Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

George W. Bush will draft your children!

That's what I think the headline should have been on today's Oregonian story about the state's selective service system.

The actual headline was "Oregon poised for unlikely military draft," and it talked about how the state is ready to implement a draft if the federal government started it up. The story came across as a dog-bites-man issue to me — there's no draft, and no plans to implement one, but we're going to raise the issue to stir up the anti-war crowd, and let them perpetuate John Kerry's draft scaremonger rumors:
  • Mike Weatherby, the mayor of Fairview and a member of the statewide Selective Service appeals board, said a draft is "inevitable given the situation overseas."
  • "The draft is a very real possibility," said Bill Galvin, counseling coordinator at the nonprofit Center on Conscience & War in Washington, D.C. "They just don't have the people they need."
They even managed to drag the Vietnam War into the story, quoting Stephen Johnson, who serves on a draft board in Lane County:
Johnson . . . holds a Ph.D. in sociology and has added a scholarly voice to peace-related debates, such as arms control. But he said his personal feelings about war and peace don't conflict with his service on a draft board.

"I thought draft boards in the Vietnam War acted very capriciously," said Johnson, who is old enough to have had friends who were killed in the war. Wanting the local boards to operate fairly, he said, "doesn't mean I support the draft."
The funny thing is that the story is located on the front of the Metro section, and appears to be a news story by Mike Francis. If you look on the Oregonian's website, however, it's listed as a column by Francis. A small issue of semantics? Not to me. A news story is supposed to reveal something important and newsworthy, with balance. A columnist has much more freedom to opine. (By the way, Francis is not listed among the Oregonian's columnists, so I'm not sure why his "news column" was listed as such.)

Francis has been one of the newspaper's main war reporters, including recent coverage of the Cindy Sheehan issue, so I wonder if he'd heard so much anti-Bush rhetoric in recent days that he started thinking a draft was really a newsworthy issue. To me, however, it was definitely not news story material.

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