Wednesday, August 16, 2006

No need for facts, we have a "Opinion" page...

It seems that the NewsVirginian newspaper elected to present their "Opinion" on the incident that happened at the Augusta County Fair last week when a Democrat volunteer made an unacceptable comment to the Mother of a fallen soldier.
http://newsvirginian.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WNV%2FMGArticle%2FWNV_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149189998774&path=!news!opinions
The interesting thing is that the Waynesboro Newspaper the "NewsVirginian" wrote this piece without ever interviewing Rhonda Winfield or myself about what happened.

The incident has been described here on this blog as "Over the Line " as well as a follow up interview with Rhonda Winfield that appears on the United Conservatives blog done by a seperate person.
http://unitedconservatives.blogspot.com/2006/08/augusta-co-dems-insult-fallen-warrior.html


Another Augusta County resident and blogger describes the reception that he got from the Republican, Libertarian, and Democrat booth as well in this post in: http://augustafreepress.blogspot.com/2006/08/rude-political-awakening.html

It is sad to see that both the Democrats as well as the local media has decided to make this a political issue instead of the attack on the memory of a fallen hero. It appears to be evident that the Democrats feel this was a attack on their volunteers and had nothing to do with the comments made to Rhonda by their volunteer.
The Augusta County Democrats are obvious strong supporters of the troops as evident in the paper hand written sign that was displayed above their booth during the fair.


more to follow...

26 comments:

Bubba said...

I find it very amusing that the Web has to use "clearly confused" supporters to promote his campaign. Kinda describes their whole platform....Confused. The spin on this is clearly out of control. They have no excuse for what their "volunteer" did so they are trying to spin in Cindy S. to vilify the republicans and redirect the issue. I suspect that the paper needs to be prepared for the fall out from the elderly in the region because they are using the age of the supporter and stereo-typing him to excuse what he did. Shameful, but expected.

Pam said...

After reading the News Virginian, I am convinced that Todd Foster is a lap dog for the Webb Campaign and the anti-war left. How unprofessional of Todd Foster. Now I see why Todd Foster, the editor of the NV, is being sued by Waynesboro City Council member Frank Lucente. I wonder if Todd Foster was asked to leave People Magazine because of his lack of reporting skills before coming to Waynesboro? Foster has a habit of using his paper as a partisan rag. Good news is that Foster has no credibility in Waynesboro and has turned the New Virginian into a Tabloid.

zen said...

Was it the Webb camp that used the "clearly confused" line, or was it the paper?

Let's keep the blame/credit where it's due.

RightsideVA said...

Zen,

It was the NewsVirginian who made the observation that the Democrat volunteer was "Clearly Confused".

They do state that they interviewed him about the incident and they made that determination from that interview I believe. They have not called, emailed, or interviewed Rhonda, myself, or the numerous other people who were in attendance when the incident happened. They did allow Tom Long, the Chairman of the Augusta Democrat Party to make several statements of the incident without being present at the time or provide quotes or sources...

Is this proper or acceptable practice for journalism?

zen said...

It doesn't sound like making an attempt to get all sides of the story, no.

I was just commenting on Bubba's comment, and immediately attributing that "confused" comment to Webb. As it was not.

RightsideVA said...

Zen,

I see that and I agree.
Bubba was not there either and I believe the way he read my post he is making a more broad statement that this is the "type" of people working the Webb booths. I am also sure that he will comment on this issue also...
Regarding your other question I am working on a follow up post that will deal with that question...

Did we really agree on something?

zen said...

Of course we did. I am certain that we have more in common than not. Now if we could focus more on our simularities than on our differences we'd all be a lot better off, no?

SWAC Girl said...

The question I'd like answered by Todd Foster at The News-Virginian is this:

Is it a common practice to notify the subject of a Letter to the Editor and ask for a rebuttal before the original LTE has even been published?

I am not aware of even one case of that being done, and I know as a Republican Party leader in this area that we have not been contacted in that way. Would not the normal practice have been to publish the LTE and then let responses come in?

For the newspaper to contact someone was, in my opinion, unprofessional at the least ... and unethical at the most.

After being given the heads-up, I would think since Tom Long was not present he would have passed the issue on to those parties who were present. I was approached by a local reporter for an interview about this incident, and I responded that I was not there. Tom Long was not there either.

Interesting journalism being practiced at The News-Virginian ... even on the Opinion page....

zen said...

This was not a Letter to the Editor was it? I thought it was the paper's editorial.

RightsideVA said...

Zen,
It started out as a letter to the editor to report the comments made to Rhonda by the democrat volunteer regarding her son Cpl. Jason Redifer.

Instead of printing my letter to the editor, the editor Todd Foster went to the chairman of the Augusta County Democrats, Tom Long, for comments and reaction to the incident. Unfortunately Tom Long did not mention that he was not present at the fair that night so he did not witness the incident at the Democrat booth. Nor did he mention that no Democrat Volunteer was present when Mr. Tischnor made his comment to Rhonda Winfield that her son could never be the man Jim Webb is. Several people observed Mr. Tischnor approach the table and Rhonda. I was standing directly behind her and heard the whole conversation as well as did another person sitting at the table.

I find it interesting that the editor would solicit a comment from Tom Long who was not there and give him the heads up of the letter I wrote. Todd Foster has also contacted and interviewed Mr. Tischnor for his comments and has not yet contacted Rhonda Winfield for her comments.

The NewsVirginian then decided to present their "Opinion" of the incident on their opinion page...

Even with it being a letter to the editor I find this chain of events questionable and just looking to get the facts of the incident out.

Maybe this is what is making blogs so popular???

SWAC Girl said...

Rightside said, "Maybe this is what is making blogs so popular???"

This really points out the reasons why bloggers have started investigating MSM and have blown the drive-by media out of the water! We want the truth!

I would like to ask Mr. Foster more questions:

1) Since when is it ethical to write an op-ed piece after speaking only with those on one side of the issue even after being asked by the opposing side to please talk with them?

2) How could Mr. Foster write, "Republican activists who were there, notably Steve Kijak, of Stuarts Draft, were incensed and walked over to the Democrat(ic) fair booth and berated several women volunteers there. A sheriff's deputy was called over to break up the verbal barrage."

First, I can comment on this, even though I was three aisles over and missed the episode ... but since Mr. Foster could comment on it (and he wasn't there) I feel I can, too ... and he didn't talk with Steve. I have talked with Steve ... and Rhonda ... and Scott Winfield.

Second, no one was "incensed." I have often during the years admired Steve's restraint at our Support the Troops rallies as he rationally discussed issues with the opposition while I turned and walked away because of the emotional nature of the situation.

News-Virginian reporter Bob Stuart interviewed Steve on Election Day 2004 as he worked Stuarts Draft precinct for President Bush. Bob wrote an article about it. Perhaps Mr. Foster should ask Bob how Steve behaved that day. Steve is the one person who always -- always! -- keeps his head on straight and remains calm. Mr. Foster should talk to Steve.

Third, if he had bothered to call Rhonda, he would have known Steve was there because he was following her, as a friend, to keep an eye on her and be sure things didn't get out of hand. He should talk with Rhonda and her husband, Scott.

Fourth, Randy Fisher was working the GOP booth that night. There was no hauling anyone away or anything else. He should talk to Randy.

Mr. Foster then wrote, "Local Republicans ought to understand, too, that Tichenor will be 88 years old...."

We local Republicans are good at what we do ... but we do not have bios on the Dem activists in this area or their health records. I had never seen Mr. Tichenor before that night as he walked all over the fair giving out material.

If someone similar worked for the GOP and an incident with a military mom occurred, our first response would have been to apologize for the situation ... thus defusing it. Instead, Dem activists escalated the episode by immediately going on the defense and blaming Rhonda and Steve.

I have a personal example of their blame-others defense: Last fall I was at the African-American festival in Staunton. When I saw the Peace and Justice (anti-war) booth with photos of all military members killed in Iraq, I told them Rhonda Winfield would not appreciate Jason's photo being displayed because she had called Crawford, TX, to have the cross with his name removed from Cindy Sheehan's camp. The women working the booth starting talking about how it was a war for oil. I looked at the woman speaking and asked, "How did you get here today? Walk?" The other woman spat out, "I'm going to tell you to leave or I'll have someone escort you away." Sound familiar? All I did was ask a point-blank, common sense question.

I know many in the local media are not sympathetic to Republicans because we have different beliefs than they ... but we almost always take the high road in these instances. Check out www.augustafreepress.blogspot.com and read about Chris Graham's negative experience with his young nieces at the Democrat fair booth after having positive experiences at the Republican and Liberitarian booths.

This is why bloggers are here to stay....

zen said...

ahhh, I see thanks for the scoop. Yeah I agree the less we can rely on the traditional media, the more important the new media is becoming. It is my hope that this will in turn pressure the traditional media to get it's act together. I guess it remains to be seen.

Of course I do not like to paint with such broad strokes, as it inevitably implicates the innocent, decent and hard-working outfits and journalists that do exist and operate with integrity. The entire environment has become so toxic that I think it's good to keep in mind that there are good folks out there. They should be recognized, admired and praised.

Bubba said...

Thanks, Rightside.....

I was stating that i found it amusing that whe Webb camp had to use "clearly Confused" people, refering to the label applied to his campaign volunteer by the paper.


Thanks for the observation Zen, I wasn't trying to mislead. just to observe.

And nope I was not there and that is most likely a very good thing....I might have called that volunteer names.... :)

RightsideVA said...

Zen,

For the second time today I agree with you...
Just not sure what to think of that...

I agree that there are many fine news reporting outlets and we should not paint with that broad brush. But is also a shame when a large outfit like Reuters publishes numerous doctored photos like they did this past few months. This is how people lose faith and question the sources...

zen said...

RS>>> Why is it so difficult for you to believe that you and I have more in common that not?! That's what I think about that.

It's a shame when ANYONE intentionally misleads. The Reuters photojournalist was fired. Since you brought it up what about Mike DeWine's TV campaign ad that used doctored images of the WTC? Should DeWine be fired?
Should we tolerate any journalist, or politician for that matter, that intentionally attempts to deceives? Why limit it to photojournalists?

RightsideVA said...

Zen,
For the 3rd time in two days I agree with you. (Have call into Doctors office for appointment)...

When journalist, or anybody doctors a photo it is wrong and this is why I believe people lose faith in the media and what they see...

Only kidding about cooment about agreeing with you.

SWAC Girl said...

What is even stranger is the fact Zen and I agreed on a point he made. The stars must surely be lined up in a way that will not occur again for eons.

zen said...

swac>>> as with RS, I do not view you with the contempt and suspicion that it seems by your shocked reaction that you must view me. I stand by the belief that we share many more commonalities than differences. Why then is so much focus and effort wasted on those differences, rather than simularities?

SWAC Girl said...

Zen, it wasn't a "shocked" reaction that we agreed. There's where words have to be chosen carefully because they can relay something entirely different than what was intended.

I would say "strongly surprised" that we agreed on something. Although you continue to say I'd be surprised that we probably agree on more than we disagree about ... but we've not gone there so you can't blame me for the "strong surprise" at our agreement.

zen said...

Words are important...as I said we have more in common than not...that's not quite the same as agreeing.

SWAC Girl said...

Update: Here's another twist on the News-Virginian op-ed story:

Steve (Rightside) has now been told by Todd Foster that his letter to the editor explaining his side of the story (something he tried to do before the op-ed piece was written) will not appear until NEXT WEDNESDAY because Mr. Foster has so many letters already ahead of Steve's letter.

Common sense would dictate, in my humble opinion, that Steve's letter be printed as soon as possible:

1) Steve sent his letter in two days ago.

2) Steve has been made the principal subject in this episode and was vilified in the op-ed piece. I would think his letter of explanation clarifying misstatements and misinformation in the op-ed would be bumped to the front of the line.

3) I realize there are "rules" to be followed but I think they were broken/bent when Todd Foster invited Tom Long to respond to Steve's original LTE before it was even printed.

4) Chris Graham over at Augusta Free Press points out that it seems that the paper has helped stir the controversy over this story so, therefore, would allow for a deviation from the paper's policy of printing letters first-come, first-served and let Steve's letter be printed sooner.

5) Todd Foster interviewed Bob Tichenor but not Steve or Rhonda Winfield ... and then wrote an op-ed piece that was in favor of Mr. Tichenor and slammed Steve.

Am I the only one seeing something odd in all this? Something slanted? Something not quite right?

RightsideVA said...

It's a tough time to be away from the computer and never thought I would miss this thing that much. I am in NJ this weekend and only limited computer time due to the fact I will be out on the water most of the time Scuba Diving...

The NewsVirginian called while I was in transit and left the message that my response letter will be printed on Wednesday after numerous letters on this incident are printed. It has always been common practice to allow one rebuttel letter once somebody writes one about you. Seems the NewsVirginian took the liberty to contact the Chairman of the Augusta County Democrats, Tom Long and get a response before my first letter ever appeared and ran them side by side with actually my original letter appearing in the printed issue after Tom Long's letter stating his version of the incident which he was not in attendance of.

It will be interesting to see on Wednesday when my 2nd letter and response appears stating the facts that Tom Long was not present to witness the claims he has made in his first letter of the incident and how it will be presented. It will also be interesting to see if Tom Long of the Augusta County Democrats will have another letter already submitted to respond to my 2nd letter addressing the facts that I provide...

We all know that timing is the key in many things and when you are able to control the flow of information you can set your own agenda. A funny little thing is that facts usually find their way to the surface no matter how they are presented or hidden...

Once again it is a shame that this story was not allowed to be presented in the correct manner and the people involved were not allowed to comment to prevent false assumptions by those not in attendance to the incident. It just seems a good idea to call both parties that were involved in the original incident. Rhonda Winfield still has not been contacted by the NewsVirginian...

Mr. Tischnor was contacted by the NewsVirginian as I was advised by Todd Foster but Foster stated that he did not "Interview" Tischnor. But yet the NewsVirginian said on their "Opinion" page that Tischnor was "Confused"?

Please read my letter that should appear on Wednesday and I hope it is the same one that I submitted and in it's full content.

Anyone wishing more in depth information may contact me thru the e-mail link on this blog and I will respond if appropriate...

Gotta go dive now, water is said to be great visibility this weekend...

SWAC Girl said...

Rightside - enjoy the dive!

We're keeping the blog fires burning. New email from Todd Foster was received tonight; I may post it. He is monitoring all blogs with info about this situation. There are discrepancies between his email and the truth ... am working through those now and hope to post something about it.

Be safe, Dive Master. Have fun! :)

W. McDonald said...

We had a paper like that when I lived in San Diego that failed to look into the whole story also. The Editor took great pride in being able to present an issue in his editorial page the way he wanted it to be released but became angry when anybody questioned the "Bias" of this page.Came down to it being the downfall of the paper for people who got the paper were not able to trust the information they read on the other pages... The editor is now gone after the local business community just dropped the paper as a serious paper. Boycotts never work but word of mouth over time is so much more effective with guys like this.

SWAC Girl said...

Not only does the News-Virginian Editor not look into the whole story ... he is arrogant about it. It's interesting to know this happened somewhere else and word-of-mouth spread the information in the community.

Without the local blogs this story would not be circulating ... the only information the general public would know would be what The News-Virginian printed in its op-ed.

Anonymous said...

The News Virginian is pure, unadulterated trash, just like most of Virginia's crappy monopoly newspapers run cheap and trashy by Media General out of Richmond. Any newspapers that require their employees to sign a "non disclosure agreement" to keep them from talking to the media (in order to keep the lid on the slave-labor conditions, low pay and other crap that Media General papers are noted for) is nothing but hipocrisy. AND THEY'VE GOT THE BALLS TO YELL ABOUT FREEDOM OF INFORMSATION! Yeah, right ...
By the way, a quick search of the Virginia Press Association website shows that the newvirginian's circulation is a pathetic 7,000-some readers ... whoopee. How many people live in Waynesboro, Stautnon and Augusta County? How many read the craphole News Virginian? You figure it out.
Publish the email SwacGirl ... out those buggers! THey'll never talk on their own because they are cowards.