Home Media Classic Journalistic Ethics #FAIL: Loudoun Tribune Op-Ed Masquerading as “Interview” with Far-Right...

Classic Journalistic Ethics #FAIL: Loudoun Tribune Op-Ed Masquerading as “Interview” with Far-Right Sen. Dick Black


Just when you think that “journalism,” such as it is these days, can’t sink any lower, you get garbage like Not so Black and White: The Dick Black You Might Not Know. How many ways can a single member of the media violate any known standards of journalistic ethics? Let us count the ways.

First, let’s start with the fact that the person conducting the interview with State Sen. Dick Black (Far, Far-Right “R”) — Loudoun Tribune Executive Editor Tom Julia – does not disclose either in the article or in his Loudoun Tribune profile that he is a DONOR to Black ($500 in 2012, $100 in 2015). Aside from the fact that I thought journalists generally avoided political donations, it does seem like it might have been relevant for readers to know that Julia has donated not only to Black, but to other far, far-right Republicans like Eugene Delgaudio and Ken Cuccinelli. But apparently Julia doesn’t see that as relevant for readers to know. #FAIL

Second, Julia doesn’t disclose, either in his profile or in the article, that he has worked as a Loudoun County GOP political consultant for years. For instance, see King for BOS Chairman Reception Draws Enthusiastic Supporters, which identifies (and quotes) Julia as Republican Charlie King’s “political consultant.” Also, I’d take this one with a HUGE grain of salt given its source, but supposedly Julia worked (briefly) for the Republican Party of Virginia; also supposedly “was a consultant for [Republican] Shawn Williams” (for more on Williams, see here).

As Loudoun County Democrat (two-time candidate for House of Delegates) Elizabeth Miller, who alerted me to Julia’s Dick Black puff piece, noted on Twitter, Julia completely failed to note many of Black’s most outrageous/extreme actions over the years. For instance, here are a few “highlights” from Black’s illustrious career, almost none of which were even mentioned in the loving profile by Julia…

Also note that the “interview,” or whatever this thing is, allows Black to make numerous false and/or highly questionable assertions, without any challenge by the “interviewer.” For instance, Black claims that there are “no moderate rebels” in Syria; that the United States “trains terrorist [sic] in Jordan, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and we’ve being doing it since 2012”; that Russia is “not a threat to the United States”; that the President of Turkey (a NATO ally, by the way) “is the most dangerous man in the world”; that the Turkish President’s domestic crackdown, following a failed coup attempt, is akin to “Nazi Germany and the Bolshevik Revolution”; and that he supposedly never questioned the concept of “spousal rape” (which he clearly did – see, for instance, this video of Black speaking on that subject).

The bottom line is that, as Elizabeth Miller puts it, this interview is “really an OpEd, thus the glossed-over history and lack of facts.” It’s not surprising once you know who the interviewer is – a Republican political operative who has donated $$$ to Black and other extreme right-wing Republicans – but again, you’d never know it if you didn’t do some research, which I doubt most readers are going to take the time to do. Really, really lame.

P.S. By the way, I find it highly revealing that Black says “Donald Trump is the living public figure he admires most.”