The “other” is a matter of degree, not of kind

Poll workers train for conflict: ‘A little nervous? I am.’

By the staff writers

November 18, 2013

In October the Portland Press Herald ran a front-page article about the need for new and better tactics for dealing with the “militarization” of our local news media and, more broadly, with “new media” and the “War on Terror.” The article was widely and favorably reviewed in the media and by other sources, with a few individuals making serious criticisms of the piece. (The article is available online in full here.)

I’m glad they did. It’s not that I think that newspaper editors and reporters should have to get more “practical” in their thinking, but I do think that they should not be so complacent. When “the press,” in the broadest sense, is the “other” in any discussion of a conflict, the “other” is a matter of degree, not of kind. It’s not enough for many Americans to be upset about the “war on terror”; it’s necessary for them to take the “other” side of the line in defense of the “way things are.”

While we’re on the subject of “journalism,” the Press Herald’s Portland bureau has now made clear that it takes its war with the “other” seriously.

In its second story on its investigative website, the Oregonian’s Portland bureau reported that volunteers with their own “Paid Watch” group were training at the Oregon Military Museum in Portland, meeting with members of Portland police and the Portland Police Bureau, and working with their local police partners of the Portland Police Bureau’s Citizens On Patrol program for “preventing and resolving conflict at our events.”

The Portland Police Bureau’s Citizens On Patrol program is designed “to give the public a better understanding of our police officers’ role in the protection of our city,” according to the PBP

Leave a Comment