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.

For two years the VEC has demonstrated the nation’s worst performance in processing unemployment claims. The paper’s best reporter, Mike Martz, wrote of definitive progress under the new leadership.

Youngkin said Monday that his administration has reduced a backlog of more than 246,000 unprocessed reports from employers about claims filed by former employees by 89%, or almost 219,000 “employer separation reports,” which help to determine whether people are eligible for unemployment benefits.

The governor also said the agency, under new leadership since his inauguration on Jan. 15, had reduced the backlog in unpaid pending claims — those still in adjudication for eligibility — from almost 25,000 to under 16,000, a reduction of 36%.

Mr. Martz dutifully found skeptics and reported their concerns, even though they offered absolutely no contravening data.

Advocates and legislators say they are unsure what the announcement means.

Unsure what the announcement means? Is it just me, or does the Governor’s statement “mean” precisely what the announced numbers indicate?

Mr. Martz reported that the organizations whose lawsuit against VEC was dismissed in December are “looking for progress.” Losers looking, as a country song had it, “in all the wrong places.” Look at the announcement.

VEC Commissioner Carrie Roth is too smart and experienced to overstate the progress.

“We are not declaring victory,” Roth said in an interview on Monday. “We are declaring we have done a large amount of work in the first month.”

So, excellent news on progress at the VEC. Mr. Martz, as always, did an excellent job of reporting it. His work deserved a better headline.

RTD has been guilty of anti-Youngkin narrative-shaping with headlines since the election. It knows that many readers don’t get past the headline.

Mr. Martz wrote the story in a way that made it clear that he had to check a reporting box in interviewing “advocates and legislators” who proved “unsure” of “what the announcement means” other than that they were skeptical. Mission accomplished. They had nothing.

Neither did the headline writer.

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14 responses to “Headline – The Richmond Times-Dispatch Needs Help”

  1. Wahoo'74 Avatar

    Where were Mr. Matrz and the RTD when prior Gov. Northam did mothing for 4 years? The blatant hypocrisy and stupidity of the MSM in criticizing Youngkin for something like this is mind boggling.

    The Washington Post claims in an editorial today that “polls show Virginians are now against Gov. Youngkin’s polices which are too far Right.” Really? I hope Bacon’s Rebellion can debunk that premise as well.

    1. John Martin Avatar
      John Martin

      you can’t. He is a mini trump

    1. The government is already planning on requiring automakers to install a kill switch in every new car, truck, and SUV sold in the U.S.

      The next logical step is kill switches in people, right?

      I’d probably better stop talking about this – don’t want to give the democrats any ideas…

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        I can start/stop my engine via my phone, get lat-lon, set environment controls, book service, etc., etc. Haven’t figured it all out yet.

        Since when are Cruz & Hawley Democrats? They’re the ones who think the Innocence Project is soft on crime.

        BTW, malware on your pacemaker is a “kill” switch.

  2. tmtfairfax Avatar

    If every newspaper larger than a weekly community paper disappeared along with every reporter and editor, would the nation miss them? I wouldn’t. And it looks like many of the readers the MSM picked up during the Trump administration and post-presidency hysteria have left. Gotta hope for more and more hard times in the newsrooms.

  3. David Wojick Avatar
    David Wojick

    I did not know that backlogs had advocates.

    1. Nicely done, sir!

      I wish I had caught that one myself.

      1. David Wojick Avatar
        David Wojick

        Thanks! My personal favorite to date read “North Carolina launches teen pregnancy program”.

  4. disqus_VYLI8FviCA Avatar

    The RTD stopped being a news outlet years ago. They are head cheerleaders for the favorite causes and politicians. Youngkin doesn’t quite make their list of “favorites” which is a solid indicator he is on the right track.

  5. Kathleen Smith Avatar
    Kathleen Smith

    I could almost single handily get the numbers up at VEC. Simply deny all claims. Then it goes to another new timeline for appeal. A joke!

  6. Randy Huffman Avatar
    Randy Huffman

    Our Charlottesville Daily Progress, which I believe is owned by the same parent as RTD, has become extremely leftist and a number of articles are unbearable to read. They have a new Opinion Editor, and after reading and commenting on a few of his Editorials, they wrote this gem about the January 6 riot:

    “Accepting the truth about Jan. 6 is a litmus test for democracy. The Capitol attack was a violent attempt at insurrection, a plan to overthrow the legal election of the nation’s highest officeholder. Jan. 6 was more dangerous than the occupation of the Capitol by the British more than 200 years ago.”


    Never-mind that the “occupation ” over 200 years ago was the War of 1812, and the British not only marched into Washington DC with armed troops, they went into the Capital and tried to burn it to the ground (and set fire to many other buildings). This was not the only written statement in recent Editorials I found to be appallingly inaccurate (I understand these are opinion pieces, and I want to read alternate points of view, but they need to be straight with the facts).

    This lack of credibility is likely to cause me to walk away from their Opinion pieces, and just glance through it online to see what local news they have and sports.

  7. John Martin Avatar
    John Martin

    and just what did Youngkin do?

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      He appointed a good leader and manager to run the VEC. Atif Qarni and Dr. Norman Oliver were unavailable.

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