To live and die in Portland

I last watched a segment of the PBS NewsHour in 2010 when Ray Suarez served up a paean to the alleged glories of the Cuban health care system. You had to be an idiot of the variety called useful (useful to Communists) to peddle that line 50 years ago. To peddle it in 2010 you had to be an idiot pure and simple, or an idiot for Obamacare.

My friend Evan Berquist now draws my attention to NewsHour producer Elizabeth Flock’s profile of Trump supporters living in Portland, Oregon and the companion NewsHour segment. The second half of a series “on political divisions in unlikely places” (that’s PBS talking), Flock’s report is posted online as “For Trump supporters in Portland, the left is the face of intolerance.”

Flock’s report carries the unmistakable signs of its provenance at PBS. Referring to a rally against “the supposed spread of sharia law in America,” Flock adds parenthetically that “legal experts say [fears] are based on myths and hysteria.”

Flock’s piece is nevertheless worth a look. It won’t come as news to anyone living in a leftist one-party metropolitan setting such as Los Angeles or Seattle or Minneapolis or Chicago. Portland is something like Anywhere, USA in its hostility to nonconforming thought. Those who make their dissent visible put their lives and property at risk. Flock zooms in on free spirits including Helen Church and recent conservative convert (and “trans lesbian atheist”) Athena Brown.

Flock’s report is good in itself, but it can also serve as a case study. It is a case study in what Victor Davis Hanson calls “The fifth American war.”

Flock joined host Judy Woodruff to discuss her Portland report in a PBS NewsHour segment for which the video and transcript are posted here. Flock identified one of the difficulties she had to overcome in her reporting: “There’s the perception that the news is very liberal…” Now that’s funny.

Flock and Woodruff present Portland as the mirror image Buckhannon, West Virginia, the subject of Flock’s “A women’s movement grows in ‘the most Trumpian place in America.'” It’s not even close, but close enough for PBS.

Quotable quote (Flock paraphrasing Athena Brown): “You know, when I became — when I came out as transgender, I lost two friends. When I came out as Republican, I lost 100 friends on Facebook.”


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