There really needs to be some kind of societal consequences when virtue-signaling gets this sickening.
I suppose Major League Baseball still will win the prize for the most unethical and irresponsible virtue-signaling of the decade with its craven and ignorant abandonment of the 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta because Stacey Abrams told them to (and later criticized MLB for doing exactly what she had advised). In that case, businesses were hurt, the city lost money and commerce, and there were real and substantial detrimental effects on innocent, normal citizens, and all because a bunch of millionaires want to protest a new voting law that they hadn’t bothered to read. OK, now I’m mad about that fiasco all over again, so no, The Oregonian’s vomit-inducing mea culpa to the world is an unethical virtue-signaling as that of Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and his minions.
Nevertheless, the paper’s announcement from its Weally Woke editor Theresa Bottomly today is disgusting in a far more visceral way.
In a a special editorial called ‘I unreservedly apologize,’ Bottomly grovels an endless apology on behalf of her paper for…well, everything bad it hasn’t furiously opposed since its founding in 1861, and everything good it hasn’t promoted. Never mind that neither she (I assume, but she could be 150 years old I guess) nor anyone else connected with the paper were in a position to do any of the vast majority of what she’s apologizing for, she wants everyone to know that by not anticipating the natural and unavoidable evolution of cultural and societal values in the United States—an example of necromancy that would have exceeded the abilities of the Amazing Kreskin—the Portland paper was exactly as the Crazy Lady in “The Birds” pronounced Tippi Hedren in “The Birds”.”…
Oh, how terrible the Oregonian was before it learned the One True Way!
For decades following its founding as a daily in 1861, The Oregonian promoted racist and xenophobic views. Editorials and news articles were decidedly on the wrong side of morality. The institution stirred hatred, prejudice and unwarranted fear….And what role might The Oregonian have played in failing to seek redress for discrimination and prejudicial policies that laid the foundation for systems in place today? Or, worse, what role did the newspaper play in sustaining and promoting the dominant white culture in laws, institutions, and policies?
Ah, what might have been! The hubris of this embarrassing lament is almost as staggering as its arrogance: newspapers reflect the values of their communities, and while they have some influence over public opinion, they have nowhere near as much as journalists, or whatever Theresa Bottomly is, seem to think. The whole piece is an exercise in self-sanctified delusion:
The newspaper regularly referred to Black Oregonians by using the worst possible slur. The Oregonian belittled victims of actual and attempted lynching, as well as other brutal attacks. The newspaper demonized Black Oregonians and treated them as inferior, celebrating efforts to prevent them from voting, owning homes or having equal rights.
Yes, and that’s because that was what Americans for decades before and after 1861 called blacks. Then it was colored people. Then it was Negroes, then negroes, then “people of color,” and blacks, and Blacks. Why, oh why didn’t the Oregonian divine in 1900 how we would be discussing race in 2022? And now that I think about it, why isn’t Theresa prostrating herself because her paper didn’t call women “Ms,” and homosexuals “gays,” and didn’t argue for rights of the disabled or insist that men could get pregnant and that all a woman needed to do to become a man was to “identify” as one? Why wasn’t it condemning sexual harassment in 1953, before anyone had thought up the term?
The historical coverage was not solely responsible for discriminatory policies, practices or outcomes, of course, but when The Oregonian might have helped forge a better path, it frequently failed to do so. At times, it used its position of power to help lead those discriminatory efforts.
Huh. I wonder why. It’s a mystery! Sayeth Bottomly from the Bottom of her heart, bless it, “It would be far too easy, too facile, to say The Oregonian was simply a product of the times.” Not too easy, just easy, because that’s the truth. But, as we’ve all seen before (Obama <cough!>) apologizing for one’s predecessors who didn’t have the time, information, and experience you have had the benefit of over decades is a Leftist mania, a very cynical one. It makes the apologizer look good and superior, and requires no sacrifice or genuine regret and acceptance of responsibility at all. What a deal!
Naturally, the Oregonian attributes this orgy of self-flagellation to the sudden enlightenment provided “after George Floyd was murdered, [and] thousands of people marched in the streets to demand social justice… Some institutions, including a handful of newspapers, responded to the moment with sustained examinations of their histories in pursuit of strengthening the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.”
“Diversity, equity and inclusion”…which had absolutely nothing to do with the death of George Floyd. Journalism! But the wise Oregonian gave aid and comfort to those who were rioting, triggering violence, hardening racial divides and destroying businesses and lives. Luckily, in a hundred years or so, some future editor of the paper will apologize for that, since it was irresponsible and wrong. Unlike most of what Bottomly is groveling about, however, this was clear at the time.
Bottomly is especially ashamed of how Oregonian reporters and staff “failed to stand for the rights of Oregonians of Japanese descent when they were unjustly and without basis treated as the enemy and imprisoned during World War II.” Why couldn’t they see more clearly than virtually the entire non-Japanese-American population of the United States? Of course the internment of American citizens after Pearl Harbor was abhorrent, but this is ridiculous hindsight bias by the Oregonian. Americans had never been attacked before. The West Coast feared an invasion. After every unprecedented disaster the United States had experienced, its reactions in response have always been excessive and seemed extreme in retrospect, because, in retrospect, they have been—but human beings, and the governments they run, are like that, and always will be. The assassination of Abraham Lincoln…the First World War…The Great Depression…Pearl Harbor…the rise of Communism….9-11…the Wuhan Pandemic…all of these prompted panicked over-reactions that undermined rights and breached American values. That is how all societies react when they feel the earth shifting under them. Some of the most hallowed liberal jurists in Supreme Court history rubber-stamped the Japanese internment, but Theresa thinks that The Oregonian should have been able to see their folly. Sure. Journalists are that wise and prescient.
The fact that she would dare write such nonsense proves how wrong she is.
The irony is that since the death of George Floyd, The Oregonian has been complicit in turning Portland into the hell-hole it currently is, with the city over-run with homeless and crime surging. Bottomly and her cohorts, who are apologizing pitifully for their forebears not anticipating and avoiding all of society’s ills and error over more than a century, couldn’t run a bath. Apologizing for those long dead, however—that they can do with surgical precision.