As Ogden's coverage of McKinley and Manchin demonstrate: it's not about incumbency, it's about party affiliation
The Ogden papers have dropped all pretense of fairness and objectivity
Yesterday, I once again documented how the Wheeling “newspapers” have totally ignored congressman David McKinley’s opponents in the upcoming elections. Today, let’s compare Ogden's coverage of Republican incumbent McKinley with Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin.
Earlier this week, the locals featured a story about a public debate (in Martinsburg) among the Republican senatorial candidates who hope to oppose Manchin in November. It was front page news. Compare that coverage with the total absence of any local coverage of a March 20 debate in Morgantown among the Democrats running for McKinley's seat. (Read about it here.) McKinley's opponents get no coverage; Manchin's get front page coverage and then some.
Back to yesterday's Intelligencer: once you get past the McKinley article at the top of the page, most of the front page is taken up with pictures of unaffiliated school board candidates and Republican U.S. senate candidates with the big news being that the Republican senatorial candidates will debate in Wheeling on April 23. And guess who is sponsoring the debate? That's right, Wheeling's "newspapers."
All three of the frontrunners, along with candidates Tom Willis and Jack Newbrough, will take the stage in Wheeling on Monday, April 23, for a U.S. Senate debate hosted by The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register.
Editor Mike Myer explains:
“We West Virginians like opportunities to ‘size up’ people running for public office. There’s nothing like an in-person forum, at which candidates answer sometimes tough questions on themselves and public policy, to make that happen,” said Executive Editor J. Michael Myer. “Senate candidates attending our forum are to be commended for taking the time to show area residents who they are, up close and personal."
And so the Ogden papers are not just covering the Republican primary, they’re creating a news event to give the Republican candidates even more publicity. Obviously, the relevant question for Mike Myer would be: if this is such a good idea, why not give Congressional District 1 West Virginians the opportunity to “size up” the Democrats running against David McKinley?
As I documented in the previous post, incumbent Republican McKinley gets regular, weekly coverage in the Wheeling papers (always with a picture). What kind of coverage does incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin get? A search on the Intelligencer's website reveals that, if you skip (1) articles that list who is running for office, (2) an article about Manchin's wife being fired by the governor, and (3) stories about the Republican senatorial hopefuls that list him as the winner's likely opponent, you need to go back two months to
Senator Joe Manchin Says Congress Needs More Respect for One Another
on February 7 to find an Ogden article that features our sitting senator.
Compare that with the recent spate of front-page articles about the candidates competing in the Republican primary, what their polls say, or articles about candidate Jenkins’ drug legislative proposals that aren’t going anywhere. Add to that the numerous op-eds by candidate Morrisey that have appeared monthly since the beginning of the year – there is no comparison. In my 30+ years of experience of reading Ogden papers, they have always demonstrated partisanship to Republican candidates but I don't think that I've ever seen it on this level. As such, there is no news -- it's all about electing Republicans.