Never believe anything until it is officially denied. --Claud Cockburn
I'm sure what they did to me is nothing in comparison to what other activists and organizations are going thru right now, also that this is certainly not the beginning nor will it be the end of the disinformation and slander that I face in the media in my little life; most of the lies more than I ever bother to challenge. I also understand this is one of those free entertainment tabloid hardly worth anyone's effort. However, since this article will be available on their internet site it would be an error to leave it unchallenged.
During this investigation, I spent more time verifying a Chris Lydgate's gender mixup than he did researching a terrorist threat. In the course of speaking with a number of people in Portland, it became apparent there is resentment in the community because the newspaper attempts to make their newspaper more relevant than an entertainment guide, and to get more readers, by contriving controversy around individuals, then censoring rebuttals and any letters that voice a different opinion from theirs.
The purpose of this Rage Page is for people to write their opinions about this particular piece of McCarthyish journalism, or their general and specific disagreements with the Willamette Week newspaper. That is the only purpose of this Rage Page and all off topic posts will be removed. Please note that we are in no way affiliated with the Willamette Week newspaper. Quiet the contrary.
Mad at sloppy journalism? Mad about McCarthyism aimed at activists? Mad at the Willamette Week for any reason at all? Just hate the whole media? Say it here.Thanks for signing our Rage Page. -- Write Nikki Craft at
UPDATE: This stands as my reply since they never published my letter (printed below) in their publication or on their internet version. --NC
|Thinking Inside the Box
BY Chris Lydgate
Last week, an unknown left-wing propagandist slipped dozens of tabloid-size fliers into WW newspaper boxes in inner Southeast Portland.
Illustrated by a grainy photograph of Osama bin Laden, the flier accuses the U.S. government of a familiar litany of crimes, ranging from the genocide of Native Americans to the invasion of Grenada to the deliberate creation of poverty in the U.S.
"Create your own Jihad, take immediate action, and destroy the greatest evil on the planet...the U.S. Government," the flier concludes. "FIGHT THE REAL ENEMY BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!"
Five weeks ago, these sentiments would have hardly raised an eyebrow. In the wake of Sept. 11, they seem disturbing--almost perverse.
In an effort to track down the pamphleteer(s), WW entered the phrase "Wake Up Amerikkka" into our favorite search engine. We got 31 hits, perhaps the most interesting of which was an open letter written in February 1991 by radical feminist Nikki Craft, opposing the Gulf War. "Wake up Amerikkka and smell the blood on your hands!" Craft wrote, exhorting her readers to heed the words of Malcolm X: "By any means necessary."
Craft denies any connection to the fliers. "Nothing whatsoever to do with it," she told WW. "I'm too busy at the moment to do fliers, plus you can reach lots more people on the Internet."
1. Editors who censored this reply are John Schrag and Mark Zusman.
Anti-Gulf War Letter
Interesting links found with my search:
Wake up Amerikkka
Walter A. Hass School of Business, University of California at Berekely, California (1988 editorial about involvement in Iraq)
Thanks to Semira Dallali and michelle andreson.
What others have said
Tuesday, October 23rd 2001 - 09:42:10 PM
I think this was a gratuitous and thoughtless article, and I hope they see fit to print an apology. The reporter seemed completely unaware of the widespread use of the term "Amerikkka." and foolishly enamored of the power of the search engine. He might as easily have looked for mention of the name Osama or the colors black and white or the phrase "greatest evil on the planet" (the latter of which might have brought up George Bush's name!) The mention of Nikki Craft seemed to be his substitute for even the simplest real investigation.
Monday, October 22nd 2001 - 01:05:43 PM
This outrage doesn't surprise me at all. As a Portlander who's continually disgusted and pissed off by the WW male-driven leftist stance on everything--I find this incident as although ridiculous--one of their tamer shenanagins. Anyone who actually considers herself a women in her own power in the Portland area--knows not to take this publication seriously. WW is nothing but a bunch of Liberal Arts college graduate's looking to caplitalize on what little controversy they can find(or design) in the Portland area. Shame, shame Willamette Week.
Monday, October 22nd 2001 - 02:12:13 AM
This is simply an excuse for anti-feminist smear campaign against Nikki Craft, one of the ploys that intellectually-corrupted and socially irresponsbile people like to do. The media should exercise greater responsibility and care with how it presents news. Keep up with your great works Nikki - we know you are against acts of terrorism - whether delivered by state or non-state parties.
Sunday, October 21st 2001 - 11:09:07 PM
Outrageous. This is almost blood libel. Lydgate wrote that before sept 11 these sentiments (the ones on the pro-Bin Laden flyer) would have hardly raised an eyebrow but now they are disturbing and pervese.
Well, what does he think slandering someone as pro-Bin Laden is now, after people have been KILLED because they seem like they might be on the wrong side?!?!?!!!?
From what I know of Nikki Craft, I know she's not scared by bullshit like this. Still, that sensationalist smearing has to be seen for what it is.
SIGN OUR ANTI-WAR RAGE PAGE
Wake Up Amerikka!
My complete exchange with Chris Lygate, Willamette Week.
CHRIS LYGATE WROTE:
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 18:44:32 -0700
Could I talk to you about Wake Up Amerikkka?
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 21:45:22 -0600
Sure Chris, talk on about anything you like. :-) Nikki
CHRIS LYGATE WROTE:
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 10:36:34 -0700
Thanks for your email. I wrote to you because someone has been putting flyers in our newspaper boxes titled "WAKE UP AMERIKKKA" and I wondered if there was any connection.
connection to what? What do the ads say? Other than that is sounds like pretty good advice, but doubtful at this point it's going to happen. :-) Nikki
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 11:08:38 -0700
NIKKI REPLIES TO CHRIS LYGATE:
>connection to what? What do the ads
>say? Other than that is sounds
>like pretty good advice, but doubtful
>at this point it's going to happen. :-)
Well, the text includes these lines:
Wake up Amerikkka
Your US government is lying to you
Osama is telling the truth
The US Government, its agencies, and US capitalist interests have created and provoked the majority of terrorism. Bring the war home! Fight the real enemy By any means necessary!
>I wrote to you because I found an open
So my question is, are you connected in any way to these flyers?
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 11:53:50 -0700
CHRIS LYGATE WROTE:
Are you still there? Please reply ASAP.
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 12:40:27 -0700
CHRIS LYGATE WROTE:
Thanks for your email. I really appreciate your response.
Do you live in Portland? Is it fair to describe you as a radical feminist?
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 15:05:27 -0600
good lord, a reporter who cares about fairness? This is just toooo much to believe. :-) I hope you can live up to it in the context of the way you about to use my quotes tho I can't see why draw me into it except to say that I have no connection to it whatsoever. Isn't that a bit strange? I would like to see what you write, if you will please let me know where it will appear. Is that possible? My preference would be to describe me in this way: "a long-time political activist concerned about issues of justice" Otherwise, since you are asking, just describe me as a "political activist" because radical feminist doesn't describe me, it's too limiting and my activism in much broader than feminism. If you can use a sentence let me know and I'll write up one up for you. Nope, I never have lived in Portland, not even in the state. good luck with your article. Nikki
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 13:42:02 -0700
CHRIS LYDGATE WROTE:
I'm very sorry, but the article has already gone to press. I just asked the copy desk to see if they could recall it, but they said no go. Please accept my apologies.
The piece (which is less than 200 words) will appear in tomorrow's issue. You can find it on the web at www.wweek.com
Thanks for your help,
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 15:51:14 -0600
If you had already sent the article why bother to ask me if it was fair? Now I've got a question for you. How did you include me in your article and why when i told you I don't live in the area, and was not involved. Your story is 200 words. Did you just use me to make your story without persuing it any further? That's not investigative journalism, after all, doesn't sound like to me. Nikki
CHRIS LYGATE WROTE:
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 15:17:06 -0700
The piece went through the copy desk in between your first email and your second email. They held it as long as they could.
The story explains that we typed "Wake Up Amerikkka" into a search engine and came up with 31 hits, the most interesting of which was your web site. It does NOT accuse you of planting the fliers. It DOES includes your statement that you had nothing to do with it.
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 17:30:43 -0600
Okay chris, I'll see the article tomorrow. I'm sorry if I'm a bit jumpy. It concerns me to have myself defined with a limited term, in a community where my work is not known, when radical feminism in the public views has such negative conotations (for some of your readers you might as well have described me as a radical islamic bomber :-) when we are living in a time when people are getting all kinds of harassment, threats and physical attacks for speaking out, much less being associated with this kind of message on the streets. It like McCarthyism, like do you or have you ever been.....Your article could cause me to be investigated by law enforcement, which I don't care much care about, in this case, but in your profession I hope you are on the side of working in behalf of people's rights to speak out rather than trying to figure out how to expose them or shut them up just because you don't happen to agree with what, or feel threatened somehow about, what they are saying. Know what I mean? Thanks for the explanation and I'm glad you found our site interesting. :-) I'll let you know what I think after I've read what you wrote. Sincerely, Nikki
p.s. did you happen to use the quote about small pox and indians? I hope so.
CHRIS LYDGATE RESPONDS TO NIKKI:
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 18:16:39 -0700
After the article appeared Nikki wrote:
>1. Where else did the leaflet appear in the city except your newspapers boxes?
>2. Did you and your newspaper take this as a serious threat?
>3. What law enforcement agencies did you report this to? Please send me all contact information as I will be interviewing them for what I'm writing.
>4. How many people, organizations, agencies individuals did you contact in Portland or Oregon in the course of writing your article about a terrorist threat in Portland? I would be interested in an itemized list, partial or full, but will glad settle for the rounded off number. Was it 10? 20?
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 00:07:18 -0600
Thanks for your reply.
1. Why did you contact Red Rose School? What did they have to do with it?
2. How do I get a copy of the leaflet? Can you please fax me one?
3. How many searches did you do in the search engines? Do you consider your research sufficient for such an article?
4. Why did you not tell me the leaflet read: "Create your own Jihad, take immediate action" in the original email you sent me? That was a fairly magnificent omission, wasn't it?
5. You said in your article that these words would have hardly raised an eyebrow five weeks ago. If so why did you use my letter that was written ten years ago?
6. Do you consider your article to be responsible journalism?
7. Why don't you consider the leaflet a threat? Do you think other people in Portland and across the world would consider it a threat? And since you don't, why did you find it newsworthy at all, and why include such a poorly researched article in the same column you had run only a week or two ago about Anthrax threats to the media and how on edge journalists were fearing attacks?
8. Do you believe your research was sufficient considering your topic? Do you think it was fair to single an individual out, with guilt by association, where denials only imply more guilt, in such an article?
9. I would appreciate it if your paper would write something, an apology or explanation. Is that possible? Also, how many words will I be allowed for a letter to the editor, or preferably an editorial, to clear this matter up and respond to the issues and also will your newspaper reprint my original letter to remove it from the context of illegal acts against your newspaper and Osama bin Laden? Please speak with your editor and let me know.
Thank you for helping me with this information, Nikki Craft
CHRIS LYDGATE RESPONDS
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 10:30:28 -0700
I suggest you contact my editor, John Schrag.
Hi Chris, In fact that's what I'll be doing, hopefully later today. However, before I do I need to find out the answer to the questions that are directly related to you and that your editor will not be able to answer. As I replied to yours please have the same respect for my requests for information. If you are for some reason unable to reply, or don't know the answers to any of my question please feel free to note that. Thank you. Nikki Craft
[I deleted question #9 which was the only one not direclty relevant to Lydgate and still no reply.]
Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2001 15:07:14 -0600
CHRIS LYDGATE RESPONDS
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 18:17:18 -0700
I think we would both save a lot of time and heartache if we can talk on the phone instead of trading emails. Or, if you prefer, you can contact my editor, [Phone and email provided.] You are certainly welcome to submit a letter to the editor in addition.
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 20:27:35 -0600
Now seems like a pretty piss poor time to start talking on the phone, don't you think? Just please answer my questions. Thanks.
[Still no reply.]
More on the Willamette Week's lack of journalistic ethics, plagiarism and censoring responses.
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