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--- Myer finds a scapegoat

Published by waner in Myer/editorials · 22/3/2015 20:13:00
Tags: MyerIntelligencerLGBTcharters
When I think of lobbyists who had the power over the most recent West Virginia legislature, a couple of groups come quickly to mind. First there are the coal operators who got to write their own legislation this term. Second would be the NRA and their friends who changed the concealed-carry law. Third would be the Chamber of Commerce and similar groups (including the local chapter of the Koch brother's Americans for Prosperity and the State Policy Network) who not only tried to pass a right-to-work law but also went after the prevailing wage in WV. (Not to mention their efforts on tort reform.)  These are just a couple of the powerful groups that influenced politics in West Virginia's most recent legislative session. Has Michael Myer ever written about their power?  Not that I can recall. (Please e-mail me if you can point to when he has ever taken any of these groups to task for their lobbying.) No, if you've read Myer, the only groups that try to influence our legislators are trial lawyers, teacher unions, and unions in general. If you read yesterday's Myer column, however, he's added another group to his list of those who think only of themselves instead of what is best for the state. Yes, I'm talking about the LGBT community. Here's Myer on what happened to the charter schools legislation:

But many of its flaws had been worked out when something incredible happened: The bill was killed by the LGBT - lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender - lobby. LGBT advocates persuaded state senators to amend the charter schools bill to ban specifically any discrimination against students or employees based on sexual orientation.

House of Delegates members decided they'd rather ban discrimination for any reason, so they substituted a line simply barring it for any reason that would be unlawful if practiced by a public school.

Sounds reasonable. But the LGBT folks raised the roof over the change - and the charter school bill died.

Is that what happened? (The LGBT group may be organized but are they really that powerful in WV?) If you look at various press accounts you'll find that they don't agree with Myer that legislators thought that there would be no problems for LGBT students. Here, for example, is the Charleston Gazette's take:

■ CHARTER SCHOOLS — A plan for private-run public schools died after a House committee voted to let the schools reject gay students, teachers and staff.

And here is Michael Erb reporting in Myer's own paper, the Intelligencer, on March 15:

The charter schools bill had generated criticism from educators who said it would be a drain on the state's public education system, but opposition exploded when a House committee removed language from the bill which protected gay, lesbian and transgender students from discrimination.

Note that neither of these reports suggest that the LGBT students would still be protected. Why?  Here's the Gazette (Skinner is a delegate from Jefferson, Seufer is a Charleston attorney who practices school law):

Skinner said that while bullying against LGBT students is considered in state policy, there are plenty of other ways that charter schools could discriminate if the amendment becomes part of charter schools law, including during enrollment into charter schools and discrimination against school staff.

Asked about school personnel, Seufer said that decisions by the precursor to the Public Employees Grievance Board established that discrimination based upon sexual preference or orientation is illegal. But under the current version of the bill, charters would be allowed to opt out of the state grievance process.

Myer didn't get his charter schools and so he needs someone to blame. Instead of arguing that the LGBT rights should have been in the bill, he blames those who would have been the victims had the legislation passed. Nice.

--- Myer and the Intelligencer on Charlie Hebdo

Published by waner in Myer/editorials · 17/1/2015 14:01:00
Tags: hebdoIntelligencer

I originally decided to not to write about Michael Myer’s column on Charlie Hebdo last Sunday because it was just a typical Myer column – lots of straw men and unsubstantiated attacks. Today, the Intelligencer editorialized that the real defenders of freedom were the two policemen who were killed in the attack. Okay then, let’s take a look at the column and the editorial.

Myer wrote last week:

Collectively, through many of our elected leaders and many in our mass media, we have different attitudes about angering people. It's all right to run offensive cartoons concerning the Pope. It's expected satire will be focused on the president.

How about providing one example of an offensive cartoon about the Pope in mainstream media – just one?  (You don’t have to show it, just describe it.) And if anyone knows what the third sentence has to do with the previous two, please advise me – I don’t understand its context.)

But we make an exception for Muslims. President Barack Obama himself has questioned whether it's all right to offend them.

We make exceptions for Muslims?  We do? An example please. (I can’t think of one example.) And why not give us Obama’s exact quote?  I’ll bet he didn’t say what Myer says that he said otherwise he would have quoted him directly. Finally, didn’t that Pope that Myer is so concerned about say "you cannot insult the faith of others?"

Myer continues:

Why is that? If we're so concerned about other people's feelings, why do we not condemn behavior that upsets Christians or Jews?

Yet another assertion. Shouldn’t we have at least one example to support this point?  And no one condemns the behavior?  How about Bill Donahue of the Catholic League who does this for a living on a daily basis on Fox News?  

Yes, more of the same from Michael Myer.

Today’s editorial "Defending Our Liberty" is not about the cartoonists. Rather, it’s about the two policemen who lost their lives defending the magazine's workplace. Having watched and read about the aftermath of the attack, I believe they have been properly honored but our editorial writer needs to find a way to attack those who sometimes question police tactics:

Freedom of the press indeed is a critical safeguard of liberty. In some countries it is included in basic rules of society.

Many of us forget sometimes that such rules need to be enforced. That is done by law enforcement officers - who are as likely to be ridiculed and criticized, occasionally to the point of suggestions they should be murdered, as they are to be thanked.

And so we get to the point of the editorial and it has nothing to do with the cartoons, it’s that we shouldn’t ridicule or criticize police.

Not dealt with in either column or editorial is where the Intelligencer stands on the cartoons, freedom of the press, and Charlie Hebdo. (Charlie Rogerson wrote an excellent guest column on the subject on January 11 but that doesn’t count.) Who knows, maybe they’re afraid that "they’ll come after us with AK-47s and bombs?"

--- so much for objectivity and fairness

Published by waner in Myer/editorials · 26/10/2014 21:41:00
Tags: Intelligencerpolitics

Giving up any pretense of being anything but a Republican propaganda rag

With a column by Michael Myer and a news report by Ian Hicks, yesterday's Intelligencer suggests that they've clearly abandoned the standards of objectivity and fairness.

Meyer tells us in his title that "Mudslinging Serves No Purpose."  His first criticism is of Glenn Gainer's campaign which, according to Myer, has recently been slinging the mud. Myer does not provide us with any details and I couldn't find anything in a Google search of Gainer or McKinley. I guess we are just supposed to take Myer's word for it that Gainer is mudslinging.

Just a thought -- isn't calling someone a mudslinger without providing any details a form of mudslinging? Yeah, it’s a form of name-calling - one of Myer’s favorite methods of arguing. For example, I would think that calling someone an "ultra-liberal" or "radical environmentalist" as he often does without providing any evidence certainly qualifies as mudslinging (given his intended audience). Myer’s other argumentative method is guilt by association. Just look at his recent columns and see how many times he tries to connect Natalie Tennant to President Obama and Harry Reid.  He does not deal with what Tennant says because she is saying the same thing as Capito on most issues. Whenever she says what Capito says, Myer calls Tennant a liar and then once again connects her to Obama and Reid knowing the Obama-haters and the war-on-coal troops will respond appropriately. Okay Michael Myer, tell us again how "mudslinging serves no purpose."

Myer also tells us that:   

Gainer has no chance of winning. By most accounts, he has not campaigned much in critical areas of the first District.

He hasn't campaigned?  Really? How would Myer know since the Intelligencer has totally ignored his campaign. (The last time I checked the Intelligencer Derby, his opponent had four times more coverage than he had and most of Gainer’s coverage came in just one article early in the campaign.)  A friend of mine has also let me know how frustrated a Gainer campaign worker she knows has been trying to get any publicity into our local papers.

Myer then spends the last one third of the column attacking Tennant once again over her courthouse fiasco comparing her explanation to the "if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck" old saying.  (As similes go for Myers, "like beating a dead horse" would better describe what he was doing.)

Despite the word "mudslinging" in the title, the column is mostly about Gainer and Tennant.  I think the "mudslinger" part is to set up the story on Dolph Santorine by Ian Hicks on the front page of the Region section:  "Candidate Santorine Responds to Negative Ads."

Over the years, I’ve obviously read some biased stories in the Intelligencer and regular readers obviously know what I think of their ethics and journalistic integrity. That said, I have to say that this story is right up there with the worst that I’ve seen from the Intelligencer. The article is almost 400 words of Santorine propanganda posing as a news story.

Some background:  Republican Dolph Santorine is running in the 3rd District for House of Delegates.  A group called Protect West Virginia sent out two flyers in which they pointed out that Santorine paid for his campaign instead of his taxes:

Dolph Santorine has no problem spending $91,203 on his own political campaign, but he has a real problem paying his taxes.  He’s racked up a stunning seven tax liens totaling over half a million dollars in state and federal taxes.

Dolph could pay his taxes if he wanted to, but he thinks he’s above the law and doesn’t need to pay his fair share.

Instead of paying his fair share like the rest of us do to help fund our roads, schools and military, Dolph decided to give his political campaign $91,203 of his own money.  

(Note – bold is in the original.)  The bottom of the ad has references to case numbers, filing numbers, and the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.

If the Intelligencer wanted to cover this story properly they could have easily fact-checked the flyer and then talked to Santorine to get his explanation and there are number of excellent models for newspaper fact checking on the web.  (For example, run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center often examines how truthful political ads are.)  Instead the Intelligencer gave candidate Santorine free rein to say whatever he wanted including criticism of the Democratic Party. Interestingly, Santorine did not deny the charges. Instead he said that he didn’t like the IRS bullying him.

Santorine doesn’t deny the charges but he gets 400 words anyway. The man admits to not paying taxes but the story makes him sound like a hero. And there are no editorials or columns about candidates who don’t pay their taxes but expect law-abiding citizens to pay theirs. Finally, can you imagine how the Intelligencer would handle a Democratic candidate not paying his/her taxes?  It wouldn’t be pretty.

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