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We don’t have a single problem at all with the conduct of the reporters at this endorsement meeting held by the Willamette Week. They asked the candidates running for the Republican Senate nomination to attend a group interview; about an hour in, one of the candidates, Joe Rae Perkins, was giving a very long answer over a phone line, and reporter Nigel Jaquiss apparently was tired of it — he started writing “blah blah blah blah” in his notebook. Another candidate, Mark Callahan, saw this, and decided to be chivalrous, standing up for Perkins and her constitutional right to have every single word carefully transcribed by each reporter in the room, which is what the First Amendment is all about, after all. It’s right in there next to the part about how no one on TV can lose their job just for expressing their personal opinion.

Callahan got a tad pissy, saying to Jaquiss,

I see what you’re writing down there. You just wrote down “blah blah blah blah” for everything that Jo Rae said. Jo Rae is a respectable woman. Why are you not respecting her by writing “blah blah blah blah” in your notepad?

After Callahan, an IT professional making his first bid for public office, grumped a bit more about the need to “give respect to get respect,” Editor-in-Chief Mark Zusman asked him if he thought that climate change was real, and Callahan answered simply, “It’s a myth,” which prompted Jaquiss to ask, “Where are you on the Easter Bunny?”

Callahan was not especially pleased by that very disrespectful question in response to his considered scientific opinion, and launched into another lecture of the disrespectful reporters:

Are these really the questions that I was called here to answer? I called you out for putting “blah blah blah” on your notepad on now you’re asking me questions like this? Really? Really, are we talking about this now?

We would just like to note that Callahan very pointedly did not take a position on the Easter Bunny, either. After Zusman asked, “Can I now move on and get the response from somebody else?” and reminded Callahan that if he kept interrupting, he’d be asked to leave, Callahan snorted and said, “Who do you think you are?” We’ve watched the video about seven or eight times now, and he’s still infuriating. Zusman said Callahan was done, and that “This meeting is neither ‘fair nor balanced'” — a reference to an earlier complaint by Callahan that he was not getting as may questions as the two front-runners were. And then he was pointed to the door. Callahan left, but not before whining that the whole ordeal was being run by “thin-skinned liberals” who were just not being fair. To a guy who’s raised a bit over $20,000 for a statewide race.

For what it’s worth, we left the recording going so you can hear the rest of the candidates explain their position on climate change. Will you be astonished that they don’t think it’s real, or if it is, it’s not caused by humans? Eventually, Willamette Week gave their endorsement (for the Republican race) to Jason Conger, the guy who said that he’s not convinced by climate change deniers or advocates, so to be on the safe side, he’d vote against any measure to reduce greenhouse gases. Their endorsement for the Democratic primary is incumbent Jeff Merkley, who is unopposed.

We just want to thank the good folks of Willamette Week for refusing to suffer fools gladly. As they explain on their webpage with the full video of the 90-minute interview,

we make the rules clear: Our goal is not to provide equal time to all candidates, but to explore questions that we think matter most to our readers.

It’s kind of refreshing, we think.

Update/Correction: This post originally got the name of the newspaper wrong: It’s Willamette Week, not Weekly. Wonkette regrets the error. We bet they get tired of that!

[Willamette Week / Slate / Romenesko / OregonLive]

Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He thinks he knows who they are: They are reporters.

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