Today’s Wheeling (West Virginia) Intelligencer dedicated over 1800 words to the Ohio governor’s race and almost 800 words to the battle for Ohio’s senate seat. This was in addition to the 2000 words on the governor’s race in yesterday’s paper in which, like today, the candidates for Ohio governor answered questions submitted by the Sandusky Register, an Ogden newspaper. Today’s article on the senate race came from an Ogden reporter who summarized last night’s debate between Republican J.D. Vance and Democrat Tim Ryan.
Contrast those two-day numbers with the Intelligencer’s total coverage of West Virginia’s District 2 congressional race:
For Democrat Barry Wendell
On September 19, the Intelligencer published its only article, a 712 word feature, on Wendell. Most of the article was biographical but the article did include the following:
Wendell said his platform includes restoring the state’s coal tax to past higher levels, as it is used to keep West Virginia’s black lung fund solvent. He is also in favor of improving the state’s infrastructure, and “getting broadband everywhere.”
“We need infrastructure in West Virginia, and Mooney didn’t vote for it (infrastructure improvement legislation),” he added.
And the next paragraph noted that he is pro-choice:
“I am very much pro-choice,” he said. “I am not in favor of abortion, but it is not the state’s duty to get involved. It’s a matter between the woman, her partner and her doctor.”
Except for their political reporter occasionally telling us about how much the candidates have raised, that’s it. (Wendell should probably consider himself fortunate. A couple of David McKinley’s opponents were totally ignored by the Intelligencer.)
For Republican Alex Mooney
On August 1, the Intelligencer published an op-ed by Mooney attacking Democratic senator Joe Manchin and, in the same issue, another article telling us that they were going to publish the op-ed. That’s the extent of the coverage of Mooney’s campaign. (And as with Wendell, Mooney’s fund raising has been mentioned by Steven Allen Adams.)
The first paragraph of today’s governor’s article explained how the two articles on the Ohio governor candidates’ views came to be:
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley agreed to answer a series of questions from the Sandusky Register and Ogden Newspapers ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.
So. . . . why can’t Ogden Newspapers do the same thing in West Virginia’s District 2 congressional race? Ask them questions and then print their submissions. What do we know about Mooney’s views? From the Intelligencer -- nothing, other than he was endorsed by Donald Trump. Why not ask Mooney and Wendell “a series of questions” and then publish them as was done with the Ohio candidates? My hunch is that it won’t happen because (1) it does require some work on the Intelligencer’s part, and (2) the Intelligencer wants Mooney to win. If forced to answer, I think Ogden would suggest something like “why bother since Mooney will win, anyway.” Yes, Mooney is the likely winner, but it seems to me that the role of a newspaper in a democracy is not to choose the winner but rather to inform us about the candidates and let the citizens decide. Unfortunately, the paper’s allegiance is not to area voters but rather to the state’s Trump Party.