This weekend’s Wheeling News-Register carried this article by Ogden’s political reporter, Steven Allen Adams:
If you read the 1100-word article, you learn that McKinley is running for reelection AND doing the job he was elected to do at the same time. (McKinley is a multi-tasker!) I found nothing new in the article; this is simply a McKinley campaign article posing as a legitimate news article and Adams can barely contain his enthusiasm for the job McKinley is doing. (By the way, Adams’ PR release was also picked up by non-Ogden news sources. See here, for example. As I’ve written previously, McKinley would win in a landslide if newspapers could vote.)
Additionally, on page 3 of the Region section, you’ll find an op-ed by Stephen N. Reed:
Put Rep. McKinley’s Seniority to Work in U.S. House
Who is Stephen N. Reed? The Intelligencer identifies him as “a former Deputy Secretary of State for West Virginia.” Knowing that “full disclosure” is a foreign concept to the Intelligencer, I looked into Reed’s background. From Legistorm, I learned that Stephen Reed served as McKinley’s legislative assistant when he first took office. Additionally, this is not the first time he has written op-eds praising McKinley. (See here and here for other examples.)
Reed’s op-ed mostly presents a somewhat generalized “Greatest Hits” collection of McKinley’s record while restating the obvious – he’s conservative, he’ll fight for West Virginians, and he has experience. Again, like the Adams article, there is not much that is new – just more cheerleading.
Some final thoughts
Given the local media bias, it may be difficult to gage who is winning this primary battle. Maybe Mooney is trying to get his ideas out there but I’m just not seeing them. (All I see are his anti-McKinley ads.) Mooney’s strategy may be a simple one: skip the process of informing voters (especially in the northern panhandle) and instead concentrate on his Trump endorsement while using his larger war chest on anti-McKinley political ads. For that reason, this congressional district may end up being a bellwether of how much influence Trump’s support still has in a contest between a traditional Republican and a Trumpian.
By the way, while I have no vote in the matter, I find McKinley to be the lesser-of-two-evils and hope he wins. My blog’s recent criticism is not aimed at McKinley but rather, the media – especially our local newspapers which are doing to Mooney what they historically do every two years to Democrats who run against McKinley – ignoring them. We currently see articles about McKinley a couple of times a week. On the other hand, we are almost through January, and we have not seen a single article on what Mooney stands for or what he would hope to accomplish for the Wheeling area. (Of course, it is worse if you a Democrat -- Kendra Fershee, who ran against McKinley in 2018, was totally ignored by Ogden until a couple of days before the election when she was personally attacked in a mean-spirited editorial).
Newspapers should treat candidates fairly regardless of party or beliefs. Unfortunately for the Wheeling area, we only get coverage of their favorites.