June 28th, 2012 5:05 pm | Aaron Mesh News | Posted In: City Hall, PDX Votes, Media

Hales Tells Tribune that The Oregonian Smeared Him

Hales to O: "My reputation was torn apart on the front page"

halesCharlie Hales and staffer Josh Alpert look at results on primary election night in May 2012.

Mayoral candidate Charlie Hales tells The Portland Tribune that The Oregonian has falsely accused him of lying about going on a neighborhood tour of St. Johns.

Hales admits a campaign volunteer lifted lines from an April 21 Oregonian story about a community policing in St. Johns, in order to write a letter to the editor of the St. Johns Review.

Hales gave The Tribune what he says is the volunteer's original draft of the letter—which never explicitly says Hales was a firsthand observer on the ride-along. Hales also gave The Tribune emails between himself and The Oregonian, which ran a front-page story about the copying, followed by an editorial and a cartoon.

The emails between Hales and The O show the candidate growing increasingly irate after the paper's editor, Peter Bhatia, dismisses his complaint as semantics.

"Whether this rises to the level of a charge of plagiarism I will leave to those more versed in journalistic practice," Hales writes to Bhatia. "But this was used to LOFT A STORY THAT FALSELY ACCUSES ME OF BEING A LIAR ONTO PAGE A1. I cannot imagine the failure to credit the Oregonian for an anecdote you originally published would rise to a story, much less a front page screamer."

Hales then went up the chain of command to publisher N. Christian Anderson III.

"The letter sent to the St. Johns Review was not what was printed in the St. John Review," Hales tells Anderson. "The Oregonian reports, in their haste, missed that crucial difference, and my reputation was torn apart on the front page of the Oregonian."

In his reply, Anderson counsels patience.

"Please let the process play out," the publisher writes. "You don't help yourself by continuing to yell at the editor."

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