mary elections, do what they The writer must consider the can to nominate their choice style most appropriate for the for office. Those who don't subject matter. For example, bother to vote get exactly what these students would not write they deserve. What about those who are that Lady Macbeth was coy- not registered in any political ered with tons of blood"any- party? There are almost 1,600 more than they would state of these people in Baker inapersonaljournalthatthey County. Why do so many took numerous photographs people deny themselves the of the majestic scenery, with opportunity to help select a the proud eagle, symbol of our candidate they like? Non-af- country, soaring through the filiates are not allowed to vote heavens." I fear that continu- in primary elections and then ouscriticismsofstudentwrit- must make do with the re- ings will affect their willing- sults in the general election. ness to share future essays. I can see how some people To the critics: Allow young don't like what the Republi- people to express themselves cans do. I sometimes disagree with the exuberance of youth, with them, myself. I very Save your criticism for the rarelyagreewithanythingthe true ills of society. Democrats do, but they don't Sincerely, agree with me too often, ei- Marilyn Peterson ther. However, neither:party Advanced English tells any of us how to vote. Teacher and proudThat is always our own choice. of it, . and proud of my Perhaps some non-affili- students, ated voters consider them- selves "independent thinkers" Please Register To Vote or "middle of the road" and and Re-enfranchise therefore above the political party system and are willing Dead Editor, to disenfranchise themselves I wonder how many voters toprove apoint. I think this is in Baker County are happy Continued on page 5 Ill I Hells Canyon Journal 145 North Main St. P.O. Box 646 Halfway, OR 97834 Phone: (541) 742-7900 Fax: (541) 742-7933 Publisher- Steve BackstromEditor- Pat Garrigus Staff: David Baker, Coco Forte and Donna Higgins Correspondents: Marjorie Baker, Gus Garrigus, Isla Graven David Light & Sybyl Smith The Hells Canyon Journal is published weekly for $15.00 (Baker County) or $18.00 (other areas) by Hells Canyqn Publishing, Inc. 2nd Class postage paid at Halfway, OR 97834. USPS Number: 002-953. Postmaster: Send address changes to Hells Canyon Journal, P.O. Box 646, Half~,=w.....~I:I... -.- .-r?~L'=-4. ~ . ~ ~ - ' ~ f ' ) ..... ~ "~ "~ Member or'the Oregon ~ Pgll~r~ ~.r,,t~Utltio~ by Steve Bagwell they are effectively shut out. we choose to organize our- Idealism drove me into this Combinethatwiththeroot- selves --- rather than sub- business 25 years ago. Andlesaness of our highly mobile stance -- what we have to sometimes I fear idealism will late-20thcentury society. The show when the pape r meets drive me back out again, be- existing alienation of thethe reader. fore retirement gives me ahave-nots in an increasingly Andwhenwe do get around more graceful exit. polarized economy. The de-to discussingcontent, the dia- There was a time, not too creasing literacy and increas- logue is all-too-often framed many years back, when ingviolence ofouryouth andin terms of how to become as American newspapers valuedan abiding cynicism growing vacuous as our competition policyoverprocess,substance inexorably out of Vietnam,rather thanhow to become as over style and fact over fancy. Watergate and the King andsubstantive as we once were. When they drew distinctions Ke.nnedy assassinations. Eliminating the city desk between public performanceIt's no wonder the likes of and establishing a mall beat and private behavior. WhenGeraldo Rivera, Rush may make us trendy, but it they held to high standards. Limbaugh and the National will not, I submit, help us even ifthecompetitiondidn't. Enquirer have come to the restore this nation's moral, Increasingly, that's not the fore in our stead, injecting social and political cement. case. From The New York voyeurism, bombast, malice, And that is where I find the Times on down, newspapers innuendo, gossip and greedreal challenge. seem to be losing their way. into our cultural dialogue. Public journalism, bent on Is this a reflection of things But do we have to stand restoring a sense of commu- gone terribly wrong in ouridly by, watching it happen? nity to the body politic, on culture? Yes, it probably is. Worse, do we have to emulate resuming political agenda- Does that give us a legitimate it in a diluted and disingenu- setting to the people and on out? No, it certainly does not. ous way, pleading competi-reviving our faith in the abil- We have traditionally led tire pressures? ity of government to make a the way in establishing this I think not. positive difference in our lives, nation's moral and political Accordingtothecrystalball may well represent a step in course. It is a mission of im- crowd, it doesn't really mat- the right direction. mense importance -- one weter what I think or what we We have suffered an enor- should not lightly abandon, do. In their view, the corn- mous failure of spirit in the particularly when there is no puter is about to sweep us all latter halfofthis century. We responsible successor waiting asideanyway, no longer confess trust in any- in the wings. Well, I don't buy that el-thing or anyone, lest we come Certainly, it has become ther. They said the same thing under ridicule for our naivete. harderforustoleadandeasierabout radio, then television. Certainly, welongforsome for us to follow. But neither managed to pull reason to believe in our politi- For starters, we have lostit off, and I don't think the calleaders and care about our" our dominance as an informa- computer will either, political process. If the public tion provider in this increas- Today's computer funnels journalism movement can do ingly electronic age. an enormous volume of unor- that, it willhave made a mean- First it was AM radio, then ganized and often unreliable ingful contribution indeed. broadcast television. In their data to a narrow elite able to But with or without fresh wake came FM radio, cable commitsubstantialresources, intellectual concepts like pub- television, satellite television, There is" no indication that lic journalism, which some the fax* machine and the tomorrow's computerwill fun- consider nothing more than a audiotext system. Finally, the nel alikevolume of organized, new name for a time-honored advent of the personal corn- reliable data to a mass clien- mission we have neglected in puter added bulletin boards, tele at an affordable price -- recent years, we should each on-line services, desktop pub- something newspapers have be able to hold the line in our lications, the Internet and the no trouble doing, day in and home communities. All it World Wide Web to the out. takes is the will to exhibit Peoplerelyingonradioand We can't afford, in any independence ofthoughtand television for news and enter- event, to sit around wringing action, ignoring what spews tainment tend to do so in the our hands about what evolv- from tabloid TV and talk ra- isolation oftheirownhomes,ing computer technology dio, and even, sometimes, cutting them off from their might mean to us in the years from networkTV and national friends and neighbors. People ahead. We have all we can newspapers. relying on computers tend to handleinaddressingwhatailsIf one editor worries about do so in the isolation of their us in our current competitive Lewiston and another wor- own rooms, cutting them off environment,, and that's riesaboutWenatchee, noedi- even from the other members where our focus ought to be. tor will have to worry about of their households. Unfortunately, few of the the world at large. A solution Computer devotees corn- concepts being bandied about here and a solution there will municate with others of their in our newsrooms and board- have combined to give us a kind, to be sure, but in arooms show much promise, solution everywhere. strangely distant and imper- We rightfully rue the pro-By the time we enter the sonal way. It's a solitary put- cess-over-substance trend in 21st century, we might find suit, if ever there was one. politics, which has left much such a grass-roots rebellion And because discourse by of our political coverage be- making a meaningful differ- computer requires both fman- reft of meaning. Yet we talk ence --and I might, most cial means and technical endlessly about process our- gratefully,fmdcontinuedpur- know-how, it tends to stratify selves, pose in how I make my living. rather than unify. Millions of Quality circles Empower- Americans have neither ac-ment. The maestro concept.Steve Bagwellismanaging e today ngr ,r asooabl9 ejader#hip b co, mgai teq.Al! ed, i t,~,gf~EB~lH` ck'qlcdtY