Category Archives: Media

Major Impacts of Northam’s War against Teachers

Federal school funding threatened; Democrats and unions in a bind; Lawsuits coming

Timing is Everything

by James C. Sherlock

Ralph Northam declared on August 30 of this year that Virginia’s schools are systemically racist and that teachers are presumptively racist and must be treated and monitored.

In addition to threatening to create turmoil in the schools and damage to the very students he apparently meant to help, the Governor has potentially kicked over a hornets’ nest worse than he stirred up with his infamous infanticide interview that resulted in the release of his blackface yearbook photo. 

And he may have set Virginia up for federal demands for repayments of Department of Education funds and related fines. At stake is a breathtaking amount of money that includes CARES Act funding, all of which has been contingent on compliance with the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The documented facts may also have put Democrats and their allies (in that word’s traditional and critical race theory definitions) in a large political bind.

Continue reading

More Bad News for Our Local Newspapers

by Kerry Dougherty

Yes, yes, we all complain about the local newspaper.

Its editorials are too liberal. The news coverage is too thin. Mistakes are too frequent.

No one can deny that The Virginian-Pilot is a shadow of what it was 15 years ago when the paper was humming with reporters and editors, when its military coverage was the best in the nation, when the newspaper relentlessly collected scalps of corrupt businessmen and politicians.

There was a time — not that long ago — when The Pilot was also considered the most elegant paper in America, with a crack photo department and a genius artist and designer, Sam Hundley, who won award after award for his artistic pages.

The newsroom staff numbered close to 300 at its peak. Shoot, our Virginia Beach bureau, in the old Beacon building, may have housed as many reporters as are covering the entire area now. Continue reading

The Media Meltdown Accelerates

by James A. Bacon

First Norfolk’s Virginian-Pilot merged with the Daily Press in Newport News. Then, the parent company, Tribune Publishing Co., closed the Pilot’s Norfolk office, telling reporters, editors and other employees they could work either at the Pilot’s press operation in Virginia Beach or the Daily Press office across the river. Then, Tribune shuttered the press operation. And now, reports Virginia Business, Tribune is closing the Newport News office.

It seems that Tribune has violated the terms of its leases by failing to pay rent and other charges since May 2019. Pointe Hope LLC, owner of the property, sued the newspaper for $110,000 in June.

The COVID-19 epidemic forced many employees in the Virginian-Pilot and Daily News news staffs to operate from home, and it now looks like the “virtual newsroom” for everyone will become permanent. Continue reading

Media Waters Getting Colder and Colder

The shrinkage of newsrooms at Virginia’s commercial newspapers continues apace. Lee Enterprises, owners of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Daily Progress, and Roanoke Times, among other newspapers, have confirmed another round of layoffs.

The RTD has eliminated positions for a business reporter, a photojournalist, a multimedia content provider, and a sports producer. Meanwhile, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises has cut 10 copy editing and design jobs at the Roanoke Times as part of  plan to centralize page design. And the Daily Progress has lost two news staff, including a digital content coordinator, reports Virginia Business.

Also, disclosed Virginia Business, the Daily Progress‘ four-person copy desk in Charlottesville will be laid off in October as part of Lee Enterprises’ centralization of copy editing functions. While those important functions will continue to be fulfilled, there is no way that out-of-state copy editors can replicate the local knowledge of home-based editors. Continue reading

A Sad Emblem of Our Times

By Dick Hall-Sizemore

A venerable Richmond-based printing company closed last May. Somehow, that really saddened me. Perhaps because it was located not far from where I live. Perhaps because it had been around for so long.  Perhaps because it had a niche business that seemed sort of neat to me. Perhaps because its closing seemed so emblematic of the times.

I meant to comment on it then, but other topics and activities kept bumping it down the list. Then, Jim’s post yesterday about the Virginia economy and some of the follow-up comments brought it back to my mind.

The William Byrd Press was founded in 1913. In 1984, it merged with a North Carolina company and was renamed Cadmus. By 2007, it had 500 employees and was the world’s largest printer for publishers of scientific, technical, and medical journals. It was the fifth largest printer of periodicals in North America. Continue reading

Elmer Gantry In Lynchburg

Jerry Falwell, Jr., and wife Becki

By Peter Galuszka

The resignation of Jerry Falwell Jr. amid a series of scandals may have a strong impact in Virginia where his late father built an extraordinary, ultra-conservative evangelical university in Lynchburg that later became highly politicized lightning rod supporting President Donald Trump.

Falwell has been caught up in a number of controversies including limiting speech on campus, going after The New York Times for trespassing when it reported he insisted that student ignore wearing anti-viral pandemic masks and so on.

What happened with Falwell Jr is as  an American story as apple pie topped with a Cross. It might have some straight out of the pages of Elmer Gantry.

After touting strict school policies that forbid students from drinking alcohol, watching “R”-rated movies or engaging in pre-marital sex, Falwell was pictured aboard a NASCAR mogul’s yacht half dressed with a semi-clad, pregnant woman who was said to be his wife Becki’s assistant. Falwell was holding a wine glass with a liquid in it but Falwell said it wasn’t wine.

Shortly afterwards, he gave an interview to the right-leaning Washington Examiner stating that his wife had been involved with a multi-year sexual affair with Giancarlo Granda, a former Miami Beach pool boy whom Falwell funded to set up a hostel business. Continue reading

The Godzilla of Truth Launches Digital News Site

by James A. Bacon

As old-school newspapers fade away, there’s a new star in Virginia’s media constellation — the Virginia Star. The John Fredericks Radio Network has launched a daily news and digital newspaper for Virginia as an affiliate of Star News Digital Media.

“The Virginia Star will be fiercely local in its core news reporting content, augmented with a national flavor and robust commentary section,” said Frederick, a flamboyant radio personality who bills himself the “godzilla of truth,” in announcing the venture. The enterprise has hired three local full-time reporters and has contracted with several more on a part-time basis.

“We will be covering the real stories in Virginia that the fake news chooses to ignore, which prompted the vision for the publication,” said Fredericks. “We believe TheVirginiaStar.com will soon grow to be one of Virginia’s key resources for the truth. Our mission is to bring our readers real news without the leftist bias in reporting that unfortunately drives most newsrooms today.”

Known for his conservative, pro-Trump commentary, Fredericks also said in his announcement:

Our primary RVA competitors are furloughing staff members, making buyouts, shrinking coverage while becoming beholden to the far left fringe agenda. Another news competitor in the Virginia digital space is fully funded by a Democratic play to pay activist who’s spent millions on electing Democrats in Virginia. Honest reporting is sacrificed as a result. We intend to resolve that. We are growing and will continue to bring Virginians real news and information.

Continue reading

Charlottesville Elites and Virginia’s New Ruling Class

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

by James A. Bacon

Before it sold off its national newspaper division to Lee Enterprises for a measly $140 million in March, Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway owned most of the newspapers in western and central Virginia, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Roanoke Times, the Daily Progress (in Charlottesville), and the News Virginian (in Waynesboro). Reporting by these newspapers dominated news coverage of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and shaped the pro-environmental narrative that ultimately defeated it.

Earlier this month Dominion Energy, the pipeline’s managing partner, announced that it was abandoning the project and, indeed, was selling its multibillion-dollar gas distribution business to…. Berkshire Hathaway Energy. Upon consummation of the $4 billion transaction, Berkshire Hathaway’s energy subsidiary will carry 18% of all interstate natural gas transmission in the United States.

Coincidence?

Charles Munger Jr., son of Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charles Munger.

Arthur Bloom, managing editor of the American Conservative website, doesn’t come right out and say that Berkshire Hathaway used its power of the press to force Dominion into abandoning the pipeline and unloading its gas distribution, but he does suggest that such a thing might be possible. In “The Great Virginia Pipeline Swindle,” he writes:

What is beyond dispute is the death of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has now resulted in a substantial acquisition for Berkshire Hathaway, after various people connected to the company have worked to kill it.

Continue reading

The Return of the “Cooch”

By Peter Galuszka

Early this past Wednesday morning, Mark Pettibone and Connor O’Shead were walking on their way home after a peaceful protest in Portland, Ore.

Suddenly an unmarked van pulled in front of them. Men wearing green uniforms, tactical gear and generic signs reading “POLICE” hustled them into the vehicle. They were not told why they were being detained. After 90 minutes, the badly shaken men were released without being charged.

The episode might sound like the activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his “little green men” who have shown up in places like Crimea and Eastern Ukraine to intimidate and detain people.

But this was Portland, a progressive city that has seen protests for weeks. President Donald Trump has urged federal authorities to move in on cities to restore his sense of order even though city officials in Portland do not want his help and are investigating what is going on.

And, guess who is playing a role in what could be a growing national trend of federal law enforcement performing “snatch and grabs” of innocent protestors?

That would be Kenneth Cuccinelli, the former hard right, state attorney general and failed gubernatorial candidate. He is now acting deputy secretary of the Trump’s Department of Homeland Security. Continue reading

Bacon Bits: Purges, Clickbait, and Drunkenness

Pushing back against the New York Slimes. Liberty University is suing the New York Times for defamation, accusing the paper of crafting a “clickbait” story intended to create the erroneous impression that there was a COVID-19 outbreak on the school’s campus this spring, reports the News & Advance. The lawsuit says that reporter Elizabeth Williamson misrepresented the statement of a university-affiliated physician, who said that twelve students showed signs of “upper respiratory infection,” which can refer to the common cold, as evidence of a COVID-19 outbreak. “We’re not looking for money,” said Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. “We want to expose the New York Times for the liars and Buzzfeed clickbait organization they’ve become.”

VCU’s purge of the past reaches logical conclusion. Having completed its review of buildings, names, plaques and places, the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Committee on Commemoration and Memorials has targeted 16 memorials on the campus for removal. Regardless of life-long accomplishments and contributions to the community, any individual who served in the Confederate army in any capacity is being stuffed down the memory hole.

One memorial identified for removal a plaque honoring Simon Baruch. In 1939 philanthropist Bernard Baruch gave $100,000 to the Medical College of Virginia to renovate a building in honor of his father, Simon. The elder Baruch graduated from MCV in 1862 and served as a surgeon in the Confederate army. The plaque outside the auditorium lists his accomplishments and mentions his Confederate service. Similarly, the committee recommends de-commemoration and deletion of all references to the university’s Ginter House on the grounds that Lewis Ginter, one of Richmond’s great business leaders and philanthropists of the late 19th century, served in the Confederate army.

Drunken revelry and the COVID epidemic. If you wonder what’s contributing to the uptick in COVID-19 in Virginia, here’s a hypothesis: Drunken young people are dispensing with their masks and infecting one another. Continue reading

What It Is, Is Not Journalism

Photo credit: Bob Brown, Richmond Times-Dispatch

By Dick Hall-Sizemore

I never thought that I would agree with Jim Bacon on the slant of the RTD’s news coverage, but an article on evictions today just really irritated me.

It was the usual article about activists demonstrating at the Richmond courthouse and protesting evictions. (At least the demonstration on Thursday was peaceful; no smashed windows, no pepper spray, no arrests.)  The article was a cut and paste job, recounting the familiar history of the how many evictions are pending and how a moratorium on evictions has been lifted. It concluded with several quotes from college-age demonstrators talking about the corrupt capitalist society. (I had another flashback to the 1960s). Continue reading

Spanberger Vs. Trump

Rep. Abigail Spanberger

By Peter Galuszka

U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th District, continues to draw international attention as a “New Look” Democrat from Virginia who is savvy about the intelligence community and global affairs.

The former CIA case officer was featured on CNN criticizing the administration of Donald Trump for ignoring reports that Russian military intelligence had paid bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S. troops and members of the pro-U.S. coalition there.

Her comments were picked up by the British newspaper, the Guardian. This may be the first time that a woman Member of Congress has gotten so much exposure beyond borders of the Old Dominion.

Neither Dave Brat nor Eric Cantor, her Republican predecessors in the 7th district that includes parts of the once reliably Red Richmond suburbs of Chesterfield and Henrico, has gotten such exposure. The only other woman who has come close is U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat and former Navy officer who represents the 2nd District that includes Virginia Beach, another area that was once reliably Red. Continue reading

Another Use and Abuse of Statistics…

Sources: Fairfax County Police Department, U.S. Census Bureau

by James A. Bacon

The Fairfax County Police Department publishes a statistical report every year on the police use of force in the county. There were 594 use-of-force incidents reported in 2019, up from 510 the previous year. The publication provides data with minimal commentary.

This is the headline from the Reston Now article summarizing the report: “Fairfax County Police Disproportionately Use Force on Black Individuals.” The headline was backed up by this paragraph:

Black residents were involved in roughly 31 percent of use-of-force incidents, even though they make up a little over 8 percent of the total population. Roughly 48 percent of all use-of-force incidents involved whites, who make up 67 percent of the total population.

By placing the data in the context of the national uproar over the George Floyd killing and calls for police reform, as the story did, Reston Now feeds the standard media Oppression Narrative. But the story left a lot out, which seems to be the usual operating procedure. Cherry pick the facts that support the media narrative, and omit anything that might call it into question. Continue reading

BR’s COVID-19 Parallel Universe

By Peter Galuszka

Almost every morning, I wake up a little before dawn, make coffee, let the dog out and feed her and start reading the news.

I take The Washington Post in print along with The New York Times, Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Virginian-Pilot, NBC News, various television stations and, of course, Bacon’s Rebellion online.

Later in the morning, I check out Blue Virginia, Virginia Mercury and RVA.

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, every morning I step into two different universes.

One gives me the global and national view that jumps right in and explains where we are with the virus and who and what are at risk.

The other view, that of Bacon’s Rebellion, mostly paints a very different picture. This view insists that the pandemic is exaggerated and overrated, needless regulations are being enacted by a dictatorial governor, our school system and housing trends are at risk and we should open everything up right now. Continue reading

The Very Real Threat of “Boogaloo”

By Peter Galuszka

White protestors have smeared a statue of Arthur Ashe, the African-American tennis star who faced systemic racism when he was growing up in Richmond.

True, the Ashe memorial had earlier been defaced by “Black Lives Matter” messages spray painted on its base. On Wednesday, a small band of protestors painted over the “BLM” statements with “White Lives Matter” pronouncements.

One of the protestors, a white man who called himself “Everybody,” claimed he had grown up in Richmond and drove off in a sedan with South Carolina plates, according to the Richmond-Times-Dispatch.

What is disturbing is the prospect of violent conflict, perhaps involving fast-firing, assault-style rifles, between opposing camps.

Much has been made of the so-called threat posed by ANTIFA, said to be a radical left group that is prepared to use violence at protests, which have been largely peaceful in Virginia and across the country. Continue reading