Pike cancels subscription to The Columbian

On Nov. 1, Liz Pike canceled her subscription to The Columbian.

Pike, a Republican state representative and former candidate for Clark County Chair, remarked the paper had “lost all journalistic integrity.”

It’s no secret some members of the Clark County Republican party feel the paper is biased against them. (So do some members of the Clark County Democratic party.)

County Councilor David Madore has coined his own slogan when it comes to the newspaper; he won’t speak to any reporters because it’s akin to “giving matches to arsonists.”

When Jim Moore was growing up his father was a county commissioner in Southern Oregon. Moore, now a political scientist and the director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., said his father subscribed to every single paper in the county.

“A lot of them had editorial pages that disagreed with him,” Moore said. “That doesn’t matter. You have to know what’s happening out there.”

What’s more, Moore’s father found value in hearing from dissenting opinions, he said. The goal of reading the newspaper, after all, is not to simply reinforce existing opinions.

Moore also raised a key distinction, which in an era of cable television news is becoming more difficult to explain but arguably more relevant than ever — there is a difference between the editorial page and news stories. Despite what people may believe, those who write opinion pieces for The Columbian do not interfere with news coverage.

Since covering state politics for The Columbian, I’ve relied on Pike as a source. When she tried to pass a measure carving out $100,000 for a bi-state bridge coalition in Olympia last session, she was transparent about both her efforts and ultimately her failure.

The articles weren’t flattering, nor were they unflattering. They were the facts, so people in Clark County had an idea of what their elected officials were up to in Olympia, a hundred miles up the road.

It’s evident the nation is becoming increasingly partisan. We see it in the inability of Congress to pass a budget and the overtime sessions in state Legislatures.

A recent PEW study showed, “Today 92% of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat, and 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican.”

“I’ll go out on a limb,” Moore said. “For an elected official to willingly say they do not want to know what all the people in their district think and know about is a dereliction of their duty of an elected official. You are elected to represent everybody, not just the people who agree with you.”

I reached out to Pike in the hopes of getting more context about her decision.

She texted: “I’m proud to support our community newspapers including The Reflector and the Camas Post Record. These publications have so much to offer the communities in my district. With a more balanced approach to political reporting, I am certain the Columbian would see a resurgence of subscribers, perhaps even mine. Merry Christmas to you and yours.”

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or lauren.dake@columbian.com. Follow her on Twitter .

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