Until recently, local congressman, David McKinley, has always been in the local news
Newspapers: Since David McKinley was elected to Congress in 2010, Ogden Newspapers have reported his every move and utterance. Whether it was a visit with veterans, a trip to the Highlands, or talking to constituents, Ogden was there to cover (and usually with photos). The high point was likely last year when the word “McKinley” appeared ten times (including pictures) on the front page. And now, he’s disappeared from the local papers despite his still being our congressman. When was McKinley last mentioned in our local Ogden paper? A quick search points to May 11, 2022 – the day after he was defeated by Alex Mooney in the Republican primary. So, it’s been over three months since we’ve had any newspaper report on what our elected representative is doing.
The Intelligencer is not alone. During legislative breaks, the congressman has frequently visited local station WTRF where they toss him softballs with no follow-up questions. I could find no recent interviews, but the station did mention him in a report on funding in Hancock County on July 11 -- six weeks ago. Similarly, McKinley has also been a frequent guest on the Metro News network as well as other radio outlets in the congressional district. I could find no radio interviews after the WV primary. Okay, McKinley is at least partly responsible for his absence from broadcasting; perhaps, he simply decided that such interviews are mostly about getting re-elected.
That doesn’t, however, give the media an excuse for its lack of coverage. One of the most important functions of both local print and broadcast media in a democracy is to keep an eye on our elected representatives and report what they are doing. A quick check of McKinley’s congressional website suggests he’s still working. Last week, for example, McKinley introduced legislation to address the doctor shortage and he attacked Democrats for their “reckless spending and tax hike” bills. Shouldn’t that be worthy of some mention in the media? It certainly would have been covered last year.
So, where is the media? My hunch is that they’re waiting for McKinley to do their work for them. (There is one notable media exception: the Times West Virginian in Fairmont provides a weekly summary of how our legislators, including McKinley, voted. Yes, it’s good to see that at least one state media outlet is doing its job of informing the public about its elected representatives.)
Hey, it’s Wheeling Intelligencer Self-Congratulation Day in which they rerun an old editorial telling us what a great job they are doing
This morning’s Intelligencer didn’t disappoint: the lead editorial is a slight rewording of their 2014 and 2017 pats-on-the back. Of course, they included their favorite disclaimer that somehow always makes it into this annual self-praise fest:
Our editorial leadership is guided solely by devotion to the best interests of our readers, without regard to any political party or ideology.
That’s laughable anytime. But it's especially hilarious given their “editorial leadership” in last spring's McKinley-Mooney contest in which McKinley received near-daily positive coverage while the negative coverage surrounding Mooney's ads and ethics violations were the only Mooney stories worthy of mention. And now that Mooney is the Republican nominee, how many articles on Mooney’s Democratic opponent, Barry Wendell, do you think we’ll see between now and election day? If the Intelligencer’s history provides any guidance, I’ll be surprised if there are any. Yes, "editorial leadership" is one of the first things I think about when the Wheeling Intelligencer is mentioned -- thanks for the reminder.