In just 12 days, Virginians will head to the polls in a number of districts and jurisdictions, yet if you simply read your Virginia corporate media outlet, you’d barely know a thing about them. Here are just a few races I’d argue the corporate media should be covering heavily – but mostly isn’t.
- The Democratic primary in the newly-configured 4th CD between State Senator Donald McEachin and Councilwoman Ella Ward.
- The Republican primary in the newly-configured 4th CD, between Sheriff Mike Wade and Jackee Gonzalez.
- The Republican primary in the 2nd CD, between Rep. Randy Forbes, Scott Taylor and Pat Cardwell.
- The Democratic primary for Senate District 1, between Del. Monty Mason and Newport News School Board member Shelly Simonds.
I’ve noticed very little coverage of any of these races, in spite of the fact that the election is VERY soon — on June 14. For instance, I did Nexis searches for “Shelly Simonds” and “Monty Mason” for the past month, and I got only two semi-relevant articles, one in the Daily Press about officials preparing for the primary and another, also in the Daily Press, about how “new lines could cause primary mix-ups.”
Other than that…nada. No interviews with the candidates. No coverage of debates or forums (have there even been any? if not, why not???). No analyses of how the two candidates might differ on the issues, political ideologies, perspectives, whatever. In short, if you’re a voter in the Virginia 1st State Senate district, as of now your local media has almost completely failed to inform you about this special election for the seat of Sen. John Miller, who passed away on April 4. #FAIL
How about the McEachin-Ward primary in the 4th CD? Again, almost nothing. I found a CBS-6 TV profile of Ward, an article in the Virginian-Pilot and other corporate news outlets about the Supreme Court upholding the new district lines, a WTVR interview of McEachin and…not much else. Again, #FAIL, especially given that this primary will almost certainly determine the next U.S. Representative from the 4th CD!
How about the 2nd CD GOP primary? For some reason, the corporate media’s a bit more interested in that one, with 16 relevant Nexis results — mostly coverage of debates and heated rhetoric between Randy Forbes and Scott Taylor. Still, not particularly deep or detailed coverage, and not even close to the quality/quantity it should be, but still, coverage of this Republican race is a LOT better than coverage of the two Democratic primaries mentioned above. What the heck is THAT all about?
Finally, other than profiles by CBS-6 TV of Jackee Gonzalez and Mike Wade, as well as the aforementioned articles on the Supreme Court upholding new district lines…nada.
So who HAS been covering these candidates and these races? I’ll definitely give credit to John Fredericks, who despite being a right-winger and a Trump supporter, certainly does make a huge effort to cover these races that the corporate media refuses to pay attention to. For instance, see Fredericks’ recent interviews with Scott Taylor, Randy Forbes, Donald McEachin, Ella Ward, Shelly Simonds, Pat Cardwell, etc. Also see Republican/conservative blog Bearing Drift for some coverage of the 2nd CD GOP primary. And last but not least, see Blue Virginia for our interviews with Shelly Simonds and Donald McEachin. I’d add that I’ve been keeping an eye out for any news I could share on the 1st State Senate district and 4th CD Democratic primary races, but have seen almost none. Very frustrating.
The bottom line is that the Virginia corporate media is almost completely failing to do its job on key June 14 elections, at least what I always thought its job was — covering political candidates, elections, stuff like that, not just posting “click bait” stories or sports scores or whatever. The problem is, the less the public knows about these candidates, the less interest they have, the lower voter turnout there will likely be, and the less informed decisions they will likely make. That, in turn, probably encourages the press to ratchet back coverage even further, since they probably figure that people “don’t care” about these candidates or races. And the vicious cycle spirals downwards…ugh.
P.S. In contrast, there’s been a good amount of coverage of the Arlington County Board contest between Libby Garvey and Erik Gutshall, including tons of video, coverage and analysis here; plus numerous articles at ArlNow, the Sun Gazette and the Washington Post (e.g., I see WaPo reporter Patricia Sullivan at just about every County Board debate, including last night’s).