Reading the weekend opinion sections
(with November 7 update)
Front page - "Cole Would Focus on Jobs, Drug Abuse"
The front pages of Wheeling's "newspapers" are sometimes used as an extension of the editorial pages. By using biased headlines, edited AP reports, and editorial-like articles, the papers look to persuade rather than inform. And as we draw closer to the election, their frequency is on the increase. For example, both Thursday front-pages carried a puff piece (with picture) on the Republican candidate for attorney general which could have easily served as an endorsement. Similar to the Morrisey article, Saturday's Intelligencer featured a 600 word, front-page article (with picture) about Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Cole that provided us with nothing new, nothing controversial, and nothing about his Democratic opponent. (Cole quotes make up half the article.)
Editorial page - "Getting Trump Voters to Back Cole"
Mike Myer's Saturday column supplements that by explaining how Cole could win if he could get the Republican Trump voters to vote for him. (An interesting admission in its own right.) Myer points to the Republican primary where Cole received votes from only 80% of those who voted for Trump despite running unopposed. Myer doesn't offer an explanation for why they didn't vote for Cole. Just a thought -- maybe it's because Cole hasn't directly appealed to Trump's "deplorables" base; while Cole has said that he "prays" for a Trump White House, he has not embraced the more racist, xenophobic, and sexist aspects of Trump's campaign. Cole has run a more traditional Republican campaign and Mike Myer can write all that he wants about Cole being an "outsider" but Cole doesn't act like Trump.
(This is indeed a strange election year -- here it is two days before the election and I'm saying nice things about a Koch-backed candidate.)
Editorial page - "Morrisey Foes Resort to Lying"
The lead editorial is mostly a rehash of an editorial from a couple weeks ago about how Morrisey's opponent, Doug Reynolds, is lying. This one, however, has a killer attack on him:
None of the attack ads mention that Doug Reynolds, the Democrat candidate for attorney general, once donated money to Clinton.
Wow, that's gonna leave a mark!
Of course, local readers have read nothing negative about Morrisey. Here's another story we didn't see from the front page of yesterday's Charleston Gazette-Mail which has been following the attorney general's involvement in a hospital merger case in Cabell County:
As Attorney General Patrick Morrisey works to shield information related to Cabell Huntington Hospital’s proposed acquisition of St. Mary’s Medical Center, the Republican incumbent has received thousands of dollars in campaign donations from people linked to the two hospitals.
A recent campaign finance report shows that Morrisey, who is running for his second term in office, netted about $20,000 from doctors, lawyers and health care executives who have ties to the two Huntington health care groups. Those political donations equal more than 15 percent of the money that Morrisey’s campaign raised during the month of October.
Nearly all of the contributions were paid to Morrisey’s campaign while the Attorney General’s Office was appealing an Oct. 4 court order that required Morrisey to release documents related to the contested hospital merger to Steel of West Virginia, a Huntington-based business.
Editorial - "Keeping Reforms Coming in W.Va."
It's yet another pro-Cole editorial with "special interests" as the villain:
As governor, Cole would keep the reforms coming.
But special interests that liked the way things were for 80 years are spending lots of money to turn the clock back. They want to defeat Cole simply because he is a threat to the cushy ride they enjoyed for so long.
The Repubican Governor's Association has spent $2.5 million on Cole and the Koch's have given their share but I guess they don't count as special interests.
Editorial - "Dirty Politics Should Not Be Rewarded"
(but it can be ignored if it's done by Republican-friendly groups)
Today's News-Register editorial tells us about a West Virginia Family Values ad that has them upset:
WVFV has been running radio advertisements attacking some members of the Legislature who are running for re-election or for other offices. One of the spots includes dialogue phrased and delivered in a manner that could lead some listeners to believe the person being attacked in the ad was a character witness on behalf of a convicted sexual predator.
Among Republican lawmakers against whom the WVFV ran that radio spot is Delegate Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, who is running for a state Senate seat. Weld was so angered by the ad that he has threatened to take legal action if it remained on the air.
Okay, but how come the locals never cover the unfair ads attacking Democrats? From yesterday's Gazette-Mail:
A campaign robocall purportedly from a 12-year-old girl who says she was scared when a man came into the girls’ dressing room after swim practice — and blames West Virginia Senate and House of Delegates candidates for allowing the incident to happen — is causing outrage statewide.
“This is the most disgusting thing I’ve heard in my life,” said Sen. Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, one of at least five Democratic state Senate candidates targeted in the robocalls that began Friday.
Paid for by the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, a religious-right organization that supports the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and opposes municipal nondiscrimination ordinances, versions of the robocall are directed at Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha; Delegate Denise Campbell, D-Randolph; Sen. Bob Williams, D-Taylor; and Delegate Stephen Skinner, D-Jefferson.
In the robocalls, a girl who identifies herself as “Courtney” describes how a man came into the dressing room while she was changing after swim practice.
“I’m only 12. I’m not old enough to see a naked man,” she says.
Yes, fair and balanced.
Update - November 7
The robocalls from the Family Policy Council of West Virginia have gotten some national coverage. For example, Huffington Post reports that "Homophobic Robocalls Launched Against Candidates In West Virginia" and Forbes describes how "Political Hacks Prey On West Virginia Voters With Bathroom-Related Robocall." Blogger Ken Silverstein writes:
West Virginia politics has reached a new low with outside interest groups taking it down in the gutter, or more precisely, into the bathroom, literally. A robocall now going out has a young girl fearing for her safety while she uses a public restroom.
It’s an ad by the Family Council of West Virginia’s, which is also decrying Hillary Clinton while remaining silent on the conduct of Donald Trump — a man, who by his own admission, is someone to fear and about to stand trial civilly on fraud. While it’s a scheme by the religious right to get West Virginia state legislators to enact a bathroom bill similar to that of North Carolina, its tentacles are reaching into the state’s economic exasperation.