MEDIA WATCH: A “New” Face at the Oregonian Editorial Board: N. Christian Anderson III

Sometime in the past two months, the Oregonian quietly added a “new” member to the paper’s infamously right-wing editorial board: Their infamously right-wing publisher, N. Christian Anderson III.

Editorial MastheadSince he took over as publisher in 2009, the entire paper, especially the editorial board, has shifted further to the right to match his views. He sat in on endorsement interviews and in 2010 wrote that, “I always reserve the right as the publisher to determine our editorial position…” (He claimed at the time that that hadn’t happened yet.)

But he also changed the paper’s longstanding management structure. Traditionally, the editorial page editor would report to the executive editor of the newspaper, who in turn reported to the publisher. But Anderson consolidated his authority by having the editorial page editor report directly to him.

After veteran editorial page Bob Caldwell passed away, Anderson was able to hire a replacement who would more directly carry his positions on issues (and whose employment would be more directly attributable to Anderson). He hired Erik Lukens from the Bend Bulletin, home of the then-most-conservative editorial page in the state. Then, Anderson showed the door to David Sarasohn, the editorial board’s most reliably liberal voice. (Sarasohn still writes a column for the paper, but no longer serves on the editorial board.)

Oregonian Publisher N. Christian Anderson IIIThe result has been an undeniable, inelegant shift toward positions that are more conservative, pro-corporate, and anti-worker—frankly, even becoming even more at odds with the paper’s readership base.

Now, they’ve just gone ahead and done away with the façade that Anderson merely has some influence over the board, and have embedded him as an official member, codifying what was already obvious to anyone paying attention.

Meanwhile, circulation numbers at the Oregonian aren’t looking so hot…

22 Responses to “MEDIA WATCH: A “New” Face at the Oregonian Editorial Board: N. Christian Anderson III”

  1. Erik Lukens

    Your speculation is fascinating, but contradicts the facts. Nobody “quietly added a new member” to the editorial board in the last couple of months. Chris has always been a member of the editorial board. I forgot to include him in the edit board explainer box I put together and plugged him back in when I realized he wasn’t there. No grand conspiracy. In response to your characterization of our editorial views, by the way, I’d like to note that we (and, enthusiastically, Chris) support marriage equality, driver cards, tuition equity, a woman’s right to choose and other matters. I’m pleased that you read our editorials, but you really should read them all.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      We also recently cancelled our subscription of many years.
      The quality and range of the paper has plummeted.

      Reply
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  2. Mary

    My family has had a subscription to the Oregonian for many years, and I concur that the editorial board has become increasingly unbalanced in its libertarian and right wing opinions.
    http://thesockeye.org/2014/03/05/the-oregonians-astonishing-argument-against-legal-justice-for-corporations/
    Corporate personhood, which the editorial board is all for, is an abomination to democracy. Thomas Jefferson spoke out against this very problem.
    If you want to pass this along to N. Christian Anderson III: I enjoy reading the online version of the O, but am really amazed at the incredible shrinking content the O has pulled off this past year. Truly dismal.

    Reply
  3. Camille Hall

    I just cancelled my subscription after 20 years. I wish I had a better choice!

    Reply
  4. Barbara Branham

    We had subscribed to the Oregonian since our arrival in Oregon 28 years ago. I cancelled our subscription a couple of months ago. This was a difficult decision as we really want local news but seeing the Oregonian deteriorate to what it is today was very distressing. The first blow was losing the wonderful editorial cartoonist, Jack Ohman, one of the most talented in the nation. He was replaced mostly by lackluster cartoonists and more and more of those were conservative. The best newspapers have always been more liberal as generally liberals present a broader view of the world. The Oregonian has become a sad remnant of what it once was but with color!! photos. Does the Oregonian think we are children, that everything can be fixed with color? Sounds like the newspaper is getting worse, if that is possible.

    Reply
  5. Harry The Hat

    I just cancelled our subscription to the Oregonian. Not happy at all with the editorial board, in particular, Eriik Lukens. The elimination of David Sarasohn was a great loss as well. Another reason, not being allow to subscribe to just the digital edition. I’m hoping the paper can reverse itself so that I can resubscribe in the future.

    Reply
  6. yagottabekiddingme

    Cancelled subscription after the Big O came out against funding legal aid with Cy Pres funds for ripping of and killing Oregonian’s. BP was ordered to pay the $ they ripped of from hundreds of thousands of Oregonians by an Oregon jury but were gonna keep if the legislature did not direct them to Legal Aid. Big Tobacco settled and agreed to pay but are now fighting what they agreed to pay. Truly a travesty of Justice and the Editorial Opinion and reasoning was laughable. Bye, bye O.

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