A McKinley press release posing as news
Today’s Wheeling Intelligencer continues its efforts to help David McKinley secure the Republican nomination in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District with this front-page article:
McKinley Wants to Revive National Coal Council
In the article’s first sentence, Joselyn King tells us:
The committee that advises Washington on coal-related matters technically no longer exists.
What follows is a rewrite of a McKinley December 10 press release – something King acknowledges in her second paragraph. The rest of the article quotes and rewrites McKinley’s points without any further research.
Had King done any research beyond McKinley’s press release on the topic, she would have found that the Energy Department was rewriting the National Coal Council’s charter as S&P Global headlined at the time:
US Energy Department to rewrite National Coal Council charter
From that article:
The U.S. Energy Department will not renew the National Coal Council's charter, choosing instead to write a new one and revise its focus, the federal advisory council told S&P Global Market Intelligence on Nov. 23. . . .
The proposed changes to the charter could broaden the scope of the council to include issues facing coal workers and communities and respond to priorities set out in the Energy Act of 2020 and the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, according to the DOE.
Reporter research? It was unnecessary because what actually happened is irrelevant to the purpose of the article. This article isn’t about informing the reader; it’s about persuading the reader that David McKinley is fighting for coal.
Steven Allen Adams’ column does its part
Did you know that some claim that Mooney is a carpetbagger and that he voted 20 years ago to block a coal-fired plant? If you didn’t know it before, you knew it after reading Ogden political reporter Steven Allen Adams’ Monday column:
Punches Traded in U.S. House Race
While the article does briefly mention that both McKinley and his opponent, Alex Mooney are exchanging attacks, two-thirds of the article focuses on supporting two of the charges against Mooney: that he’s a carpetbagger and that he made some not-so-conservative votes before moving to West Virginia.
Adams first reminds us that Mooney is not a native West Virginia. (Although he doesn’t see that as necessarily bad.) Adams then looks at some of Mooney's previous votes in Maryland. For example, Mooney, back in 2002, voted for a moratorium on the construction of a coal plant and a tax break for electric vehicles. Adams source for this is a document "being circulated.”
Speaking of Mooney’s prior career in the Maryland statehouse, a document is being circulated detailing some of Mooney’s public policy positions.
Adams doesn’t suggest where the document originated, but he does claim to have checked the charges raised in it. I couldn’t find the document (I'm sure it's out there) and I wouldn’t doubt that the report is accurate. But so what? The important question, it seems to me, is whether Mooney was reflecting the wishes of his Maryland constituents back in 2002?
Not much subtlety, here. Like King’s front-page article, this is also about advancing McKinley’s candidacy.