I have been surprised with the level of coverage for the election in Virginia's 5th District this year, especially the low regard for both democracy and its readers that the Danville Register & Bee has been showing. The most recent article from their new reporter Catherine Amos is making me question if Amos, and perhaps the entire Danville Register & Bee paper, are actually secret agents pushing to get Perriello reelected. As we all know, Perriello was swept into office in 2008 through a combination of factors. But one that cannot be forgotten is the endorsement by the Register & Bee and their biased coverage of the election. I had thought that the paper was trying to make amends with their failure to fact check and giving Robert Hurt the benefit of the doubt throughout the primary. But now I'm worried that they are handling this election so badly they are actually trying to get Perriello reelected.
Today's debate about the debates article from Catherine Amos has the headline "Hurt attacks Perriello for declining one-on-one debate." With such a clear statement in the headline, I expected the article to justify the claim that Perriello has declined the one-on-one debate. Instead, the article notes that Perriello's campaign claims they have not declined the debate and the one objective source of information, Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce President Rex Hammond, was not available for comment.
Will the Danville Register & Bee be publishing these headlines?
"Hurt attacks Perriello for being secret Muslim terrorist."
"Hurt attacks Perriello for being a Martian lawyer."
I guess Amos never learned at journalism school that her job is to be objective and neutral in these fights, trying to find the truth to hold politicians accountable. A headline like today's imparts on the reading the sense that Hurt is right and that Perriello has declined the debate. The truth, that there is disagreement between the camps, isn't mentioned until later in the story. Why couldn't Amos come up with "Hurt claims Perriello is ducking debates" or something like that?
At first I was going to blame this on lazy reporting, which it clearly is. Amos was in such a rush to come up with a story for Friday she ran with something she hadn't fully checked out. Would it have killed her to wait a few days to verify from Hammond the truth? I don't think so, but I guess there's so little to report about in Danville the paper was putting pressure on her to come up with a story--fast! Fill that space!
But then I also realized that so far Amos has been focusing on the debate debate between the two candidates. She can truthfully say that she's been covering the election and the battles between the two candidates. But she's ignored, for over a week now, the demand from Robert Hurt that Tom Perriello announce his position on President Obama's attempt to nullify Arizona's anti-illegal immigrant laws. Amos is silent on a real, substantive issue of disagreement between the two candidates. Robert Hurt, like Virgil Goode, believes that we need to end illegal immigration and take back the jobs that immigrants have stolen from Americans. Tom Perriello welcomes them with open arms. It's that simple.
The Register & Bee has already covered that many farms in the area depend on immigrant labor instead of Americans. I want to know why these farmers are hiring immigrants instead of Americans despite the high unemployment across Southside. Perriello is fighting for cheap labor for farmers that puts Americans out of work. I know that Goode supports an immigration moratorium, which would end these programs like H2A that bring in cheap immigrant labor to take jobs away from Americans. I'm sure Robert Hurt does as well. The Register & Bee is silent on this issue because the don't want to hurt Perriello's reelection. For shame!
I also want to know where Jeff Clark, the "conservative" candidate in this race, stands on ending immigration. If Hurt is going to win he is going to need to show that he's as conservative, if not more conservative, than Clark. Does Clark support Goode's immigration moratorium? Why hasn't Amos asked these questions, instead of focusing on this silly debate debate?