I've been doing this blog for over two years and one of the constants has been the Intelligencer and the News-Register's refusal to acknowledge that President Obama has ever acted for what he believes is the best interest of the country; that, at the least, his actions might be well-intentioned but, as the "newspapers" see it, wrong. No, the editorials and Mike Myer columns consistently demonize him by seldom explaining his motives or worse, attributing the worst possible reasons for his actions.
The debate over climate change and the EPA probably provides the best examples. The president, according to them, is solely motivated by his desire to kill the coal industry and the state of West Virginia and not to lessen CO2 and its impact on global warming - climate change and future generations are never mentioned. Their anti-Obama/EPA attitude even affects the news articles. As I pointed to last year, here's an Associated Press story with what was dropped in the Intelligencer's version in bold:
Last June, Obama rolled out a plan to cut earth-warming pollution from power plants by 30 percent by 2030, setting in motion one of the most significant U.S. actions ever to address global warming. Once completed this summer, the rule will set the first national limits on carbon dioxide from existing power plants, the largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S.
But the "locals" go beyond not explaining reasons for actions to attributing the worst of motives. Here we find personal attacks on the president -- that he is out to get West Virginians and thinks we're only about "guns and religion," and my personal favorite, that he has a vendetta against West Virginians and their coal. Look up a definition for "vendetta" and you'll find something like this:
- blood feud.
- an often prolonged series of retaliatory, vengeful, or hostile acts or exchange of such acts.
They've accused the president of having a vendetta against West Virginians on a number of occasions (see here for example) without ever explaining how it is a "blood feud" or why they are "retaliatory,""vengeful," or "hostile."
Barack Obama will be out of office in ten months. Not to worry, the local "newspapers" are already attacking the Democrats who might replace him in the same way. From the Monday morning's evidence-free editorial:
No one in this region needs to be told what Clinton's stance would do to us. Other Americans may need to have it explained to them: It would mean gas bills two to three times today's levels. It would mean much higher electric bills because so many utilities - because of Obama - have abandoned coal and are building gas-fired power plants. It would mean nations that are not always friendly to us controlling our energy again.
It would be a disaster.
And it is what Hillary Clinton wants.
Yes, of course, Hillary Clinton wants a disaster because that's her nature!
And this morning's editorial passed the "vendetta" baton:
But bear this in mind: Both Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, have made it clear that if elected, they will pursue vendettas against fossil fuels more severe than Obama's.
(This came after a paragraph where we learned that "Obama wants to go down in history as the president who killed coal, natural gas and oil.")
There are a lot of things going on here but the most obvious is that rather than engaging in a debate about the actual issues, these editorials find it much easier to simply make up Democratic motives and then attack them. With this approach you don't need evidence for your case and if you do it frequently enough, your audience knows the proper response.
Update - March 17
And so it continues. This morning's Intelligencer has yet another evidence-free, anti-Clinton editorial which makes the same points as Monday's and Wednesday's evidence-free, anti-Clinton's editorials. Also, on the top of the front page is a local rewrite of an AP article about Clinton's apology to Joe Manchin for her remarks about coal in Sunday's debate. (Local reporter Ian Hicks got to rewrite the AP report probably because the original did not include anything from Murray Energy. Hicks remedied that -- a third of the article now quotes Robert Murray.)