Whenever David McKinley (WV-1) is back in town, we can usually assume that local Wheeling TV station WTRF will give him a couple of challenge-free minutes to spout whatever he wants promoted. (See here and here for recent examples.) Today starts the second week of the House’s six-week recess and my hunch is that we are just days away from the local station tossing the congressman the usual softballs that he’s used to seeing from channel 7. Here’s a thought for our local TV channel – why don’t you do some research and ask him some pointed questions? It would probably surprise him but more importantly, it might better serve the democracy -- at least this part of it, where some of us believe our media mostly serve as stenographers and megaphones for powerful special interests and the elected representatives who serve them.
I’d start with an issue that is probably on most people’s minds – gun violence. Earlier this year, the House passed HR 8 – the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 with some Republican support. Congressman, why did you vote against it? (A suggestion to the questioner – get familiar with the Act before asking the question – McKinley will probably deflect and try to talk about the mentally ill as though America is the only country with mentally ill individuals.)
Additionally, in April, the congressman voted against the Violence Against Women Act – something that he had previously voted for. As NBC News noted at the time, this time the bill was opposed by the NRA because of the inclusion of a ‘boyfriend’ loophole which dealt with potential stalkers. I would ask the congressman why he voted against the bill this time and whether the NRA’s opposition and contributions to his and other Republican campaigns had anything to do with it.
That’s for starters – I’d also include questions about the president’s rhetoric and its connection to the violence by white supremacists. (I hate to do their homework for them, but TPM is just up with a list of violent attacks that may have been inspired by Trump's comments and speeches.)
Tough questions for McKinley by local media? It probably won't happen (nor will a McKinley town hall meeting) but at least I can dream.