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Hypocrisy on Display in Oregon

Hypocrisy on Display in Oregon March 26, 2012

You may have heard about the death of Bob Caldwell, the longtime editor of The Oregonian in Portland. You may even have heard that the paper initially lied and said that he had died in his car when, in reality, he had died during sex with a 23-year old call girl. But did you know that Caldwell had published lots and lots of editorials against prostitution over the years?

Since 2000, The Oregonian, with Caldwell as editorial page editor, published at least 16 unsigned editorials on prostitution.

“Some people will tell you that prostitution is a victimless crime,” an Oregonian editorial said in 2001. “They’re wrong…. [W]hen you think about it, you realize prostitution isn’t ‘victimless’ even when prostitutes reach the grand old ages of 15 or 17 or 19.”

In 2008, another Oregonian editorial linked prostitution to “distress, blight and violence,” and noted that many women in the sex trade “are victims of incest and abuse, have a parent in prison or a drug problem.”

In another 2008 editorial, the newspaper lamented the “betrayal” of then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who’d been caught in a prostitution scandal.

“He of all people understood the bright line between legal and illegal conduct, between public trust and opprobrium, and between treating people like human beings and treating them as objects,” the editorial said. “If he indeed consorted with high-priced call girls…he is guilty of criminality, indecency and gross hypocrisy, making it unimaginable that he can govern his state effectively again.”

As recently as 2010, The Oregonian editorialized in favor of a city proposal to seize assets—including cars and cash—from pimps and johns.

“The embarrassment factor probably doesn’t weigh heavily on pimps,” the newspaper’s editorial said, “but with johns, it’s a different story.”

The only shocking thing about this is that he isn’t a Republican politician.


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