November 1st, Portland Mercury recently published a factually weak article by Doug Brown, accusing Commissioner Loretta Smith of illegally “Raking in cash for a city council run.” They accuse Smith of improperly fundraising for her future political campaign. The article was not properly researched and is another example of careless racist journalism in Portland Oregon. This attack on Loretta Smith is another way white-owned and operated Portland newspapers can play fast and loose with the truth whenever a black leader is involved or has a position of power.
The Mercury doesn’t appear committed to accuracy in journalism if it concerns black people in Portland, even respected black leaders like Loretta Smith. For a Newspaper that appears to support The Portland Resistance, shouldn’t the Mercury’s young white reporters also check their facts? The City Charter amended their rules to make it legal to fundraise while also working another position and if they had done their homework, the Mercury would know that. Or maybe they knew already but just didn’t care.
This form of racial bias in journalism proves the point many critics of white liberal media have; that wealthy and influential white media do not genuinely care about African Americans in general, black Portlanders specifically and black leaders in particular. The Mercury also doesn’t seem to care about the role of black leadership or in how they are unjustly smeared in print.
This article by the Mercury is a humiliating demonstration regarding exactly how black leaders in Portland are held to a different standard. Would The Mercury have written such an accusatory and suggestive article about a white candidate running for office? It is unlikely.
Loretta Smith has shared information with me regarding the charter rule that was amended the first of January 2017 that allows her the leeway to do what she’s done.
I challenge the Portland Mercury to admit their factual error and their racism in how they threw Loretta Smith under the bus.
I challenge The Portland Mercury to APOLOGIZE to Commissioner Smith and all the black residents of Portland for their careless article. I challenge the Mercury to stop hiring only white staff writers and to practice what they preach about truly recognizing and promoting racial diversity and most importantly racial equity and equality for the black residents of Portland.
2017 needs to be the year Portland media makes some big changes if they expect to b taken seriously. This process begins when they stop excluding people of color from leadership roles or in political debates as happened last year. This process begins by not attacking black leaders as easy targets and smearing their names in print simply because they can.
Other national newspapers and social justice organizations are watching Portland. There are other individuals and entities in this nation who are watching “The Whitest City” in the country, including some well-known journalists and even The Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Portland Mercury, Willamette Week, and the Oregonian newspapers must learn to adapt to a changing political climate due to racial discrimination that continues to infect this country, and to the greater expectations that accompany that shift. These newspapers must stop promoting shoddy yellow journalism and the blatant racism that goes with that.
They need to hire more black staff writers, and journalists and focus on issues and black concerns. They need to stop merely talking the talk of diversity and inclusion. They need to start walking the walk and that means action, and doing.
Facebook Post to Fred Stewart from Loretta Smith
Loretta Smith Fred, I want to first say I am following the Multnomah County Charter rules.
Jules Bailey did the same thing last year when he ran for Mayor and the Portland Mercury did not do write an inflated story on his legality. I just want to be treated fairly by you and the press.
Secondly, I do not want a compliment from you every time you see me about my beauty or attractiveness for the rest of my life. That is not necessary.
You have have an important voice that is needed and should be heard on housing. Insulting my integrity and repeating misinformation will only distract you and others from your real gift and expertise on housing issues that must be shared during this crisis.
Many folks are not aware that there are new rules that former Commissioners did not have. Below are the new rules effective January 1, 2017.
All the papers have this too. They chose to give their story a different slant and focus. Sir, I believe you owe me an apology.
Peace and blessings to you.
4.20. Terms Of Office; Successive Terms; Running For Office In Midterm.
(3) Effective January 1, 2017, Commissioners of Multnomah County may run for the Office of Chair of Multnomah County mid-term without resigning their current elected office. No elected official of Multnomah County may run for another elective office in midterm without resigning first. Filing for another office in midterm shall be the same as a resignation, effective as of date of filing. “Midterm” does not include the final year of an elected official’s term. Filing for another office in the last year of an elective term shall not constitute a resignation.
[Amendment (ballot measure 26-76) adopted by people Nov. 3, 1998; amendment (ballot measure 26-78) adopted by people May 16, 2006; amendment (ballot measure 26-182) adopted by people Nov. 8, 2016]