An editorial in this morning's Wheeling Intelligencer heaps a good deal of praise on local representative David McKinley. The editorial begins by telling us that Congress will soon be acting on specific legislation to help sure-up the miners' health insurance program. One of the measures likely to be considered according to the editorial is sponsored by local representative McKinley:
One of them, the HELP for Coal Miners Healthcare Act, is sponsored by Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va. Votes on it and a companion bill in the Senate are expected this week.
McKinley has been working tirelessly to help the retirees for many months. His dedication to them is because many of the about 22,000 people affected by the problem live right here in the congressman’s district.
(Note -- emphasis is mine.)
I decided to google the act ("Coal Miners Healthcare Act") and the congressman to read more about the act and to see if the editorial's description was accurate. I was surprised when the search engine returned only five results. A closer look at the results, however, pointed to what Google thought was a misspelling in my original query:
Did you mean: "Coal Miners Health Care Act" + McKinley
A click on this yielded over 500 results. (Almost 2500 hits if you drop "McKinley.") Interesting -- the editorial had the spelling wrong. I went back to the original "Healthcare"found in the editorial and looked at the five results. One was the press release page on David McKinley's government webpage, two were from his Twitter account, a fourth was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's Facebook page on which he highlighted McKinley's Twitter feed, and the final link was this morning's editorial. So given the identical McKinley misspellings, either the editorial was written by a McKinley staffer or the press release was the only source for the editorial since any online research would have pointed to the correct spelling of the act.
It seems to me that editorial writers should be doing everything they can to make sure that what they write is correct. That's not the case here. While laziness certainly should not be ruled out as an explanation for this lack of professionalism, I think this has more to do with good publicity for a local favorite than anything else. In any event, this editorial should be a warning to readers of Ogden newspapers. The basic facts (like the act's correct title) in the McKinley PR release on which this editorial is based were easy to check but obviously they weren't. Everything written about the congressman in the editorial may indeed be true but why should a reader trust anything on the page since all of it came from a McKinley press release? When an editorial page clearly demonstrates that it places promotion of a person or a cause over standard journalistic practices, readers ought to simply ignore the message.