In today’s Staunton NewsLeader Opinion section there was a call for a Conservative voice to be added to their on-line edition of the newspaper. The Opinion Editor points out that there are several “Conservative Voices” in the print edition but they are not able to include these in the on-line edition due to contracts with the writers.
The Opinion Editor states that the print edition has a “balanced range of conservative, liberal, and neutral voices” but the on-line edition has “spun hard left“. He then states that this is a function of “economy” which I find interesting.
“Function of economy“? Does this mean that the on-line edition does not produce revenue to include a on-line conservative? The Bush economy is so poor that there is no money to be wasted on a conservative? The economy will not support a conservative without another tax being placed on the evil oil companies? What economy?
Maybe if the NewsLeader could dig up some revenue they could contract a on-line conservative like economics professor Thomas Sowell who has many books, articles, and on-line columns describing and explaining the economic process. Sowell is very good at explaining the economy and how important and successful the free enterprise system has worked. Sowell has described and explained how cutting and keeping the tax rates low has spurred incredible economic growth as proven by the Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush tax cuts. But maybe that is not the “Conservative” that the NewsLeader is looking for…
He also finds it hard to believe that there is not a long line of conservatives pounding on his door looking to become part of what the NewsLeader has become over the past few years.
“I just can't believe that this area is only capable of producing columnists of a politically liberal or neutral bent”.
Fact is I believe there are many conservative minded writers out there. But the NewsLeader has become a format and venue that has soured the majority of conservative and neutral minded people in the area when reading their “Local” paper for issues and opinions.
I also believe that there are many conservative writers out there who do not see or expect a fair “On-Line” environment at the NewsLeader to work with. I have written “Letters to the editor” section of the NewsLeader in the past but have lost faith in their practices over the past few years. I also believe many NewsLeader readers have lost faith in the paper and have heard this in many conversations and forums. Many long term readers have stated that they have cancelled their subscriptions and have looked elsewhere for their local news.
Some of my observations regarding the NewsLeader and why people are searching elsewhere for their news:
A conservative “Letter to the Editor” writer must be a brave soul to submit a letter to the NewsLeader these days. No matter how well written, informative, and constructive the letter may be it will only be viciously attacked by the “NewsLeader on-line community”. The letter writer must identify himself by actual name to be eligible for print, but yet the people commenting, and attacking in the on-line format are allowed to remain anonymous. This has resulted in many well known, respectable, and leaders of our community being viciously attacked by the “on-line gang” permitted by the NewsLeader.
The Editorial Cartoons of the NewsLeader have been basis for many conversations over the years and I hear these are the editorial “Opinion” of the cartoonist. But yet they appear and are endorsed by the NewsLeader as a whole. It might just be my “Opinion”, but I have heard many agree that the majority of the editorial toons are used to attack conservatives and members of the Republican party more often then not. Who can forget the toon of a scarred elephant holding a Allen campaign sign? Or how about the toon of a VA GOP House Freddie Krugar looking to go after Tim Kaine? Don’t forget the one that has a executioner who looks to be a Kilgore campaign worker? And of course the toon and drawing of Jerry Kilgore’s brain with many negative things inside.
NewsLeader Reporter Brad Zinn reported on a anti-war demonstration that was held in downtown Staunton at which time there was a counter demonstration by those supporting the Troops and war effort. During this demonstration there was the usual clash between groups and several heated discussions occurred. I was in attendance and was asked by a 16 year old girl who wanted to witness this event as to why the two groups were arguing. I explained both sides of the debate as best I could and that I was not part of the anti-war group. She stated that she wanted to see the demonstration to understand the issues and that she did not totally agree with what she was being told in school. I introduced this young person who was attending a civil demonstration to understand it better to the NewsLeader reporter. A perfect opportunity to include a new and unbiased viewpoint to a story about this event. I watched as the NewsLeader reporter listened to the young lady but he was not writing anything down. He was not interviewing or asking questions of her or her understanding, he was not interested. The next day there was no mention of this meeting. In fact I believe his story was written before the reporter ever arrived to the actual event. And then there are times were NewsLeader reporters have been questioned on their stories only to say what they submit to the editors don’t always come out the same “Way”…
Senator George Allen’s “Maccaca” statement was a two day event at best in the media. But the attack media kept it alive for months and returned to it at anytime the campaign returned to issues that Jim Webb was weak on. Webb was weak during the debates and avoided Virginia related issues whenever possible. In fact when the attacks continued on Allen for possibly using the “N”-word in his past the attack media continued on. Eventually Webb stated something about anybody who grew up in the south has pretty much used the word when it was asked if he has used the “N”-word. That was it! No follow up questions or continual media questioning of the Democratic Senator to be. About a week before the election Senator Allen spoke at Mrs. Rowe’s in Staunton in front of hundreds of supporters and Virginia residents. The NewsLeader reporter was there as well as the reporters of the News Record and NewsVirginian. The Newsleader failed to report anything of the event while both of the other papers had full front page coverage. Conservatives, neutrals, and citizens of Augusta County, Staunton, Waynesboro, and the valley knew of Allen’s visit and also noted the disregard of the NewsLeader reporting.
Not just the Allen event. The Newsleader has failed to report numerous Republican events in and around Staunton in the past. This includes events with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, State Senator Hanger, and Delegates Landes, Saxman, Cline. All Republicans and conservatives…
The Opinion editor has also hosted the more popular blog section of the on-line NewsLeader and during that time has provided a slanted menu of topics. He has and will deny this but this has lost the faith of many conservative bloggers and on-line readers of the NewsLeader blogs. Topics have included efforts to drive a wedge between the Republican party during the recent State Senate primary and the results. Just another reason why the NewsLeader has lost the faith of many conservatives…
Fortunately there are other developing sources for conservatives in the Valley to go. The NewsVirginian of Waynesboro has changed editors and seems to give conservative letter writers and conservatives in all a better regard over there.
The Harrisonburg News Record has become a valuable resource outlet.
The Augusta Free Press has provided a more balanced viewpoint of many events in the past. I have been interviewed by the editor of the Augusta Free Press in the past and have found him fair in his dealings. We have not always agreed on issues but he has given me and my conservative viewpoint a fair shake.
The “Conservative Blog-World” has also taken off in the past few years. As with any blog a grain of salt is used but it is a great format and place to find information and links to stories not reported by some newspapers. This blog is named “RightsideVA” for a reason for I am a Conservative Republican in Virginia and that is what I believe and support. I provide links and comments on events and issues that I find interesting. This works for some and not for others. That is the great thing about having a vast selection of sources at our keyboards.
Rightside has done well and I have been proud to hear comments and see log on’s from places in Richmond and D.C. where people have told me they visit Rightside to see what is happening in the Valley. They have told me of times where the newspaper story just seems lacking of the conservative viewpoint…