Category Archives: Media

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

Another Media Merger in the Works

Virginia’s commercial news media continues its consolidation and self-cannibalization. Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund that owns the Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press, has proposed purchasing Lee Enterprises, the chain that owns the Richmond-Times Dispatch, Roanoke Times, and newspapers in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Danville, Martinsville, Waynesboro, and Bristol.

If the offer is accepted, almost the entire news-collecting apparatus in the Rest of Virginia will belong to a single entity. So reports Virginia Business. And if Alden’s management style in Hampton Roads is any predictor, we can expect to see more newsroom consolidation. As advertising and subscriptions continue to erode, Alden executives have little choice. Legacy cost structures will not support larger organizations.

In Virginia that will leave the Washington Post, supported by the deep pockets of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and endowment-backed Virginia Public Media, as the main alternative sources for news, supplemented by digital publications such as The Virginia Mercury, Cardinal News, and the Virginia Public Access Project; blogs of varying editorial consistency and quality; and niche publications such as Virginia Business and Lawyer’s Weekly. Continue reading

Deciphering the Latest Events at VMI

Cedric Wins

by James A. Bacon

In my past couple of posts about the Virginia Military Institute, I observed that VMI Superintendent Cedric T. Wins and the Board of Visitors have caved into the demands of the Northam administration for transforming the racial climate of the military academy — not just by updating traditions and iconography relating to the Confederacy but hiring a director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, a sign of obeisance to woke orthodoxy. At times I may have conveying the impression that Wins is in the same side of the culture wars as Governor Ralph Northam and Washington Post reporter Ian Shapira, who have done more than anyone to push the VMI-as-racist-hellhole narrative.

We won’t know the degree to which VMI has adopted the premises of wokism until Wins has had time to to carry out his “One Corps – One VMI” action plan.  Wins’ vision for VMI expresses a desire to balance “diversity and inclusion” with, in its words, honor as a way of life, the forging of leaders with character, and building an ethic of competing and winning.

One should not read too much into VMI’s acceptance of Governor Ralph Northam’s request to deliver a speech to the cadets Monday night. The Governor is Virginia’s commander in chief, and to have rejected the request would have been highly irregular for anyone who believes in respecting the chain of command. Meanwhile, it is abundantly clear that VMI regards Washington Post reporter Shapira as a hostile actor. Earlier this week VMI took the step of publishing a transcript of a recent Shapira interview — along with some pointed commentary. Continue reading

The Intellectual Laziness of the Mainstream Media

by Kerry Dougherty

How much longer will the mainstream media get away with pretending that it’s conservatives who are racist and never liberals?

Perhaps you noticed. As they tried to explain away the breathtaking Republican sweep of Virginia in last week’s elections, pundits and journalists alike couldn’t stop yapping about dog whistles and white supremacy.

It was so easy and required no real thinking.

But it wasn’t Republicans prancing around in blackface in Virginia as recently as the 1980s. It wasn’t Republicans running a former blackfacer for attorney general. And it wasn’t a Republican who used an offensive racial term as recently as, well, yesterday.

Nope. That was Joe Biden. Continue reading

How the WaPo’s Epic Fail on Schools Helped Elect Youngkin

Loudoun County parents pack a School Board meeting. Photo credit: Idiocracy News Media

by James A. Bacon

The national news media are full of commentary today analyzing the implications of the Republican sweep of statewide offices in Virginia. Almost all focus on Glenn Youngkin’s deft exploitation of the culture wars playing out in the state’s public schools, especially in Northern Virginia.

Youngkin does indeed deserve credit for harnessing the parents’ rebellion against “critical race theory.” Parents of school children shifted decisively from McAuliffe to Youngkin during the campaign. But there’s a big piece of the story that everyone is missing: how conservative media established the narrative of “critical race theory” and made it a top-tier issue in the election, catching the Washington Post flat-footed in the year’s biggest political story unfolding in its own back yard.

Scrappy conservative publications have long served as a counter to the dominant liberal media. They have served as a partial antidote to the dominant progressive narratives of our time, plugging voids in mainstream coverage by filling in “the other side of the story.” But they always played defense. This is the first time I can recall in which conservative media seized upon a narrative and drove an issue that decisively influenced a statewide election. Continue reading

Leftist Media Does Battlefield Prep for White Supremacist Trial


by James A. Bacon

Left-wing media from the New York Times to National Public Radio are as excited as can be about a civil trial starting today in Charlottesville that targets organizers of the infamous Unite the Right rally in 2017. As the Times puts it, lawyers for the nine plaintiffs “are hoping that their quest for unspecified financial damages will both punish the organizers and deter others.”

I have zero sympathy for the white supremacists who organized the event, staged an intimidating torch-light march through the University of Virginia, peddled racism and anti-Semitism the next day, clashed with counter-protesters, and in case of James Alex Fields, Jr., drove a car into a crowd, killing a peaceful demonstrator, Heather Heyer. I would love to see white supremacists put out of business. If the civil lawsuit manages to do that, then I’m all on board.

What concerns me is the media-created mythology exempting the Left from any responsibility for political violence in America today while indicting broader American society for the actions of white supremacists.

The New York Times opines that the case will “underscore some of the most divisive fault lines segmenting the Untied States.” Continue reading

Delta Variant On the Downhill Slide in Virginia

Source: University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute. COVID still spreading in ten health districts but retreating in twenty.

by James A. Bacon

It appears that Virginia has turned the corner on the Delta variant. According to the weekly update from the University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute Friday, the Institute’s COVID-19 model indicates that “cases have peaked and are in gradual decline.”

I don’t know about you, but that strikes me as good news — especially after weeks and weeks of we’re-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket stories from Virginia’s media outlets.

Amusingly, the only article in my VANews clip compilation this morning that acknowledged the Biocomplexity Institute findings comes from the Danville Register & Bee… in an article that COVID cases are still rising in the local health district even as the virus is retreating statewide. Count on the press to find the gray lining of every fluffy white cloud! Continue reading

The Impermeable Thought Bubble that Is the Washington Post

by James A. Bacon

Here’s the Washington Post’s take on the Critical Race Theory furor in Northern Virginia: Nothing to see here, move along now.

The controversy over implementation of social-justice ideology in Virginia public schools has gotten so intense that there is simply no ignoring it, as the WaPo did for months. WaPo may be the last media outlet to acknowledge the tumult in its own back yard.

Now the WaPo is giving credence to the Democratic Party talking point that Republicans are creating a “scare tactic” or sending out “dog whistles” to stir up the base this fall.

A recent article addressing the controversy quotes Stephen Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington political science professor, as saying that turning CRT into a target is a way to motivate Republicans to vote in a nonpresidential election year. “The threat that there’s some evil outside force pushing a radical agenda into your elementary school is a vehicle for getting people energized,” he said. “It’s more about turnout of the base than persuasion.” Continue reading