Category Archives: Media

The Sucking Sounds Gets Louder

by James A. Bacon

Six Virginia newspapers owned by Lee Enterprises — the Bristol Herald Courier, the (Charlottesville) Daily Progress, the (Culpeper) Star-Exponent, the (Danville) Register & Bee, the Martinsville Bulletin, and the (Waynesboro) News Virginian — will begin publishing “expanded” print editions three days a week and deliver them by postal mail rather than using traditional newspaper carriers, reports Cardinal News… a digital publication.

How long until the Richmond, Norfolk, and Roanoke newspapers are reduced to three days a week? Continue reading

Is This Cartoon Racist?

by James A. Bacon

Is the cartoon above, drawn by Virginia Military Institute alumnus Matt Daniel, racist?

Former Governor L. Douglas Wilder thinks so. “It’s clearly racist,” he told Washington Post reporter Ian Shapira after Shapira showed it to him.

Shapira evidently thinks so, too. “Some say” the depiction of Martin Brown, Virginia’s African-American director of Diversity, Opportunity & Inclusion, “resembles a monkey,” he wrote.

Wilder is one person. The word “some” implies that there are others. None are named or alluded to. In a long-standing Washington Post reportorial tradition of the scribe attributing his own opinions to nameless others, Shapira appears to be referencing himself.

Shapira was decent enough to quote Daniel, who happens to be chairman of the Spirit of VMI PAC and a defender of VMI traditions that Shapira has relentlessly assailed as racist and sexist. “It is not a monkey. That doesn’t even make sense,” Daniel texted. “It is a voodoo doll in a business suit being harassed by a hostile writer.”

So… whom do we believe? Let’s undertake a critical examination of the cartoon to see whose interpretation — Shapira’s or Daniels’ — makes the most sense. Continue reading

As Newspapers Struggle, Local News is Harder to Find in Virginia

by Christopher Connell

It is, unfortunately, old news.

Virginia’s newspapers, the single biggest source of local news, face unprecedented challenges, with their readers, revenues, and staffs steadily dwindling.

It’s a paradox because news writ large now seems to be available everywhere, all the time, on phones in our pockets and purses.

People still hear about bickering in Congress, mysterious Chinese balloons overhead, and blizzards burying Buffalo. What they learn less about is what’s going on in their own backyards, towns, schools, counties, and state capitals.

Some 2,500 U.S. newspapers have closed since 2005, some over-reliant on advertising-dependent business models that cratered with the rise of the Internet, many simply killed by their market areas’ struggling economies. Most were print weeklies, where most people got their local news. Continue reading

No, Climate Change is Not Adding Home Runs

Rise and fall of home runs in major and minor leagues compared. No climate change in minor league parks! Source: Roger Pielke Jr.

by Steve Haner

Maybe if a claim is repeated more than once, it won’t sound so absurd?  Perhaps that is why the Richmond Times-Dispatch felt it necessary to print two stories today about the recent ludicrous claim that “climate change” is making it easier to hit a home run.

“Since 2010, more than 500 dingers can be linked to warmer than average conditions because of climate change, according to a new study,” is the summary in a photo cutline illustrating one of the stories, a Washington Post reprint on page C-2.   The paper’s full-time climate alarmism correspondent Sean Sublette also discusses the “study” in his column on his daily weather and climate crisis page.

Perhaps neither had seen that the Post’s original story quickly drew a response so strong as to constitute disproof, from another climate scientist, this one not a member of the climate crisis priesthood.  The Unbeliever dared to compare the Major League Baseball home run statistics at the heart of the “study” with similar home run statistics from AAA baseball, the NCAA’s Division 1 baseball teams, and even the Japanese professional leagues.

The home run patterns there are different.  It seems climate change is only happening in MLB stadiums.  What a relief!

The University of Colorado’s Roger Pielke, Jr. packaged his response on Twitter, and it was then shared by The Wall Street Journal.  Very much worth a read.  You won’t find any of the rebuttal data in that failed rag of a Richmond newspaper. Continue reading

Too Much Sulfur Dioxide? Ah, Don’t Worry, It’s Just a Little Fine

AdvanSix chemical plant, Hopewell. Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch has a story that illustrates the importance and need for vigorous local journalism, while also illustrating the limitations of local journalism due to the lack of seasoned reporters and editors.

The story deals with the violation of environmental regulations by a chemical plant in Hopewell. The plant, a cornerstone of manufacturing in Hopewell, has been there a long time, under at least three owners. It is huge, covering about 200 acres. It is the facility responsible for dumping Kepone into the James River between 1966 and 1975, when it came under court order for the practice. The current owner is AdvanSix, headquartered in Parsippany, N.J.

As reported by the RTD, the plant has been cited 66 times over the past eight years for violations of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the company has violated the Clean Air Act “every month over the past two years.” Continue reading

News or Commentary? You Decide

by James A. Bacon

The Washington Post leads its story about Governor Glenn Younkin’s comments on the indictment of former president Donald Trump this way:

RICHMOND — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) is famous for being just Trumpy enough to woo MAGA Republicans without alienating more moderate voters, but the former president’s indictment this week by a Manhattan grand jury investigating hush-money payments to an adult-film star found Youngkin leaping to Donald Trump’s defense.

It goes on to quote Youngkin not as defending Trump but criticizing the New York district attorney who prosecuted him.

‘It is beyond belief that District Attorney Alvin Bragg has indicted a former President and current presidential candidate for pure political gain. Arresting a presidential candidate on a manufactured basis should not happen in America,’ Youngkin tweeted on his personal account Thursday night after the news broke. ‘The left’s continued attempts to weaponize our judicial system erode people’s faith in the American justice system and it needs to stop.’

Reporters Gregory Schneider and Laura Vozzella proceed to quote tweets, emails and comments from five Youngkin critics, contrast Youngkin’s “forceful response” to the Trump indictment with his restrained response to Irvo Otieno’s death in a state mental health facility “in his own state,” and assert that the governor’s comment belies “his carefully crafted image as a zipped-up vest-wearing suburban moderate.”

If this article had appeared in the op-ed section of The Washington Post, I would not have given it a second thought. But Schneider and Vozzella purport to report the “news.” Continue reading

Move Over Covid: Sharks Are Back

by Kerry Dougherty

Great news!

Sharks are swarming off the coast of the Outer Banks. Nine great whites so far. One, named Breton, is a 13-foot adult male weighing over 1,400 pounds according to a story in Saturday’s Virginian-Pilot.

Why is this good news?

Because it’s a sign that Covid is truly over. The general public may not be aware of this, but shark stories are a staple of digital news outlets because they generate thousands of clicks. Anyone else remember the summer of 2001? The news media were full of shark attack and Chandra Levy stories.

Until the terrorist attacks of September 11 bumped the clickbait off the front pages, that is.

We haven’t been reading a great deal about sharks for the past three years because the news media found something better to scare the bejabbers out of the public: “scary-new-variants-are-coming” and “Covid-isn’t-over” stories.

Think about it: since 2020, anything with “Covid” in the headline — especially stories stoking the fear factor — were hot tickets for news outlets. The fact that newspapers, including the all-Covid-all-the-time New York Times, have finally ditched their tedious daily Covid tracking charts is a sign that the public long ago lost interest.

In fact, Congress finally acted last week to terminate the executive emergency powers that the pandemic gave to Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

The U.S. Senate voted 68-23 to officially end the Covid emergency, even though Biden planned to “wind it down” beginning May 11. Only 23 Senate knobturners voted against the measure, including the usual far-left suspects: Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker. Continue reading

Virginia is the Future

by Arthur Bloom

I want to tell you why I like The 1619 Project. It has nothing to do with the history, all of which is known to any well-educated Virginian. Of course, these things are fundamentally propagandistic exercises, any leftist worth his salt would tell you that too. But it was symbolically very important. Here’s what it did: The New York Times shifted the locus and timeline of the American Founding from Plymouth Bay to Virginia, where it belongs.

It’s a common gripe of Virginians that when most Americans today think of the Founding, they tend to think of pilgrims in black-and-white, with buckles on their shoes, even though we were there first. The 1619 Project is helping to rectify this situation. I’m holding out for a 1607 Project. Give it time, the actual Jamestown fort wasn’t even rediscovered until around 25 years ago.

The New York Times was engaged in some powerful voodoo, not to be trifled with — if you look at everything through the lens of race you won’t see it — but it’s very real. Catholic education molded Nikole Hannah-Jones, and she went on to strike a hammer blow against Yankee cultural power. The Empire of Guadalupe rises.

This was necessary, because if the affirmative action lawsuit at Harvard is successful, Harvard will become even more Chinese, and its prestige will fall. Our people won’t go there anymore. That’s why I’m rooting for Conservative, Inc.’s devious plan to turn Harvard into a Chinese enclave, it’ll be the greatest thing they’ve ever done. These two things are mortal blows to the cultural prestige of Massachusetts. And as Massachusetts falls, Virginia rises.
Continue reading

Return to Chickahominy Swamp

by Jon Baliles 

Peter McElhinney at Style Weekly takes us on a retroactive visit through the Chickahominy Swamp and the voice and mind and sounds of the late Richmond music legend Page Wilson. The new online radio station, The Breeze, has begun airing old episodes of Wilson’s weekly visit to his porch in the swamp (which was actually recorded in a music/radio studio but sounded like you were out there.

The new edition, “The Swamp Sessions,” includes an eclectic mix of roots-influenced artists, including the Sun Rhythm Section, James McMurtry, the Irish-superstar Clancy Brothers, local hero Robbin Thompson, and more. Their relaxed conversations and playing were gingerly restored from reel-to-reel tapes.

The entertaining mix of talk and live songs was recorded between 1989 and 1992 for Wilson’s local public radio show, “The Out O’ the Blue Radio Revue,” which ran from the 1990s to the early 2000s on WCVE radio.

The original show was a slice of Americana already a bit retro in its day, a fashion-defying mix of Garrison Keillor’s similarly folksy “Prairie Home Companion” and Wolfman Jack’s midnight pirate station swagger. A lot of the artists who appeared on the shows, like legendary singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt and guitarist Tony Rice – are gone. Others, like Mary Chapin Carpenter, are still touring.

“It was interesting to see how many of them, to varying degrees, played along with the whole swamp thing,” says former local radio personality Tim Timberlake, who has been editing the raw tapes into coherent programs. The setup was theater, but the food and the fellowship was real. “It was the same thing every time,” Timberlake says. “But it was different from anything else.”

Continue reading

Virginia Emergency Management During COVID – A Well-Documented Scandal

By James C. Sherlock

The National Incident Management System Preparedness Cycle

We could see it wasn’t right as it unfolded.

Virginia’s flawed response to COVID was slow for all Virginians.

Fatal for some.

But the public just saw the broad stroke external effects.

  • We saw executive orders that seemed sudden, sweeping, and disconnected from the information we had. It turns out that often the governor himself was operating in an information vacuum.
  • In the pandemic’s early phases, the Commonwealth finished last or next to last among states in crucial responses like testing and vaccination program rollouts.  Everything seemed to be invented ad hoc rather than from a plan.  It turns out that was true.
  • There was a prescient and well-drawn pandemic operations plan that had been produced by a contractor, but virtually no one in the administration knew what it required, and certainly had never practiced it in any meaningful way or fine-tuned it based on realistic exercises.  When BR found and reported on that plan in 2020, it was pulled from public view.

It is important to make sure that doesn’t happen again, whether in another pandemic or in a cyber attack, hurricane, flood, mass shooting, kinetic terrorist attack, nuclear plant emergency, or something else.

In response to my request, a very cooperative Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) FOIA official has provided a remarkable and profoundly disturbing two-volume series detailing a running history and operations analysis of what happened inside the government.

It is titled “COVID-19 Pandemic History and After Action ReportVol. 1 (covers 2020) and Vol. 2. (covers 2021) hereafter referred to as the HAAR.

It was compiled and written under contract by CNA, a highly regarded federal contractor, who had people on site in Richmond during the COVID response.

The HAAR describes and assesses a series of widespread and seemingly endless internal and external government breakdowns that compromised the health and lives of Virginia’s citizens.

Management turmoil in the state government during COVID was so extensive as to be almost indescribable by any group with less talent than the CNA team.

The HAAR documents that Virginia’s COVID response was hamstrung by a lack of operations management experience in the leadership.

I understand that with authority comes responsibility.

But the governor, his Secretary of Health and Human Resources, and his Health Commissioner were effectively the chain of decision makers during COVID.  All three were physicians.

But that is one reason we have a civil service.

Virginia’s civil service failed to prepare for its roles in emergency response long before Ralph Northam was governor.  HAAR documents the complete inability of the bureaucracy to plan, organize and equip, train for, exercise and execute emergency plans.

It is clear to me that without capable civil service support, no administration would have fared well.  I hope, by exposing this deadly failure, to prevent the same thing from happening again tomorrow.

I will make strategic recommendations here in this first part of what will be a series on this issue.

Continue reading

Virginia Law Enables School Violence – School Board Policies Can Correct It

Courtesy NBC 6                                                             6’7” 270 pound student assaults teaching aide

by James C. Sherlock

In 2019, the National Education Association (NEA) published Threatened and Attacked By Students: When Work Hurts, urging lawmakers to address the crisis of unsafe behaviors in schools.

Read about Chesterfield schools in that article.

Unfazed, progressives in 2020 in full control of the General Assembly, led by now-Congresswoman-elect Jennifer McClellan, looked to break what they considered a “school-to-prison pipeline.”

They changed Virginia law to eliminate the requirement for principals to report misdemeanor assault and battery in Virginia schools, on school buses or at school-sponsored events to law enforcement.

Even battery on school staff.

It would seem to me, if I worked in a school, useful to require such violence to be reported to law enforcement.

But maybe that’s just me. Continue reading

The Washington Post Reviews Progressive In-Fighting at the New York Times – A Cultural Cliff?

Eric Wemple Washington Post

by James C. Sherlock

Eric Wemple, the media critic of Northern Virginia’s morning newspaper, The Washington Post, has just published an article “The New York Times newsroom is splintering over a trans coverage debate.”

I subscribe to both papers.

The review is unintentionally hilarious. The comments more so.

It provides context from the left for our debates here on hormone and surgery treatments of minors.

The New York Times is racked with internal dissent over internal dissent — a development stemming from multiple open letters sent last week to newspaper management taking issue with the paper’s recent coverage of transgender youth.

Seems there is a war among the woke over who is the most woke, and who is insufficiently so. Continue reading

The Bert Ellis Feeding Frenzy


by James A. Bacon

Virginia has now entered the feeding frenzy stage of the assault on Bert Ellis’ character. Abandoning all journalistic standards of impartiality and fair play, mainstream media outlets compete with one another to publish anything they can find to compromise Ellis, a member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors appointed by Governor Glenn Youngkin and narrowly confirmed by the General Assembly.

Following a Washington Post piece yesterday that highlighted such transgressions as referring in private correspondence to a UVa employee as a “numnut,” Virginia Public Media has joined the fray. Among the new affrights uncovered through the Freedom of Information Act is the scoop that Ellis also referred to UVa administrators as “schmucks”!

It is laughable that anyone would deem such language used in personal communications to be worth publishing — as if no one else in public service speaks this way in private. Ironically, the only thing remarkable about Ellis’ use of language is how restrained it is. It is less vitriolic, for example, than the language used by Jeff Thomas, the leftist author who filed the FOIA request and peddled his findings to the media. VPM reporter Ben Paviour quotes Thomas as accusing “these people” of “lashing out with these venomous personal attacks at innocent people.”

Venomous? Really? Ellis didn’t “lash out” or “attack” anyone — these were private communications. The victims never knew about them…until Thomas uncovered them and persuaded Paviour to publicize them!

Such are the New Rules of woke journalism.

But there’s more. Paviour included one exchange in his piece that had no business appearing in any article. The fact that he chose to include it exposes the shoddiness of his journalism. Here is what he wrote: Continue reading

Break out the Smelling Salts. Bert Ellis Called Someone a “Numnut”

Image credit: Washington Post

by James A. Bacon

And the hit jobs just keep on coming!

After maligning Virginia Military Institute alumni dissident Matt Daniel two days ago, The Washington Post aims its guns today on Bert Ellis, a conservative alumnus and member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, with the publication of text messages obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. They were private communications. Like everyone else in the universe, Ellis expressed himself with candid language he would not have used in the public domain.

Make sure you’re sitting down. You might want to take a dose of anti-anxiety pills. Ellis actually called people “numnuts.”

He also had the temerity to express dissatisfaction with the Ryan administration’s obsessive focus on race, including its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives.

In truth, there is remarkably little that is worthy of note in Ellis’ text messages. Yet the Post quotes Jeff Thomas, the leftist chronicler of Virginia politics who obtained the FOIA documents, as asserting that the documents “demonstrate Governor Youngkin’s Board appointees are ignorant reactionaries consumed by hatred and neo-Confederate fantasies.”

The text messages demonstrate no such thing. Ellis has never been consumed by the destruction of Civil War statues or the assault on Southern heritage. Rather, he has lamented the trashing of Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers. There is nothing in the text messages to suggest the existence of “neo-Confederate fantasies” — nor, for that matter, the notion that he is “consumed by hatred”… unless you consider calling someone a “numnut” an indicator of unquenchable animus. Continue reading

Aside from Insinuating Matt Daniel is Anti-Semitic, Shapira’s Latest Piece Wasn’t So Bad

by James A. Bacon

The Washington Post’s Ian Shapira has finally published his piece about Matt Daniel, head of the Spirit of VMI PAC and one of the more vocal critics of the current VMI leadership. It may be the most balanced piece Shapira has ever written in his coverage of VMI — admittedly, an extremely low bar to clear. Even though Daniel declined to answer his questions, Shapira made a decent effort to present his point of view by quoting from the public record. 

I cannot say what accounts for this departure in Shapira’s journalistic practice, but it cannot entirely be coincidence that Daniel had pre-empted a feared hit job by publicly releasing a list of questions that the WaPo reporter had emailed him shortly before publication. (Bacon’s Rebellion reported on those questions here.)

Still, Shapira can’t help being Shapira, and he described two incidents that grotesquely insinuated that Daniel has Nazi and/or anti-Semitic proclivities. Continue reading