Category Archives: Media

How the General Assembly Works

To hear podcast click here.

Peter Galuszka, Virginia journalist and contributor to Bacon’s Rebellion, appears in this WTJU podcast on how the General Assembly works. Peter talks about the role of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in submitting boilerplate conservative legislation to the legislature. His remarks begin around the 8:00 mark.

Northam Proposes Releasing Middle-Aged Murderers

Released from prison because he was considered too old to be dangerous, 77-year-old Maine resident Albert Flick killed Kimberly Dobbie in front of her sons in 2018.

by Hans Bader

Virginia’s governor wants to make most murderers eligible for parole when they reach age 50. You’d never know that from reading the news stories written by liberal reporters. They say Democratic Governor Ralph Northam wants to help “elderly” inmates.

But that’s contradicted by the governor’s own website. Under his plan, it says, “An individual would be eligible for consideration of parole if they are at least 50 years old and have served 20 years, or are 55 years old and have served 15 years.” A person who is 50 years old or 55 years old is middle-aged, not elderly. Most definitions put middle age as from 45 to 65, and none define people under age 60 as elderly.

But liberal-leaning press entities like the Associated Press didn’t report the fact that Northam’s proposal could result in the release of middle-aged murderers, or people at age 50 or 55. The Associated Press claimed the governor “wants to extend parole eligibility for prisoners who are elderly.” And the Daily Press reported that “Northam wants to give the state parole board more authority to grant early release from prison when inmates are elderly.”

That leaves the false impression that these inmates are so old that they are no threat to anyone. After all, virtually no one commits murder in their 80’s. But Governor Northam’s proposal would let inmates be released at 50 or 55, lower than the age at which famous serial killers were still active. These inmates are younger than serial murderer Albert Fish, who killed from age 54 to age 62, and Dorothea Puente, who killed from age 53 to 59. Many other serial killers continued killing into their 50’s, such as Peter Tobin (up to age 60), John Reginald Christie (up to age 53), and Ted Kaczynski (up to age 52). Continue reading

Media Botching Second Biggest Political Story of 2020

Overflow attendance at Amelia County board of supervisors meeting.

by James A. Bacon

According to gun-rights groups, 87  Virginia counties, 10 cities, and 18 towns have adopted Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions. The  magnitude of this grassroots movement is unprecedented in recent Virginia history. Nothing can compare, not even the Tea Party movement.

If you want to know what’s animating the gun-rights movement, though, you have to read conservative and right-wing websites and blogs. Virginia’s mainstream media is clueless. Virginia journalists working for the major media outlets, whose coverage reflects the preoccupations of urban liberals, didn’t see this coming. When the movement gained momentum, Virginia journalists were slow to catch on. And now that the movement has gained a full head of steam, Virginia journalists are getting scooped by out-of-state conservative publications.

Thus, we learn from the Washington Examiner — not the Washington Post, not the Richmond Times-Dispatch, not even the Roanoke Times — that Governor Ralph Northam has budgeted $4.8 million over two years to fund the creation of 18 positions to support proposed legislation “related to an assault weapons ban.” Gun rights advocates are interpreting this measure as hiring an 18-officer team to enforce an “assault weapons” ban, and they’re suggesting that Northam, despite promising to grandfather existing assault-weapons owners, may be planning to confiscate the weapons.

State law also requires any legislation that might increase the prison population over the succeeding six years to include a one-year General Fund appropriation to cover the estimated increase in prison operating costs. Another addition to the budget includes this text under the rubric of a projected increase “in the need for prison beds”: Continue reading

WaPo Newsroom as Cesspit of Racism and Sexism?

Who…. me?

by James A. Bacon

The Washington Post Guild has issued a report charging that the Post, the largest-circulation newspaper serving the Virginia market, pays women less than men, and whites more than minorities. The pattern applies not only to the business side of the newspaper but to the social-justice crusading newsroom. Indeed, the discrepancies are worse in the newsroom. Some highlights on newsroom compensation contained in the report:

  • Women as a group are paid less than men.
  • Collectively, employees of color are paid less than white men, even when controlling for age and job description. Women of color in the newsroom received $30,000 less than white men, a gap of 35%.
  • The Post tends to give merit raises based on performance-evaluation scores, but those who score the highest are overwhelmingly white.

Ironically, men and women are paid about the same in the commercial division, which, I would conjecture, is less “woke” than the highly politically attuned newsroom. The Guild did find a white/minority pay gap on the commercial side of the newspaper, but it was only 5%.

Gee, it’s almost as if liberal white males use their wokeness as a smokescreen to obscure favoritism toward others like themselves. Continue reading

The Curious Case of the Amazon Op-Ed

Stephen S. Fuller

For decades, Stephen S. Fuller has been regarded as a regional asset.

His study of the state’s economy as a professor at George Mason University has been praised as insightful, especially his idea that Virginia needs to diversify from its traditional reliance on federal government spending.

So, it seemed odd that Fuller, who plans to retire in the near future, would get mired in a minor controversy over the ethics of an opinion piece he wrote for a local business newspaper.

One couldn’t ask for a more loaded sense of circumstances. Retail giant Amazon, which is building its second headquarters near Reagan National Airport with a payroll of thousands of people, wanted Fuller to write and pitch a story extolling the virtues of the multi-billion dollar project.

Amazon’s public relations people wanted the article out before the Arlington Board of Supervisors was due to consider $23 million in incentives for the plan in March.

Fuller agreed and made one bad mistake. He showed a draft of the work to Amazon and asked for their comments. He got some, rejected them and then tried to pitch it to the Opinions Section of The Washington Post. Continue reading

Virginia’s Left Consumes Another of Its Own

Dario Marquez: a Virginia Democrat, a progressive, a generous donor to left-of-center causes… but guilty of indirect association with President Trump’s immigration policies.

Dario Marques Jr., former government contractor and major contributor to Virginia Democratic Party poohbahs, has come under fire from Virginia progressives for his role in running an Arizona shelter for unaccompanied children who crossed the border illegally. Although Marques’ contract originated in 2014 during the Obama administration, work continued into the Trump administration — and any association with Trump, no matter how tangential, is more toxic than kepone.

Naturally, any attack from the Left is grist for the Mainstream Media, and this particular controversy has occasioned a lengthy article written by WCVE radio and disseminated by the Associated Press. This blue-on-blue political hit illustrates the asymmetries at work within the Democratic Party today. With its access to the Mainstream Media megaphone, left-wing activists keep moderate Democrats on the defensive and push the party to the Left.

Reports WCVE:

A handful of local left-wing activists are calling for Democrats to distance themselves from Marquez, whose proximity to detention policies they say calls into question the politicians’ commitment to reform. La ColectiVa and two other groups, Justice for Muslims Collective and Showing Up for Racial Justice Northern Virginia, launched a petition on July 17 calling for Virginia Democrats to stop accepting Marquezs’ donations, and launch an investigation into federal contractors profiting from ICE contracts, among other demands.

Continue reading

Richmond’s Real Scandal

It just keeps getting worse. At least 280 students have been disqualified from receiving a high school diploma after a Richmond Public Schools review of student transcripts and irregularities in the granting of high school diplomas. At best only 810 students will qualify to attend graduation ceremonies — and the number could be smaller, the school board has learned. Only 507 seniors are currently “on track” and 303 are considered “likely” to graduate, reports the Richmond Free Press.

Twelfth grade enrollment in the fall of 2018-19 in Richmond Public Schools was 1,212, according to Virginia Department of Education statistics. How is it not the biggest scandal in the Commonwealth of Virginia when half the city’s seniors might fail to graduate? We’re not talking half of all those who entered high school, we’re talking about half of those who made it to their senior year!

Here are the racially-oriented social justice issues that Virginia media reported on over the weekend, as found in VA News: Continue reading

Yeah, Twitter Sucks. But if Conservatives Don’t Like It, They Should Start Their Own Social Media Platform

E.W. Jackson

E.W. Jackson, a conservative activist who ran unsuccessfully as the Republican nominee for Virginia lieutenant governor several years ago, says he has been suspended from Twitter for a tweet he made after hundreds of Christians were killed in the Easter Sunday bombing in Sri Lanka.

“Muslims are the ones who try to terrorize and intimidate people into conversions or kill them for converting from Islam,” Jackson said he wrote in the tweet. “To compare Muslims murdering Christians to Christians doing missionary work is anti-Christian bigotry.”

Twitter informed Jackson that the tweet violated its terms of service. In Jackson’s characterization of the suspension, Twitter accused him of “threatening violence,” according to the Daily Caller.

“They have a virtual monopoly and they have the ability to shut you down,” Jackson told the conservative news site. “That’s of deep concern to me and we’re thinking of taking legal action.” Continue reading

Newspapers Are “Toast,” Says Owner of Virginia’s Biggest Newspaper Chain

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., may be one of the nation’s largest owners of newspapers in the country, but the multi-billionaire investor has largely written them off. Repeating observations he has made previously, he told Yahoo News that other than the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal, newspapers in the U.S. are “toast.”

In the golden age of print, Buffett said, it was “survival of the fattest.” He with the fattest newspapers — packed with the most ads — won. But the rise of digital media eviscerated newspapers’ most profitable revenue stream, classified ads. (He didn’t say so specifically in the brief interview clip, but digital media also are eroding newspapers’ remaining revenue streams, display ads and subscriptions.) Newspapers, he says, are “disappearing.”

The Sage of Omaha appears to have made his peace with the passing of a great American institution. BH Media no longer manages its newspapers, which include the Richmond times-Dispatch, the Roanoke Times, and franchises in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Danville, and Bristol. The conglomerate has outsourced that job to Lee Enterprises, owner of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Continue reading

Bacon Bits: Highs and Lows

Digital gold rush. How lucrative are data centers for Loudoun County? The prosperous Northern Virginia county expects to collect $200 million in fiscal 2020 from the property tax on computer equipment, up 35% over 2019, according to the Washington Business Journal. Last week, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors adopted a $3.2 billion operating budget that featured a “significant cut” to the real estate tax rate, an across-the-board pay raise for county employees, and $100 million more for county schools. Data centers are worth roughly $1,000 a year in lower taxes to Loudoun homeowners.

And at the other end of the fiscal spectrum…

Digging out. In the wake of the worst financial crisis suffered by any Virginia locality since the Great Depression, the City of Petersburg is building back its fund balance, The FY 2020 budget of $75.8 million will run a $2.6 million surplus this year and the city is budgeting for $3.6 million next year. The city still has a long way to go before reaching a fund balance of $18 million, healthy enough to fund the General Fund for three months, but it represents a dramatic improvement since FY 2016 when the fund balance collapsed to negative $7.7 million. Tax and utility payments remain high, but at least the city has a functioning government.

And in the “Them That Has Gets” department… Continue reading

What I Learned from Frosty Landon and Rich Martin

Frosty Landon

Once upon a time, journalists exercised great caution in their use of anonymous sources. When I was a reporter for the Roanoke Times & World-News some 30+ years ago, the editorial staff under the leadership of Frosty Landon and Rich Martin agonized over the use of unidentified sources. When we did use them, as sometimes we had to, editors insisted upon knowing their identities and their possible political or personal agendas, and we alerted readers when such agendas might exist.

How far the profession has have fallen.

Two days ago the Washington Post and New York Times, two of the country’s most prestigious newspapers, didn’t merely use anonymous sources in stories about the Mueller report, they used anonymous hearsay. Continue reading

Enough. This Partisan Bias Is Just Too Obvious.

Ain’t This A Kick

Look, we conservatives understand that as far as the media is concerned, we are second-class citizens.  But for giggles let’s just demonstrate the most recent case.  When I write about the new hemp bill on Bacon’s Rebellion last month, it gets good readership for Bacon’s Rebellion but of course there is no reference to it on the widely-circulated daily news summary for the Virginia Public Access Project.

Today Virginia Mercury publishes a very similar story, even using some of the same sources, and of course it makes the VPAP summary.  Oh, give me a break.   Why didn’t mine get used, again?   Continue reading

The Media’s Oppression Narrative: Portsmouth Edition

Portsmouth City Manager L. Pettis Patton (left) and former police chief Tonya Chapman.

Thanks to the release of the Mueller report, we now know that the national media utterly disgraced itself over two years by pushing an unfounded conspiracy theory about President Trump’s collusion with Russians. Now maybe it’s time to focus on the media’s role in perpetuating the narrative of endemic racism. The latest example: coverage by the Washington Post and the New York Times over the forced resignation of Tonya Chapman, the city of Portsmouth’s black police chief.

Both newspapers gave extensive and uncritical coverage of a statement Chapman issued yesterday attributing her ouster to resistance to her attempts to overhaul a department riven by racial tension. Before arriving in Portsmouth in 2016, she said, she had “never witnessed the degree of systemic bias and acts of systemic racism, discriminatory practices and abuse of authority in all of my almost 30 year career in law enforcement and public safety.” Some officers, she said, “quite frankly did not like taking direction from an African American female.” 

I  have no idea of what the reality of the situation was in Portsmouth. Perhaps Chapman fell victim to racist white police officers who resented the leadership of a black woman. Perhaps she was railroaded by City Council. Or, conversely, perhaps she is one of those people who interpret every encounter through the prism of race and gender. Perhaps she stirred up resentment by maligning those who opposed her actions as racists and sexists. Either explanation is theoretically possible.

The issue I am raising here is not the reality of what happened, but how the Post and Times approached an issue of extraordinary delicacy and sensitivity. Continue reading

Who Is Leah Dozier Walker?

Leah Walker

Leah Dozier Walker burst into public view a few days ago when she wrote a letter expressing her upset with Virginia First Lady Pam Northam for inviting Walker’s daughter and two other African-American girls, on a tour of Senate pages in the Governor’s Mansion, to hold a cotton boll and imagine what it would have been like as a slave to pick cotton all day.

“I cannot for the life of me understand why the First Lady would single out the African America pages for this — or — why she would ask them such an insensitive question,” she wrote. “There are no words to convey how horrified I was to hear this account from my daughter and how outraged I am that Mrs. Northam would represent the Commonwealth in this manner.”

The letter, written Feb. 25, unleashed a mini-furor that reveals volumes about the state of mind of a woman who oversees the Office of Equity and Community Engagement at the Virginia Department of Education as well as a news media that eagerly fuels the perception of racial slights and injustice. Continue reading

SJWs, Cognitive Dissonance and the Fixation on Race

I know the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a lot to live down as inheritor of the Richmond News Leader, the infamous cheer leader of Massive Resistance in the 1960s, but I can’t help but wonder if it has gone overboard in making amends. The newspaper, it seems, has gone full Social Justice Warrior. Here are articles an op-eds in Sunday’s newspaper:

  • Front page: a tragic story of a 51-year-old African-American woman with diabetes who requires dialysis and is losing her eyesight. An accompanying sidebar makes the point that diabetes disproportionately affects African-Americans.
  • Front page: an article about the history of race and racism in Governor Ralph Northam’s hometown, Onancock, on the Eastern Shore.
  • Inside A section: a Virginia Commonwealth University arts museum exhibit reimagining Monument Avenue without its Civil War statues.
  • Inside A section: a reprint of a Washington Post story profiling Front Royal residents recounting de-segregation.
  •  Op-ed section: a profile of Jonathan M. Daniels, a white Virginia Military Institute graduate who became a freedom rider during the Civil Rights struggle.
  • Op-ed section: a column by Richmond schools Superintendent Jason Kamras decrying institutional racism in Richmond schools.
  • Op-ed section: a column by journalist Margaret Edds speculating how Virginia Civil Rights icon Oliver Hill would have responded to the Northam blackface scandal.
  • Op-ed section: a column by the Rev. Peter J. McCourt describing the new Cristo Rey private school as an educational alternative for black, inner-city Richmond children.

Continue reading