On page 6, Tuesday’s Wheeling Intelligencer finally mentions Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on the presidential election
In an important decision on Friday, the Supreme Court refused to hear the voter fraud lawsuit brought by Texas and 17 other states (including West Virginia) that might have overturned Joe Biden’s victory. (See previous post.) While the development was the top story in most news sources on Friday and Saturday, Ogden’s local outlets ignored the story until this morning when it received a minor mention at the end of a Steven Allen Adams column on the election.
Despite full disclosure by those involved, Ogden's political correspondent expresses concern about a state legislator’s connection to the Charleston paper
Yesterday’s Adams’ column about the state’s politics covers Doug Skaff (D – Kanawha) becoming the new minority leader:
However, there are some concerns with Skaff’s minority stake in HD Media, the publisher of several newspapers, including The Charleston Gazette-Mail and the Huntington Herald Dispatch. Skaff also is the president of HD Media. During the governor’s race, the state Republican Party constantly attacked Democratic candidate and Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango over his minority stake in HD Media, even after he divested himself of that stake. Skaff could easily find himself in a similar predicament.
I don’t understand what the problem is. Both Skaff (and Salango) have both been very forthright about their connections and I’m sure that most of those papers’ readers are also aware and take that into account. In particular, how does this affect Skaff’s ability to be an effective Minority Leader? I find this a bit disingenuous coming from someone who writes for Ogden Newspapers, where the Republican political bias is so obvious. Beyond the Trump example above, the most obvious recent example is the local coverage of Paula Jean Swearengin, Senator Capito’s Democratic opponent in the last election. From West Virginia primary day to election day, Swearengin appeared in just one sentence while Capito appeared on a regular basis including three long feature pieces by Adams.
Ogden: full disclosure (for that matter, any disclosure) is for thee, not me
The front page of Friday’s Wheeling papers carried this hard-hitting article:
Ski Resorts Plan for Safe, Snowy Season
Not surprisingly, the 600+ word article was about area ski resorts and their planning for the upcoming season. (I’m sure I wasn’t the only reader who asked, “how is this front-page news?”) It wasn't – it was about promoting Seven Springs Resort which makes up 75% of the article. The article doesn’t tell us but guess who owns that resort? Yes, the same person who own the papers, Robert Nutting.
Journalism's disclosure standards would expect that Nutting’s ownership would be mentioned somewhere in the article. Of course, it wasn’t.
This isn’t an isolated case. Go back, for example, to when the WV legislation considered sports wagering. Ogden's local articles and editorials repeatedly supported adding an integrity fee to the legislation. Never mentioned was that Nutting, who also owns the Pittsburgh Pirates, figured to share in the 480 million that baseball would likely receive each year from such a fee. (See here for more information.)
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