Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bulletin Firing Makes Statewide News

The story of a Bulletin reporter who was fired after complaining about how the paper was spinning its real estate coverage went statewide this afternoon

Posted By on Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 5:29 PM

The story of a Bulletin reporter who was fired after complaining about how the paper was spinning its real estate coverage went statewide this afternoon when Oregon Public Broadcasting picked it up.

OPB reporter Ethan Lindsey described how ex-Bulletin reporter David Fisher was skeptical of appraiser Dana Bratton's public prediction on Feb. 25 that the sagging local real estate market would perk up within two months and got comments from experts who questioned it.

But when Fisher picked up his copy of the paper at breakfast next morning, Lindsey said, he "almost spit out his coffee" because the skeptical quotes had been edited out.

After staying home a couple of days to cool off, Fisher confronted his boss, Business Editor John Stearns, and told him he was unhappy about the way his story had been cut and, more generally, about how he was being pressured to spin real estate stories in a positive direction.

"To me, that [Bratton story] was a harbinger of worse things to come and I really didn't want to put my name on it anymore," Fisher told Lindsey. The following day, Fisher was fired.

Bratton's remarks were made at a meeting to kick off the Central Oregon Builders Association and Central Oregon Association of Realtors "Best Buyers Market in 20 Years" campaign - a campaign that, among other things, aims to turn the market around by using the builders' and realtors' "economic influence" to get the local media to report more "good news."

"We want to make sure that the media knows that if things are going bad for the entire industry, it's going to affect them as well," COBA Executive Director Tim Knopp told Lindsey. "And it has. We just need balance. We'd have discussions with any media outlet about that and I think they want to do that."

Lindsey reported that "other local outlets, including the Sisters Nugget newspaper and Bend Living magazine, also say they have heard criticism from advertisers that negative media is hurting the housing market."

Bulletin Editor John Costa declined to discuss the details of Fisher's departure, but denied the paper is caving in to the real estate and development lobby and dismissed the Bratton story as minor.

"Frankly, in the grand scheme of real estate stories, it ranks, I don't even think it achieves the middle," Costa said. "It's basically one of those stories that we all do, you do them too, in which an editor says go to the luncheon, cover what is said at the luncheon, and that's what came back."

Costa also said he's chummy with realtors and other advertisers, but denied that affects how the paper covers stories.

"A lot of the people who are our advertisers, I know them," he said. "We all know them. I've been around here, myself, my family, my kids, my boss. We play golf. We go to charity events, we raise money together for causes. So I know them. If they want to talk to me, I am perfectly happy to take calls from them."

You can read a full transcript of the OPB report here.

Meanwhile, The EYE can't wait to see how Bratton's prediction pans out. April 25 is the magic date - mark your calendars.

  • Pin It

Comments (11)

Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

More by H. Bruce Miller

  • Who is John Galt? Who Gives a Crap?: Atlas Shrugged's tea party flops hard

    Members of the Ayn Rand cult have waited 54 years for a movie version of her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged. They finally have one that's true to the letter and spirit of the book. And that's the problem.
    • May 11, 2011
  • LandWatch Goes to the Mattresses Over Resorts

    The fight over Deschutes County's new destination resort rules isn't finished yet: Central Oregon LandWatch has put the county on notice that it plans to challenge them. LandWatch filed ìnotices of intent to appealî Thursday with the state Land Use Board of Appeals, charging that the county's new rules for determining what lands are eligible for resorts ìactually increase the development potential in the county.
    • Aug 23, 2010
  • Waste and Fraud: Walden Goes After the Big Game

    Eastern Oregon's own Rep. Greg Walden and a couple of other Republican congressmen have unleashed their righteous wrath on a federal program that helps low-income folks heat their homes.
    • Jul 2, 2010
  • More »

Latest in The Wandering Eye

  • Moonshine Magic in Bend Still on the Down Low

    Get ready for our great close-up on the home distilling community out next week in our "Best of" issue. We interviewed a mixed bag of legal and anarchist distillers in Bend to find out why distilling is so very, very against the law in one's home.
    • Aug 9, 2012
  • The Eye Wanders Off Into the Sunset

    I’m really sorry to break the bad news to them during this season of peace and goodwill, but after this week the right-wingers in Bend and vicinity won’t have The Wandering Eye to kick around anymore. The decision to stop writing this blog was my own, and it was prompted by several factors.
    • Dec 26, 2010
  • DADT, Gay-Bashing and the "Icky-ness" Factor

    For the past week or so, “Zeo” of the NW Republican blog has had his jock strap in a knot over the prospect of Congress repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” rule. To hear Zeo tell it, if DADT is repealed and gays are allowed to serve openly in the US military it will mean the end not only of our armed forces but of America, its economic system and civilization in general.
    • Dec 19, 2010
  • More »

© 2016 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation