Category Archives: Media

The VASS Letter: Another MSM Lie Exposed

Image credit: Flickr

by James A. Bacon

When The Washington Post published an article four days ago claiming that “all 133 Virginia public school division superintendents” had called upon Governor Glenn Youngkin to end his campaign against “divisive” concepts in schools, only two media outlets in Virginia questioned the veracity of the statement. One was Kerry Dougherty’s blog, Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited (republished in this blog). The other was WJLA-Channel 7.

Stories published in the Post, the Richmond Times-Dispatch and other media were based on a letter issued by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. In the letter, VASS executive director Howard B. Kiser stated that he was writing “on behalf of the 133 public school division superintendents” and reiterating “key points that were shared by division superintendents.”

Yesterday Dougherty picked up on a statement buried in a WRIC-television news report — “Kiser clarified that the letter was crafted and adopted by the 12 member board and doesn’t necessarily reflect a consensus among all of its members” — that triggered her journalistic spidey senses. What were the odds, she asked, that 133 school superintendents would unanimously endorse a letter critical of Youngkin’s education policy?

More reason to question the argument that Virginia’s school superintendents were “unanimous” in their opposition to Youngkin appeared in an article published by WJLA today. The television station quoted Youngkin as saying, “It’s my understanding that in fact there was not a vote, this was a board of an association that wrote a letter and mischaracterized the support they had for that letter.”

Then the Washington-area television station did something remarkable. Its news team actually started calling public school superintendents. Continue reading

Lazy Mainstream Media Lied to Virginia

by Kerry Dougherty

Chances are you saw them. Friday’s headlines screaming that “133 Virginia School Superintendents” were protesting Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s reforms to public education, which had been a cornerstone of his campaign.

Every dang school chief in the commonwealth opposes him, they claimed.

Here’s the first paragraph from The Washington Post:

RICHMOND — All 133 Virginia public school division superintendents have urged Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) to scrap the “tip line” set up to let parents complain about teachers and principals and have asked him to stop his campaign against the teaching of “divisive” content in schools.

The old newspaper reporter in me was skeptical. EVERY superintendent in Virginia? Not a single one supports the governor? Even the superintendents in the small, conservative enclaves of Southwestern Virginia? They’re all on board with equity training and equity-based outcomes?

The protest letter came from the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. Like most education organizations this one leans left. Membership dues are on a sliding scale, depending on the size of the school district. Since professional dues are almost usually covered by taxpayers, this non-profit is indirectly funded by the public.

Lucky us.

Turns out those headlines were — let’s be honest — lies. Continue reading

What? The General Assembly Is Still Meeting?

Bob Brown, Richmond Times Dispatch photojournalist. Photo credit: Richmond Times Dispatch

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Jeff Shapiro has a nice column in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch praising the work of the Bob Brown, the long-time news photographer who is retiring, after 42 years at the RTD, at the end of this month. His photographs have captured many moments in the legislature over the years and he is a common sight at the Capitol and around committee meetings.

Beyond the praise for Brown, what struck a chord with me was Shapiro’s description of what news coverage of the legislature used to be like and how the coverage has decreased over time. Today is a good example of that withering. It is Thursday, two days before the legislature is supposed to adjourn. Prominent legislation still needs to finalized. The budget conferees have missed their deadline for reporting a budget bill, meaning that the session may go into overtime or adjourn without an agreed-upon budget. Continue reading

The Post “Reports” On Something That Has No Chance of Happening

by James C. Sherlock

Governor Youngkin gets to fill three existing vacancies on the Board of Education (BOE) and replace two more members whose terms expire on June 30 of this year. That makes five of a total of nine.

Virginians have been watching the headline making depredations of the Democratic appointees on that board for years. Color the majority of us pleased. BOE policies and the parental pushback they generated are the major reason the governor won his election.

Now Virginia Democrats want him to reappoint three progressive BOE nominees that were rejected by the Virginia House. The Washington Post has regurgitated the press release and treats it as news.

It has no filter for the absurd. Continue reading

Headline – The Richmond Times-Dispatch Needs Help

Courtesy HaHa Humor

by James C. Sherlock

Finally some good news about the dumpster fire that has been the Virginia Unemployment Commission (VEC). Governor Glenn Youngkin has reported definitive progress — real numbers in reductions of backlogs.

Here is the full Richmond Times Dispatch (RTD) headline on the story reporting those improvements.

Youngkin claims progress in reducing backlog in unemployment claims; advocates are skeptical.

Not “reports,” but “claims” progress. And “advocates” are skeptical.

Regional newspaper cutbacks have been brutal. In the case of the RTD, I will assume the paper has a live person writing the consistently anti-Youngkin headlines despite the facts of the stories. In this case, the reductions did not go far enough.

Three pieces of good news for the RTD:

  • There are plenty of good journalists looking for work;
  • The VEC can process the incumbent headline writer’s unemployment claim better than before; and,
  • As a budget cutting opportunity, there is headline-generating software available. Some of it is free.

Continue reading

What Was More “Political”: Heaphy’s Firing or His Hiring?

Tim Heaphy, pictured in 2017. Photo credit: The Cavalier Daily.

by James A. Bacon

The Richmond Times-Dispatch ramped up the mainstream media’s criticism of Attorney General Jason Miyares in a story published over the weekend. The headline: “Jason Miyares removed the head lawyer at 3 state colleges. Professors and Democrats say he’s wielding excessive influence.”

The initial wave of Miyares-critical stories, most prominently in The Washington Post and The New York Times, focused on the firing of Tim Heaphy as counsel at the University of Virginia. The articles suggested that the removal was an act of political retribution for Heaphy’s service, while on unpaid leave from UVa, as lead investigator into the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol last year.

That charge has dissipated in the face of vehement denials from Miyares, the total absence of any corroborating evidence, and the fact that Heaphy was not singled out for removal. His counterparts at George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University were sacked as well, suggesting that perhaps a different motive was at play.

Whatever that motive is, the RTD found someone to say it was “political.” Reporter Eric Kolenich quotes quotes Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor: “Universities need to be free, open places and not be politicized by the appointment of counsel who are loyal to the attorney general but not loyal to the university.” Continue reading

Virginia Papers Attack the Youngkin Administration on “News” Pages

by James C. Sherlock

Read Saturday’s VaNews January 29, 2022, from the Virginia Public Access Project.

It will provide you everything you need to assess how The Washington Post, Richmond Times Dispatch and Virginian-Pilot will cover the Youngkin administration. In their news sections. Continue reading

Richmond Fentanyl Deaths Reported by RTD. Next: Efforts to Arrest and Prosecute Local Dealers?

by James C. Sherlock

Sometimes reporters commit errors of omission. Especially when a pet cause is threatened by the facts.

Left-leaning newspapers, which include the large majority of such outlets, tend to write that an “SUV” ran down a crowd at a Christmas parade or that an “illegal gun” shot a cop. That removes personal agency and assigns guilt to inanimate objects.

Which in turn allows them to advocate both “eliminate cash bail” and “prison reform” causes while pushing gun control. They stop short of mentioning criminals unless, of course, they can be identified as right-leaning.

The Richmond Times Dispatch features a 1,200 word story:

Richmond is Virginia’s overdose capital. Nine of 10 fatal overdoses in the city involve fentanyl

Good reporting. Except for that inanimate object thing again. Fentanyl, in this story, is the equivalent of an SUV or an illegal gun. Continue reading

The Resistance Is Cohering. And the Media is Part of It.

by James A. Bacon

I think Donald Trump might have enjoyed a longer honeymoon with the media than Governor Glenn Youngkin and Attorney General Jason Miyares. No, upon reflection, that’s not quite true. The media went into attack mode the day after Trump’s inauguration over the crowd-size controversy (a meaningless issue that Trump largely brought upon himself by his silly insistence that the crowd was bigger than it actually was). By contrast, the media waited three or four days to take out the knives for Youngkin and Miyares.

Hopefully, we can put at least one ginned-up media controversy to bed — the paranoid and ill-informed speculation that Miyares fired University of Virginia’s university counsel Tim Heaphy as a form of retribution for taking a leave of absence to work on the investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. There was never a shred of evidence to support the allegation and plenty of reason to believe otherwise, not the least of which was the denial of Miyares’ spokesperson at the time. Now Miyares himself has said emphatically on television (see the video clip above) that Heaphy’s involvement in the Jan. 6 investigation had “zero” role in the decision to cashier him. Got that? Zero! In case you missed it… zero! Continue reading

Times, Post Mangle the Heaphy Story

Square peg, round hole, mainstream media hammer.

by James A. Bacon

Here is what happens when The New York Times imposes its national narrative upon a Virginia story: we are afflicted with articles with headlines like this: “Top Jan. 6 Investigator Fired From Post at the University of Virginia.”

“Democrats in Virginia,” says the sub-head, denounced the action as “a partisan move aimed at helping former President Donald J. Trump undercut the investigation of the Capitol riot.”

The Times quotes Senator Scot Surovell, D-Fairfax, as saying, “This is purely payback for Jan. 6 — there is no other reason that makes any sense. In our state, we normally leave those decisions to the school’s board of visitors and president.” Surovell presented no concrete evidence to support his speculation.

At least reporter Michael S. Schmidt had the decency to quote Victoria LaCivita, a spokesperson for Attorney General Jason Miyares, who ordered the firing. Not that it changed the way the Times framed the story, but she  directly contradicted Surovell thesis. “The decision had nothing to do with the Jan. 6 committee or their investigations,” she said. Timothy Heaphy had been a “controversial hire,” she added, and the decision to fire him had been made “after reviewing the legal decisions made over the last couple of years. The attorney general wants the university counsel to return to giving legal advice based on law, and not the philosophy of a university.” Continue reading

Fact Checked by Facebook

The original meme posted on Bacon’s Rebellion and in Facebook.

by James A. Bacon

On Sunday I published a meme from The Bull Elephant blog that used two photos to contrast the environmental footprint of the Keystone Pipeline with that of a lithium mine for hybrid cars. The point, as any thinking person would immediately grasp, was to highlight the inconsistency of those who decried the environmental impact of the pipeline but ignored the impact of a lithium mine. It was a meme. Memes, by their nature, over-simplify arguments. I posted it not because it provided a fair-and-balanced exegesis of the issue, but because the juxtaposition of images reminded readers that one cannot consider the environmental impact of gas- and 0il pipelines without also considering the impact of their renewable alternatives, which require the large-scale mining of lithium, rare earth minerals, and other elements.

The next day I cross-posted the meme on the Bacon’s Rebellion Facebook page. When I checked that page today, I found that the image had been stripped away and replaced with the following notice: “False Information. The same information was checked in another post by independent fact checkers.” Continue reading

Indoctrination Nation

The Daily Caller is a conservative, Washington, D.C.-based media organization with a national audience. This video documentary, “Indoctrination Nation,” focuses on the “parent-led rebellion against the left’s war on our kids” — here in Virginia. The video is important not only for the story it tells, which Bacon’s Rebellion readers already know, but for the fact that it was produced at all. Those loud cracking, splintering noises you hear are the sound of the liberal media monopoly busting apart.  — JAB

Bear With Us. It’s a Slow News Day.

by Kerry Dougherty

Just what we need right now.

As the national and local news turned once again to COVID, COVID and more COVID, a mama black bear and her three cubs provided Tidewater with a brief but delicious distraction.

The furry family was first discovered on Monday, napping high in a tree in the Western Branch section of Chesapeake.

The appearance — and the fact that it occurred on Bruin Drive — was a gift to journalism. There is nothing news outlets crave more during the dead week between Christmas and New Years than a human interest story with a happy ending. Cuddly animals? A bonus.

The media was so hungry for a non-COVID feature that the quartet of suburban interlopers made the national news. Continue reading

Our Media Trusts “The Smart Ones”

by Steve Haner

Not every policy imposed by government is subject to public hearings or votes. That’s one reason to vote for smart candidates who have the country’s best interests at heart and not for those who rant about personal liberty without accepting any social responsibility for individual decisions.

That was part of a response I received by email from somebody who read Friday’s post on the Air Pollution Control Board’s new regulation which ties Virginia’s auto market to emissions rules promulgated by California. I had noted how the state’s usual and statutory requirements for notice and comment had been bypassed on the orders of the General Assembly.

Clearly this reader thought that was just fine, which floored me. My respondent was a member of the working news media. If anybody should be standing up for transparency and public participation, it would be news reporters, editors and producers, right? Not this person, not on this issue. (I’ll withhold the name.)

The comments from a “journalist” about “smart candidates” versus “those who rant about personal liberty” speak for themselves. Note they would apply equally to COVID mitigations and efforts to eliminate carbon dioxide, with disdain poured on skeptics in either case. It was a refreshingly honest admission that explains the selective coverage we must wade through on so many issues. It came at a time when I was already shaking my head over the media coverage of Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin’s proposal to exit the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Continue reading

A Reprieve or Just a Bargaining Move?

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

As was reported here earlier, Alden Golden Capital has made a move to buy Lee Enterprises, the owner of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and nine other newspapers in this state. Such a move would be a disaster for the residents of the communities served by those papers. Alden has a reputation for buying up media companies, selling off their assets, laying off staff, and, as a result, seriously crippling the ability of the newspapers to cover their communities.

Lee Enterprises has seemingly fought back. It did not accept Alden’s original offer and its board has adopted a “poison pill” plan that could dilute shares if Alden starts buying them up without its consent. In its latest move, the Lee board has rejected, on technical grounds, Alden nominees for three board slots. Continue reading