David Byrne. Photo by Todd Cooper.


• If you have been lucky enough to watch David Byrne’s American Utopia on HBO, you might note that a company called Participant was one of the backers of the hugely successful show. That’s David Linde’s company.  He grew up in Eugene, graduated from South Eugene High and has gone on to be the executive producer for shows that have social merit. It’s a great watch.

• It’s bad enough that the right and left divide is so severe in politics right now — but those are the seeds Donald Trump has sown as he refuses to repudiate basic evils like white supremacy. But add in left versus left? We would like to count ourselves lucky that we have so many great progressive candidates in local elections, so maybe you all could knock it off with the mailers? We were taken aback when we saw that the Joel Iboa for Lane County commissioner campaign used an outdated EW primary endorsement as if it was up-to-date for the general election — it was not. It also cites The Register Guard, which sadly has ceased even doing endorsements. While we liked Iboa, we went with Laurie Trieger. And in the Eugene City Council Ward 1 race, the black and red mailer attacking Eliza Kashinsky was over the top. We confidently endorse incumbent Emily Semple, but we don’t endorse attacks. 

• Let’s be honest. It’s a fraught time to be a journalist right now. Donald Trump’s attacks on “the media” have filtered down so far we see even progressive thinkers blaming the messenger. And yet, to our joy, we see, each day, young journalists producing amazing stories. Jade Yamazaki Stewart, EW intern-turned-freelance journalist, is also the editor of the University of Oregon’s Ethos magazine. The current issue is a glossy, fascinating delight. 

• Congressman Peter DeFazio and GOP challenger Alek Skarlatos both, to our surprise given Skarlatos’s lack of interaction with local media, attended a City Club of Eugene forum Oct. 16. At the end of the forum, moderator Brian Bull of KLCC (who did a great job maintaining control) asked the two who they would dress up as for Halloween. Skarlatos dodged the question, and DeFazio said he’s still undecided, but his past costumes riffed on current events — like dressing up as a mad scientist to mock his longtime challenger Art Robinson. If DeFazio needs ideas, here are two inspired by Skarlatos’ résumé, which lists him as a National Guard sniper and as a participant on Dancing with the Stars: dress as a sniper from the meta Nazi propganda movie in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds or as a ballerina. 

• Checked into the slick new website Lane County News lately? Don’t bother. The site — you can Google it, we’re not publicizing the link — is part of a network of 1,300 algorithmically generated “news” sites around the country owned by or connected to conservative businessman Brian Timpone. In 2006 he founded Journatic, the disgraced news agency that used fake bylines on stories, some plagiarized, some written automatically and some written by badly paid third world stringers. It charged money for favorable coverage. In a story Oct. 18, The New York Times called Timpone’s current operation “rooted in deception, eschewing hallmarks of news reporting like fairness and transparency.” It’s also just plain bad, like these actual headlines from Lane County News: “Linda Gilbreath donates $7 to Peter A. Defazio’s campaign committee in June” and “one people in their twenties in US test positive for COVID-19 during week ending August 13.” Algorithmic newswriting needs a few more years in journalism school.