Locals back to printing McKinley PR releases as news
McKinley sponsors never-going-to-happen commission and, of course, gets front-page coverage
Thursday morning's front-page of the Intelligencer brought us a David McKinley public relations release disguised as a front-page story. The headline reads:
Rep. David McKinley Seeks Energy Policy Change
The accompanying article details the legislation:
WHEELING - U.S. Rep. David McKinley has co-authored legislation to work toward a comprehensive, and long-term energy policy for the country by establishing a commission to address the future of America's energy needs.
McKinley, R-W.Va., and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., partnered Tuesday to introduce a bill establishing the "Biennial Energy Commission on Energy Policy." It would be comprised of 15 members from a diverse group of industries that include labor organizations, utilities, energy researchers, environmentalists, and economists.
"For too long the lack of a sound energy policy has negatively impacted our economy and made America less secure. The goal of this commission will be to develop a plan that will create jobs, grow our economy and put America on the path to energy independence by promoting affordable and reliable sources of energy," McKinley said in a press release.
On Sunday I googled the legislation and up popped just three web pages: McKinley's congressional web page, Degette's congressional web page, and the Wheeling Intelligencer. At the bottom of the page, Google's search engine explained:
In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 3 already displayed.
If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.
Doing so will get you to the other Ogden Newspapers that ran the press release. Is this real legislation? Of course not. Will the Biennial Energy Commission on Energy Policy ever become a real committee? No. Did the Intelligencer know this? Of course they did. Why then was it published? Obviously to give Ogden-newspapers' favorite representative, David McKinley, free publicity.
Does Ohio really need this legislation or is Friday's Intelligencer editorial just an excuse to gay bash and flog political correctness?
I think that most observers would agree that the First Amendment prohibits the government from forcing a member of the clergy to perform a wedding ceremony. Apparently, that is not enough for some religious zealots in Ohio (or the Wheeling Intelligencer). As was the case last year, some members of Ohio's general assembly want to pass a law that would permit "churches and pastors to refuse to conduct marriage ceremonies between people of the same gender." And so Friday's lead editorial in the Intelligencer tells us why we need to "Defend Freedom for Ohio Pastors." In doing some research on the bill in question, I concluded that very few news sources took this bill seriously because the bill is really about registering a protest to gay marriage rather than protecting a group (clergy) that is already protected by the First Amendment. As WCPO in Cincinnati reported:
The bill is unnecessary because a religious leader’s right to refuse to perform same-sex marriages is already protected by the First Amendment, said Monette Richards, president of Center for Inquiry-Northeast Ohio.
“(The bill) is privileging religion and actually codifying bigotry,” Richards said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio agrees with Richards; its website says the bill is a redundant piece of legislation.
But wait -- according to the Intelligencer, this is all about Ohio dealing with the excesses of political correctness. The editorial concludes:
This is a simple question of which is more important - the Constitution or political correctness?
Huh? That's the dichotomy? That's our choices? Ministers already have constitutional protection -- the government cannot force them to marry anyone. What can I say? When they have no analysis or evidence for their argument, Mike Myer and the editorial writers simply label those who disagree with them as being a part of the "political correctness" crowd even if it doesn't apply.
(Note -- I've officially made this editorial a finalist for this year's Worst Editorial of the Year Award.)
The straw men are back -- leaving the fairs and festivals alone
As his previous columns on the state budget have demonstrated, Mike Myer doesn't know how to deal with West Virginia's budget crisis now that the Republican legislature apparently doesn't want to follow his and his papers' suggestion that they simply eliminate the jobs of enough state workers to balance the budget. (That is not an oversimplification -- note the editorial next to his Saturday column which is just a rehash of last week's editorial.)
Myer and most Republicans are against raising taxes and yet they have this huge deficit to address. Perhaps to suggest that he cares about the local citizenry and that he is not a descendent of Ebenezer Scrooge, Myer argues in his Saturday column that we should leave the fairs and festivals alone in our quest for sources of income as the ever-nameless "some" have suggested. He also notes that "some" have not advocated cutting public broadcasting's "Mountain Stage" or certain theatre subsidies. Myer doesn't "name names" but I guessed that the "some" were the usual crew of "ultra liberals," "radical environmentalists," and, of course, "Obama supporters" that we all know are the source of all that is wrong with America. I was wrong. By checking the quote, I found that the "some" is not a group of liberal legislators but actually one Charleston Gazette-Mail political reporter, Phil Kabler, who wrote a column last week about the budget crisis. Here is what Kabler wrote:
Legislators even had no stomach to cut arguably the lowest-hanging fruit out of the budget — the $1.85 million doled out to support hundreds of fairs and festivals around the state.
Note, Kabler observes, but doesn't advocate, that the fairs/festivals may have been "arguably" the easiest thing to cut. That is the only sentence in Kabler's column that mentions fairs. Additionally, Kabler had nothing to say about "theatre." From this misrepresentation of Kabler, Myer will build a 600+ word column filled with specific fairs and festivals and what they get from the state. Yes, 600 words from a classic "straw man" argument and even more impressive is Myer's ability to weave "politically correct" into his narrative by noting that perhaps theatres aren't cut because "they're politically correct."
Next weekend we'll probably learn that the budgetary crisis is all Obama's fault.