Last November, the state of West Virginia overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump for president. What does the president's budget do to repay the state? If you read this morning's "newspaper" you did not learn very much about how Trump's proposed budget will affect West Virginians.
The Intelligencer used two AP articles to cover Trump's budget. While they don't specifically mention the state, the smaller of the two, "Environmental Programs Would Face Large Cuts," suggests some obvious effects upon the state at least for those who believe that the EPA is the major cause of coal's decline. The article describes Trump's budget cuts to the EPA as well as funding cuts for efforts to reduce climate change. The larger article, the inaccurately-titled "Trump's Proposed Budget Boosts Military" (only 8% of the article actually deals with the military), attempts to summarizes the entire budget. It, too, has little to say about the state or region as West Virginia is not mentioned and only 16 out of almost a thousand words deals with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) which has been "targeted." (In this case, "targeted" means "eliminated.")
Contrast those two very general articles with seven separate articles in this morning's Charleston Gazette-Mail which detail the specifics of how the Trump budget will affect the state. The largest-headlined article on the front page, under the banner "Trump's budget slams West Virginia," tells us:
Environmental, safety agencies take heavy hits
Also on the front page are these articles:
Programs that help poor afford college are gutted in president's first plan
Funds for infrastructure in jeopardy, if ARC cut
Page 2 continues the impact upon the state:
Plan boosts military, guts favored funds
West Virginia culture programs funds on cutting block
Cuts would gut aid helping people navigate courts
Finally, on page 3:
W.Va. Public Broadcasting would lose federal funds
The final score on the Trump budget and West Virginia: seven for the G-M vs. none for our morning paper.
It's difficult to read the Gazette-Mail and not conclude that it is West Virginians and other Appalachians who are the victims of Trump's budget cuts. That conclusion has also been reached by other news sources outside the area. For example, here's the New York Times:
Trump Takes a Gamble in Cutting Programs His Base Relies On
The Boston Globe:
Trump’s budget cuts hit his base — rural voters
And today's Reuters:
Trump seeks to ax Appalachia economic programs, causing worry in coal country
(No worry in Wheeling -- we don't know about it.)
While it's tempting to write-off the Intelligencer's lack of attention to the impact of Trump's budget upon West Virginians as laziness on their part, I think their non-coverage of these specifics is part of a larger unwillingness to say anything negative about Trump especially when he appears to have adopted their fiscal conservatism toward non-military funding. The local papers' attitude appears to be "hey, as long as the coal companies get their profits back, we don't need to cover how the average Appalachian is affected."
For the record, yesterday afternoon's News-Register carried a short, general article on Trump's budget and today's paper had nothing to say on the matter.