Our "newspapers" help the Republicans launch their 2018 election campaign
McKinley for Congress! (Wednesday)
Wednesday's papers brought the news that David McKinley will not challenge Joe Manchin for his senate seat but instead will seek reelection in 2018.
What that means for the local "newspapers":
More coverage of McKinley-sponsored bills that will go nowhere in Congress.
Frequent pictures of McKinley talking to veterans.
Positive articles about the McKinley family including stories about the McKinley family's post-Christmas shopping plans.
Monthly editorials detailing what a great job McKinley is doing. (This one didn't take long -- the first appeared on Thursday. Most will include, as this one did, the locals' unproven assertion that McKinley forced the EPA to back down on a ruling.)
No negative coverage. (Even if the House Ethics Committee cites him again for a violation, the story will be ignored until the editor writes a column explaining his innocence.)
The appearance that he is running unopposed. (Last year, his Democratic opponent got one back-page article. Otherwise, his name was never mentioned in either paper from the primary to the general election.)
Evan Jenkins for Senate! (Thursday)
I'm sure it was just a coincidence that the day after McKinley announced that he was running for re-election rather than taking on Joe Manchin, the front page highlighted a visit to Wheeling by Representative Evan Jenkins who is running against Manchin. Jenkins is not our representative (he's from WV's 3rd district) and so his views on the Paris Accord are not front-page news unless this is 2018 Republican election coverage. Obviously it is.
Making editorial excuses for Trump and Kushner
Earlier this week, a News-Register editorial made a huge leap to liken Kushner's Russian connections to back-channel communication used by the Kennedy's to prevent a nuclear war. It begins:
Informal diplomacy has been used by many, if not all, presidents. Using people such as Kushner to accomplish it also is normal.
(I'm sorry, not in this manner. Trump was not in office at the time. Kushner was a private citizen negotiating with a foreign government -- a clear violation of the Logan Act.)
In fact, but for the technique, the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 might have exploded into a war between the United States and Russia. Tensions were eased after then-President John F. Kennedy used back-channel communications with his counterpart, Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev.
(Just a hunch, but I doubt that Kushner was discussing how a nuclear war could be prevented.)
Part of the current controversy involves the secrecy with which Kushner undertook his mission.
Much of the value of back-channel communications lies in secrecy.
No, the controversy is about (1) that Trump was not yet president (unlike the editorial's Kennedy example), (2) the possibility that Russia affected our election results, (3) that the Trump administration has consistently lied about its various connections to Russia, and (4) the fact that Kushner used a Russian server for his communication.
Because it doesn't make Trump look good, the locals have given us minimal coverage of this story. And as they have done in the past, an editorial substitutes for actual news coverage. For instance, here is an Associated Press story that explains the controversy:
AP Explains: Kushner and the back story of back channels
And from that AP analysis:
Former CIA boss Michael Hayden asked on CNN: "What manner of ignorance, chaos, hubris, suspicion, contempt would you have to have to think that doing this with the Russian ambassador was a good or an appropriate idea?"
Back channels are fine, Hayden said, "but you don't do it when you're not the government and I don't think you do it using your adversary's communications system."
To rephrase Hayden's question to pose to the News-Register: What manner of ignorance, blind allegiance to Trump, and contempt for your reader would you have to have to think this was a good editorial?