Thursday, May 20, 2004

Syndicated right-wing columnist and talking head Cal Thomas lies about the media, apparently, in this column about our supposed anything-goes culture:

The former governor of Oregon, Neil Goldschmidt, admits to having had sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was mayor of Portland. In most places that’s called statutory rape, but the Oregonian newspaper at first chose to categorize it as adultery.

I went here for the collected Oregonian articles about the Goldschmidt scandal. Goldschmidt's own statement ran in the paper on May 6; it acknowledges that the girl was "a high-school student" and never uses the word "adultery" or any form of it. Apart from that, this is the earliest Oregonian story, from May 7:

Goldschmidt confesses '70s affair with girl, 14

Former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt admitted Thursday that he had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl when he was 35 and mayor of Portland ...

The Oregonian, as a general policy, doesn't identify victims of sex crimes. According to Oregon laws in effect in 1975, sexual intercourse with a girl under age 16 constituted third-degree rape, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The statute of limitations at that time was three years from the commission of the crime....

No form of the word "adultery" appears anywhere in this article.

A Google News search for "goldschmidt adultery" finds only the Cal Thomas column and this, from the May 9 Oregonian:

When Gary Hart left the Democratic presidential race in 1987 after he was accused of adultery, Goldschmidt stayed out of public sight while reporters trolled the Capitol looking for local comment.

"I remember a lot of speculation," said Chuck Bennett, an education lobbyist who was around during the Goldschmidt administration. "It was just a lot of people talking."

Bennett said the talk was about rumored adult affairs. He said he heard nothing about Goldschmidt's involvement with an underage girl.

Unless there's an earlier Oregonian piece on Goldschmidt that's not online, Cal Thomas is a liar.

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