Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Francke Case Thoughts

Things seemed to be working.

The Oregonian's huge investigation into the Michael Francke case brought out expected reaction from the Tribune's Phil Sanford and KATU's Eric Mason - the two reporters in town who don't go a season without doing a story or three about the 16 year old case.

I think it's fair to say no one following the story can't be dazzled by all the contradictions, conspiracy theories, forgotten memories, etc. I don't know who did it. I do know that we will not hear the end of it in our lifetimes.

Les Zaitz is one of the O's most thorough reporters. I think to easily dismiss his and Noelle Crombe's investigation just because it clashes with Stanford's possible version, or because we want to hack at the Oregonian isn't fair. It still left me with questions including wondering about Frank Gable's so-called innocence. Remember, everyone in the joint is innocent.

That said, there are strong arguments that those who put him there were given too much weight, and he probably had shitty representation. I'm guessing he never sees a free day again in his life, no matter who is going to bat for him.

I know that Eric Mason made a cottage industry out of the Francke case, selling new news directors from KOIN to KPAM to KATU on his breathless stories. Many of his colleagues remember his live shot the moment the verdict was announced when he basically told his audience it was a shocking decision. Shocking to him.

In the end, this is another back and forth between news outlets focused on the O. It started with Packwood, got even larger last year when the Willamette Week scooped everyone on Goldschmidt, and now this. What it says to me is the O wants to own the big stories. So whoever breaks the next big one, watch Sandy Rowe try to one up you.


Anonymous none of your business said...

Does anybody care about this besides the people involved in the case, Phil Stanford and some people at the O?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many years ago I was acquainted with Gables wife. Iirc she and Gable were seperated at the time of the Franke investigation and she living with her mother. Shortly after Franke was killed Gable showed up where she was living with some things that he wanted her to store for him because he said he was moving, or was kicked out of his current place or something...(this was a long time ago so my memory is a bit hazy) She said that he seemed to be very concerned about whatever he had store at the house because he would call frequently to check on his stuff. Eventually investigators showed up and confiscated those items and subsequently questioned both she and her mother extensively about Gable and the Franke case. I never asked her about whether she or her mom believed Gable commited the crime because I didn't want to end up being questioned, or a part of the mess that was the Franke case, but the feeling I got was that both she and the mom had their suspicions.

One of the other things I remember very clearly was her intense hatred for the way the media (both print and tv) treated she and her mom. Phil Sanford (who was with the Oregonian at the time) was one of those she felt completely misrepresented himself in gaining her confidence to talk. According to her, he outright lied to her about what he would keep confidential and misquoted her as well. She felt that he treated her simply as a means to an end, calling her at all hours day and night to cajole info out of her.

On the TV side, she said it was like being under siege with her home surrounded day and night by tv crews who would storm her house if she opened her curtains or went out to get her mail. All she wanted was to do what was asked by the authorities and left alone. She didn't feel she was a part of the story, but was sucked into it because of Gable.

She struck me as the classic example of media excess in going after a story. A woman who knew the wrong person at the wrong time whom the media was willing to exploit for ratings, newstand sales, and competition. She was in a feeding frenzy playing the role of appetizer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Francke case makes TWO stories Stanford has screwed up or missed. I know since I covered the Francke story with Chuck Dimond for KOIN.

Stanford has been here FOREVER, had the Goldschmidt rape story for 20 years but couldn't nail it down like the rookie Nigel at WW.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 10:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mason (shockingly!) gets it wrong. The O did not "arrive at the conclusion that Frank Gable, who was convicted of murdering Francke, acted alone." The O said that those who say Gable didn't do it (including Gable) have offered no actual evidence. That's not the same as saying Gable did it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just my opinion, but I think the lack of comments on this "explosive" story indicates just how "over it" we all are. That, and how few people actually read the Oregonian.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 3:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the reason it's never caught on with anyone beyond Phil Stanford, who keeps rehashing it, is that his story hinted at something it never delivered--a juicy scandal. All of the reporting focused on holes in the case, never making stick the notion that this Gable guy was a scapegoat for something much bigger. By now we should have heard more than wild speculation about what his killing supposedly covered up. Weekend drug runs by inmates? Knowledge by people up high in the Goldschmidt administration? Gimme some proof, not circumstantial exculpatory evidence for small-time meth dealers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 4:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Brightside said...

A potentially innocent man is in jail, a man with a family is gone, and we don't know the full truth.

The Warden Commission did state:
2. The Warden Commission found that some Corrections employees were engaged in criminal activities at the time of Francke’s death, according to the final report that was released to the public. Without naming names, it said, “There are reasonable grounds to believe that some officials of the Department of Corrections are involved in significant illegal activities or other wrongdoing.” The report also said that a number of identified department employees who had admitted to committing crimes during an early corruptions investigation still were working there in 1989.
Although the report concluded there was no “organized, sinister conspiracy” among the staff to commit illegal acts, “what does appear to exist is an atmosphere, wherein those who seek personal gain of property, power, or authority, can pursue those ends with little difficulty.”

And Shorty Harden sounds really trustworthy. And no one has explained how Jodie made the phone call, with a payphone blocks away, and this being before easy access to cell phones.

My money is still on that if Gable did it, he was not alone, others were involved, but have not been punished yet. Plus why were not correction employees fired if criminal actions were going on?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 5:02:00 PM  
Blogger methinks said...

dear blog - let's move on. this is old news, covered by old people with old stories. I thought you were going to tackle the print media next. I want to hear what you know about that!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I believe it was supposed to be the radio newsrooms next.

Thursday, May 26, 2005 5:56:00 AM  
Anonymous old over here said...

Hey! Watch the "old" bullshit. You sound like one of those Mercury writers who have a frame of reference of 15 minutes.

Thursday, May 26, 2005 8:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still placing my bet on Phil Stanford of the Portland Tribune to scoop the Michael Francke story of the real killer and plot soon to be discovered. He deserves the story along with the Portland Tribune, since he never gave up all these years. This will be a battle between The Oregonian (same lie told) and the smaller paper with the truth. Seventeen long years to roll around again with this cover-up is just way too long for the lid not to be blown off this time. The Oregonian went with the same old lie again. It's time for the truth.

Saturday, June 04, 2005 4:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Portland Tribune, for beginning with the truth starting with Cappie "Shorty" Harden - eyewitness to the Michael Francke murder. The Oregonian went with the same old lie. Today the Portland Tribune went with the truth. Cappie "Shorty" Harden lied. He wasn't even at the scene. Maybe, it's not too late, Oregonian. Try and do the same with Mark Gesner. At least, you know where he is at.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 12:56:00 AM  
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