Monday’s article by staff writer Joselyn King is titled
Sen. Shelley Moore-Capito Checks In On PPP Spending at Oglebay
Despite the article’s title, most of the article is about the financial condition of the park; the material on the Capito visit looks like it was a late add-on to give Capito some additional coverage because, unless you care that Shelley visited Oglebay as a child, nothing that Capito says is newsworthy.
More geared to Capito's re-election campaign, here’s today’s article:
Capito Sees Stimulus Package Coming in September
This article gives Capito a couple hundred words of front-page coverage. From Ogden reporter/stenographer King we get no analysis, no (pointed or otherwise) questions; just 440 additional words towards Capito’s re-election bid. For example, King’s 2nd paragraph tells us:
Capito, R-West Virginia, said she wishes a stimulus agreement could have been achieved by Labor Day.
It was not asked by King, but the obvious question here would be “why wasn’t it?” or more-to-the-point for a lot of West Virginians, “why didn’t the Senate at least extend unemployment benefits?”
To answer: as I wrote last month, the Republican-controlled Senate left town without even considering the House-passed bill or even an extension of unemployment benefits. And while Capito might have blamed Democrats, that was not the problem. From The Hill:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday that more than a third of Republican senators will not vote for any coronavirus relief package, underscoring division with his caucus.
"I think there are 15-20 of my guys that are not going to vote for anything. . . . It's a statement of the obvious that we will not have everybody on our side," McConnell told WHAS, a Kentucky radio station.
(Note – last week, Forbes made the same point.)
Why does Senator Capito seldom have to answer a tough question from West Virginia media? For Ogden Newspapers, that’s an easy question to answer: Capito is an Ogden favorite and, as such, will never have to face a difficult question nor will she be editorially criticized. Instead, we will see periodic puff pieces by Steven Allen Adams, articles like those above from their reporters/stenographers, and laudatory editorials.
But what about the rest of West Virginia’s media? Yes, the Charleston Gazette-Mail does criticize Capito. Beyond the G-M, the most critical editorial that I’ve seen came earlier this year in the Beckley Register-Herald.
What about television and radio. Capito has frequently been interviewed on the statewide news at 5:30 featured on WTRF but I have yet to see Mark Curtis follow-up with the senator when she evades the question. What about Hoppy Kercheval of WV Metro News, who is usually not afraid to put politicians on the spot? Today, for instance, one of Kercheval’s guests on his “Talkline” program was our local congressman, David McKinley. McKinley quickly asserted that Democrat Joe Biden wanted to ban all fracking. Kercheval quickly fact-checked the congressman that he was wrong by pointing to yesterday’s Biden’s speech in which he unequivocally stated the opposite. McKinley then tried to reassert his point and Kercheval again corrected him. McKinley* backed down. On the other hand, I have yet to hear Kercheval fact-check Capito – especially when she delivers what are obviously easily-correctable Republican talking points. That’s too bad – West Virginia need more reporters not softball-throwing stenographers.
*I found it interesting that McKinley spent a good deal of his 9:25 segment attacking Kamala Harris calling her, at one point, the most liberal member of the Senate. (She certainly isn’t.) It should be noted that McKinley, in the past few months, has clearly become a Trump surrogate. (See, for instance, his attack on Fauci.) I wondered, as I listened to McKinley, if focusing on Harris in state’s like West Virginia is going to be part of what might be called Trump's “Southern (for lack of a better adjective) Strategy"?