Posted by: MikeP | October 19, 2015

Does Fallout from Kitzhaber Email Scandal Contradict the Propaganda Model?

Our reading has a section discussing The Propaganda Model, an idea proposed by Chomsky and Herman (pg. 86). The model explores an assumption that the media “serve the dominant elite, and that this is as true when the media are privately owned without formal censorship of content as when they are directly controlled by the state.”

There’s something playing out in Oregon media right now that directly contradicts this model.

On September 9, the Salem Statesman Journal published a story claiming The Oregonian and Willamette Week got several details wrong in their coverage of the email scandal that led to Kitzhaber’s resignation earlier this year.

An October 11 article from the Salem Statesman Journal reports:

“… in corrections printed on Page 2A of the Sept. 9 and 13 editions of The Oregonian, five months later, the paper acknowledged errors in those stories, which had helped shape the conversation at the time the governor resigned.”

The Statesman Journal story also implicates Willamette Week’s Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nigel Jaquiss and last week the paper’s publisher Mark Zusman got involved, defending Jaquiss on OPB’s Think Out Loud.


Count it.

FOUR organizations with FOUR different owners engaged in a media battle royale over an issue that led to a dominant elite politician resigning – seemingly contradicting the foundation of the Propaganda Model.

Is our media, even in this insane digital era, working better than the cynics might lead us to believe?

I don’t know, but grab a bag of popcorn, this should be interesting.

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