Monday, November 20, 2006

The "Newport Daily News" - "Fair & Balanced" - NOT

I haven't seen anything in the Newport Daily News "Letters" regarding their Nov. election endorsements. I know that Sen. Chuck Levesque wrote one (he was NOT endorsed), but I haven't seen it printed. He was pretty much disgusted and insulted with their endorsements & the process. I'm with Chuck. Many were rude & insulting, dismissive, and downright strange. They take the position that they are non-partisan, yeah; and I'm a former Miss America.

Let's get to specifics here. In Newport (non-partisan - see note below) one incumbent-Duncan- referred to our immigrant population here (primarily from So. Am.) as "wetbacks." How do I know this? Because candidate Marvin Abney wrote a letter complaining about it to the paper & they printed it. Certainly NOT because the paper bothered to report it. No, It had NOTHING to do with the fact that the speaker was a Republican!
Let me explain how these endorsements take place. You are invited with your opponent to a private interview at the Snooze office. In attendance is the editor (Sheila Mulowney) who acts as the smiling moderator. She has a printed list of questions. For legislative candidates this takes an hour, for Council/School candidates it may take longer due to the larger number of candidates. Three others are there (including the owner) and a reporter. This comprises the editorial board (not the reporter). Except for the owner (Bucky Sherman) everyone is madly scribbling (shopping lists I now assume, except for the reporter). One THINKS that this is what figures into their decision-making process & makes it into the articles the paper writes. WRONG! I do believe that my opponent could have told them where Jimmy Hoffa was buried and that she had done the act. They would have scribbled madly, and printed - nothing! My opinion is that the reporter knows how to do his job, but anything that would lead one to believe that a Republican candidate in a partisan election is lacking is duly edited out.

Veteran legislator Levesque (Ports, & Bristol) was IGNORED. Rep. Rice was IGNORED. I merited ONE short sentence (two yrs. ago I had no problem with an Indian casino & this yr. I was taking no stand). Hours of prep & questioning and we merited NOTHING, ZILCH, NADA. But more. In my interview my opponent once remarked when a rebuttal coment was solicited from her: "No comment." And when she implied that I lied about her being for higher property taxes two years ago, I gave my proof when all the reporters (& the good Sen.) looked like they were going to explode. She said that sometimes she didn't vote because she coundn't "make up her mind", her vote "didn't count", "didn't matter" (boy, that's an understatement). She stated that she had "a hard job getting legislation with her name on it passed" (but reveresed herself when she was on Cox).

Naive me actually figured that this would make it into the article. Huh! Nothing. If I had realized this I would have done mailings on what was said. Instead I had to resort to spending more $ in the Snooze for ads to do their reporting for them.
When they say they want "change" in the legislature, what they mean is more Republicans.
The statewide endorsements were just as wacky. They refused to endorse for Lt. Gov. as they thought the job specs should be changed. ??? Guv was, surprise, surprise Carcieri. Fogarty was viewed as "holding the reins of the machine." Why did he even bother to show. Chaffee was endorsed (what happened to change?) because he was.
My advice to future candidates? Forget the endorsement interview unless it's open to the public and/or you have a heckuva good notetaker. Don't expect anything even close to in-depth coverage. Or better yet - take a much needed nap. They have a whole other agenda than what they publicly ascribe to and if you're a Dem., it ain't in your favor!

**P.S. A note on WHY Newport has non-partisan elections (which the Snooze loves & wants everyone to do - that way they can keep up their mask of non-partisan nodrsements/reporting). It all goes back to the passage of the federal law prohibiting partisan politics for anyone working for the gov't or employed by a gov't contractor. This made almost everyone in Newport ineligible when the Navy was here in full stregnth. The only was to get around this so that some local candidates could actually run, was to have "non-partisan" elections. Then the law did not apply and anyone, even those employed by the gov't could run. Voila!