Thursday, January 19, 2006


This beast has taken off. A mere 9 days ago, I was killing time while a repairman worked on the furnace so I decided to set up a blog. There were over 800 hits by today, and it’s been mentioned in the “Willamette Week”, or if you’ve seen their ads, the “Willamette By The Hour." God, I’m going to regret that crack when I start selling ads myself.
Let’s be clear: I’ve had tons of material that ultimately helped market things on the radio and TV, so a bigger whore does not walk this earth. Bill Maher, whom I once had an independent writing contract with, makes me smile when I see him on TV talking about how his “Politically Incorrect” network show didn’t sell out like the other talk shows. Listen, if you’re attracting viewers so that advertisers can sell them something, you might as well be holding up the product yourself. There are very few ways to avoid some level of whoredom in the media. It is not an easy place for the righteous.
You’re probably wondering how it went with Bill Maher: He had an arrangement on his old cable show, where you sent in a certain number of jokes and if they didn’t sell you’d have to wait something like 6 months to do it again. Plus he only used three or four a night, so it didn’t work out, which is a damn shame: I believe Bill Maher is a national treasure. But back to the matter at hand:
Some have accused me of using this blog to vent about Lora Cuykendall and my dismissal from the Trib. Once again, I never accused her of having me fired; I just sensed she didn’t like me. But if you’re pontificating on the merits of my columns one year, and the merits of the aerial tram the next, you are opening yourself up for a little blowback. The tram is a joke.
By the way, I never claimed there was a connection between Lora’s job, and the Oregonian’s editorial position on the tram. Before this is over, they might be looking for an explanation for why they thought the tram was such a nifty idea, but for now, let’s just say they reached their ridiculous conclusions completely on their own.
Indeed, things were sailing along quite well, weren’t they? Then one column by Phil Stanford, that compared the tram to a ski lift, drew Lora out.
She wrote her former paper a snippy little letter about Phil, and if she hadn’t done that, none of this would have happened. She has only been working at OHSU 2 months, according to what I’ve read, and things were going great. But that letter announced to Portland that she was defending the tram, and now we have a little media storm. I believe if she had it to do over again, she might stick that letter in the garbage can.


At 9:01 AM, Blogger Rob said...

Bill, I'm loving your Blog. I have a question, though. Didn't the Trib have final say in whether or not to run your stories/articles/editorials? If they disliked them enough to fire you, why did they run them in the first place?

P.S. I originally posted this on another thread, but it was very, very old and you probably didn't see it.

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Dear Rob,
Thanks for the positive feedback. First, I never said Lora fired me; I just sensed she didn't like me.
Second, I could tell you what I was told specifically but that compromises other individuals. It was about Iraq.
Let's just say that a newspaper isn't an independent entity unto itself. Just prior to getting fired I was given a raise.
I also offered to write for free. For example I had one free one in last April, so it wasn't a money concern. --Bill McDonald

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Well, I gues I'll just have to chalk it up to not knowing enough about the newspaper biz. I do know enough about it to be happy I'm not involved.

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