I believe that most local readers trust the Associated Press to present a story fairly and with minimal bias. In my own case, I occasionally disagree with the tone or balance of an AP article, but I usually assume that the news agency has tried its best to detail an accurate description of a news event.
On the other hand, I don’t trust Wheeling’s newspapers. As I have tried to document in this blog, their editorial biases show up in their local, state, and national news reporting. What has recently gotten much worse (or maybe I just wasn’t paying close enough attention) is the rewriting of AP articles to meet their conservative Republican biases. I find this reprehensible: I would think that even the most casual reader assumes that he/she is reading what the Associated Press found and not what Ogden Newspapers think should be found. Today’s example illustrates this point.
Here are two Associated Press articles about the Republican Party’s chances for success in next November’s election. The first is the one that appeared in hundreds of news sources. (If you google the exact words from the article, Google will list those who carried it.)
The other story is this morning’s Intelligencer version of the AP article and depending on the words that you choose, Google will either list those other sources or it will list only this morning’s Intelligencer version meaning that section of the AP’s original was changed.
For example, here are the first two paragraphs. The words in bold are missing from the Intelligencer’s version:
Buoyed by a string of Republican retirements and President Donald Trump’s persistently low approval rating, Democrats are increasingly hopeful about their chances for a midterm election wave that would give them control of the House and deliver a blow to the president.
The number of Republicans bowing out rather than bearing down for tough races is the latest worrisome sign for the GOP. Combine that with Trump’s ability to unite Democrats in opposition and historical headwinds, and some Democrats are optimistic.
Later in the article, the Intelligencer drops the embarrassing reason why a Republican representative resigned:
The next test is in Pennsylvania, where a March special election to replace Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned amid allegations he asked a woman he was having an affair with to get an abortion, will become another test of momentum. Trump is expected to campaign for the Republican candidate, state Rep. Rick Saccone.
The Intelligencer then deletes the next six AP paragraphs which deal with how the Republican gerrymandering in 2010 might save them from the Democratic wave. Finally, the Intelligencer’s version discusses the Republican Leadership Fund which was set-up to help Republican candidates and then uses one of the Republican candidates as an example:
Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., represents one such district where the group has set up shop. Lance has seven Democrats vying to challenge him. Clinton carried the district by about 3,800 votes. Lance won his fifth term in 2016 by 38,000. “I like that extra zero,” he said.
The Intelligencer article ends at this point ignoring the AP’s final paragraph which suggests that Lance may not be quite the Republican that the Intelligencer makes him out to be:
Democrats are “running against President Trump,” Lance said while emphasizing his votes against the GOP’s final effort to repeal “Obamacare” — though he’s voted for repeal before — and his opposition to the new tax law. “I vote my conscience here,” Lance said, “and I will be judged based upon my vote.”
My advice: be careful about anything you read in Wheeling’s “newspapers;” their purpose is to persuade not to inform and, as this suggests, they are willing to distort what many believe is a trusted source to do so.