The Roanoke Slant
This file is a very brief journal and scrapbook and LTEs of some examples of the Roanoke Times slant. Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Ownership is evil
The Paper, 2/27/05, Pg H1: The ailing commitment to a nation's health by The Editor is very interesting.
Having just complained this week about the cost of the new medicare drug benefit, he is now promoting the utopia of a total and complete socialized medicine system and beyond. But having HillaryHealth is only the start of this message. The real punch line is that the general welfare of society, as an idea, is losing its force because it is being crowded out by the "ownership society" which is rooted in a cultural spirit of self-interest!
Not since Carl Marx has this concept been articulated so well!
During my lifetime most of the socialist systems and experiments both within this country and around the world have faded away. The Editor could do well to try exploring Norway where billions of dollars of north-sea oil has and will sustain their socialist society until the oil runs out!
For the past 100 years, major efforts have been made in our society to establish and enhance a safety-net under the less fortunate. It's clear that our "ownership society" will continue to embrace and support this effort.
Even Jimmy Carter supports the "ownership society" with his support for Habitat for Humanity; why can't The Editor?
Gates-Warner Improve High Schools
The Paper, 2/27/05, Pg 4A: At the Governors Conference, Bill Gates painted a bleak picture of U.S. vs Other Countries high school performance and its implications for the future of our people, our economy and our country. Gov. Warner then piled on stating 3 of 10 freshmen do not gratuate and 4 of the 10 who do lack the skill to succeed in college or the work force.
This is very interesting considering The Papers very negative slant on Bush's proposal to include high school's in the "no child left behind act"! However, we should not despair about poor performance. Our students have "rights"! They have the right to be disrespectful, obnoxious, disruptive, hostile and foul mouthed! The laws, lawyers, judges, courts and legislators ensure that these "rights" are reinforced and expanded every year! In too many classrooms, students who are serious learners, are being robbed everyday of achieving their full potential and good teachers are leaving for other venues! Changing the teaching/learning environment in many of the classrooms back to one of serious learning may now be impossible. The movie "Stand and Deliver" is more fantasy than "Mary Poppins"!
The Paper could be an agent for improving this situation, but beware, it might involve being politically incorrect or socially insensitive and that's unacceptable for the socialist elite who usually send their kids to private school anyway!
Saturday, February 26, 2005
The Paper, 2/25/05, pg A5; and again 2/27/05, pg A9: Kansas Attorney General (an abortion opponent) seeks records of some abortions from some clinics. The abortion data sought are for underage girls and late-term abortions.
The tone of the article is clearly proabortion under any circumstances without any conditions. The Paper could well point out that when underage girls have abortions there are usually three felony crimes committed. First, it's a felony to have sex with an underage girl. Second, in order to plan an abortion, there must be a conspiracy to coverup the first felony. Third, the act of the abortion in these cases is the destruction of DNA evidence related to the felony.
In Virginia it is legal for a man who has impregnated your underage daughter to take her instate or across state lines to have an abortion without your knowledge or consent. However, a registered school nurse cannot give your daughter a cough-drop. What's wrong with this picture?
Friday, February 25, 2005
A Family Paper?
The Paper, 2/25/05, Pg A11: Surprise pregnancy describes how a woman collected semen from her partner during oral sex and then used it for artifical insemination without his knowledge or consent.
Is this level of detail necessary. Is the story even necessary? Our school encourages middleschool youngsters to read The Paper. Is it part of The Papers agenda to introduce this behavior to youngsters, and if so, why? Also, aren't you creating a hostile work environment for your employees by printing this? If someone reads this outloud at their workplace wouldn't they be subject to a sexual harassment suit? Was this an intellectual malfunction or a moral malfunction or both?
The Flu Flew
The Paper, 2/25/05, Pg 1: This flue season nothing to lose your head over. A vaccine shortage last fall made people especially worried at the beginning of this flu season in October.
If people were losing their heads and were worried it was primarily the result of The Paper and their media partners who were trying desperately to make the flue vaccine shortage a November election issue! This media frenzy painted a daily crisis that blamed George W for not forseeing that vaccine suppliers would have significant yield issues that would result in a shortfall. It sounded like the "we must raise VA taxes" campaign. Now we don't have a crisis, and we have an excess of supply and The Paper doesn't seem to want to take the left-over doses off the suppliers hands, even at a discount!
Thursday, February 24, 2005
The Paper, 2/24/05, pg 1: Budget Quick Facts, "Revenue growth that was greater than expected has created a projected general fund surplus of $1.2 BILLION that lawmakers can build into the revised budget.
For weeks during the 2004 VA tax debate The Paper whined daily that VA needed a big tax increase. Many felt that the "rainy day fund" funded by Gov Gilmore would be adequate. It is now clear that The Paper and Gov Warner and other tax increase supporters were wrong! Now would be a good time for a tax roll-back and an apology!
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Freedom for Public Colleges
The Paper, 2/22/05, pg 10: The College Bill article is one of an ongoing series of articles that is positive about freeing VA public colleges from some state oversight requirements.
This change is supported by The Paper and others to somehow help control tuition costs in some magical way. I have not seen in any of the articles a definition of the problem. A real "news" organization would publish data on the education costs per year for the last 10 years and would relate that data to "the rate of inflation plus increase in student population". Then they would point out where and why the costs are escallating above and beyond these parameters. Then they would show how this Bill will help solve the problem. Sure sounds like a lot of real journalism work would be required! By the way, whatever happened to the economy of scale? As more students are added, do you not reduce unit cost? And what about the payback and cost reductions from big investments in technology that the taxpayers have already paid for?
The Paper, 2/22/05 Pg 8: The Editorial on AIDS alludes to a "new battle" but then appears to cower under the tent of political correctness with generalities about seminars, economic conditions, social structures and education. The article encourages leaders to be helpful but sensitive to some vague dark force.
The following represents how some leaders addressed the plague:
During the initial phase Governor Cuomo and Mayor Koch of New York implemented programs to address the privacy of this affliction but not to hinder its spread. Many of these policies and laws are still in place. The question now, over 20 years later, is: was this experiment in public health policy the right thing to do? And if not, why were these policies implemented and when will all the states have a consistent and correct set of laws and processes?
Specific New York actions resulted in:
* A testing laboratory CAN NOT advise a doctor that the results of a blood test the doctor ordered for a patient is HIV+. Only the patient is notified.
* A parent CAN NOT be advised if their child is HIV+.
* A spouse CAN NOT be advised if their partner is HIV+.
* Rape or sexual abuse victims CAN NOT find out if their abuser is HIV+.
* There is no requirement for an HIV+ person to advise or notify their intimate partners of their condition even though this is clearly the most dangerous concealed weapon in our society.
* There is no requirement for an HIV+ person to take reasonable or prudent steps to avoid contamination of others.
* There is no requirement that an HIV+ person can not sell their blood to a blood bank, it's up to the blood bank to detect the virus and dispose of it without notification to the Public Health Department.
* The pre-marriage blood test was eliminated thereby placing newly-wed partners at risk.
* The state and local health departments are not allowed to intervene in the plague's progress: no interviews, no determination of contacts, no containment and no direct management to halt the spread of the virus by known carriers.
* In New York HIV+ and AIDS are by law NOT defined to be sexually transmitted diseases and therefore are not processed or managed by the Public Health Systems as are all other STD's!
* Even though New York has one of the highest rates of HIV+ and AIDS it does not, by law, report any data to the federal Center for Disease Control.
Monday, February 21, 2005
Bush Belgium Visit
The Papers 2/21/2005 Pg 4A highlights an AP story that 88 "groups" will be protesting Bush when he is in Brussels this week.
My byline would suggest that they all trek 70 miles down to Bastogne and reflect on Christmas week in 1944 in which we suffered 60,000 American casualties in the Battle of the Bulge so that they might have the right to protest.
The French Connection
The Papers 2/21/05 Pg 1 coverage of Bush trip to Europe yet again focuses on how it is that Pres Bush has upset the French and how we should make nice and kiss their "cheeks".
However, The Paper never seems to inform its readers about French history and their relationship with English speaking people. For example:
The French have always been our friends and allies in times of danger and adversity haven't they? Perhaps not!
As the German army swept through France in 1941 Sir Winston Churchill requested that the French government move their naval fleet to England and place it under English command. The French refused and Churchill took the grievous decision to attack the French fleet in Oran, Algeria in July 1941, destroying the French fleet and killing 1500 French sailors. He could not take the risk of the French navy's being taken over by the Germans, for this probably would have been the end for Britain. In 1942 as we landed in Algeria, French Morocco, and Tunesia more American soldiers were killed by Vischey French troops than were killed by the Japs at Pearl Harbor. In 1966, with two million east-block troops and 60,000 tanks supported by massive nuclear weapons along the east-west-German border, Charles DeGaul and the French government threw NATO headquarters out of France and removed French forces from NATO control.
So--, why is it that only George W. has problems with the French?
Sunday, February 20, 2005
The Papers 2/20/05 pg H1 contains a lengthy sermon by "the editor" that we should all take the political cartoons he publishes in the paper as well meaning and informational and should not be disturbed by them no matter how nasty or vile or vicious they may be.
This reminds one of the standup comic who is roll playing a New York wise guy:
"Yo Tony, with all due respect, your sisters a *&%$#, and I don't mean that in a bad way!"
Like who could possibly be offended by such a nice, friendly and respectful observation?
Isn't it annoying when people try to insult your intelligence!
The Big Election Story
The Papers 2/20/05 edition covered the mother of all elections. Gate City, 185 miles from Roanoke, had a 357 to 355 vote election result. The paper devoted 7.5 X 12 inches = 90 square inches of page 1; 12.5 X 21.5 = 268 sq-in of pg 6A and 12.5 X 16.5 = 206 sq-in of page A7 to this story. The 564 square-inch (or 4 square-feet) coverager concludes that: the Attorney General's mother, who is the voter registar of the town was not implicated in any wrong-doing in any way, however testimony "appears" to show violations of election law although no-one has been charged with anything! A judicial panel determined that 10 "unqualified voters" voted. A highlight of the story is the number of absentee ballets cast.
Seems like a lot of coverage, but then, the Attorney General is Jerry Kilgore, and he is running for Governor and he's a Republican.
It's very interesting that The Paper has chosen not to cover the Washington State election where Lt Gov Gregoire, a Democrat, won byh 129 votes out of 2.9 million most of which are "absentee" mail-in ballets. Of particular note is that days after the election some loyal Democrats in down-town Seattle "found" a big box of ballets in a wharehouse. Hello -- they were mostly for Gregoire and -- Hello - they put her over the top! Every vote counts and let's count every vote -- wherever they may be found!
Strange how some little stories get big coverage and some big stories get none!
Friday, February 18, 2005
Prescription Drug Benefit
The Papers 2/18/05 Opinion Page 8 Cartoon slams Bush and the GOP Congress for the cost of the new medicare benefit.
When that program was proposed, debated and passed The Paper wailed that it was so paultry and anemic that it wouldn't be worth signing up for!
If seniors follow The Paper's position to ignore it -- it will not cost anything! However, it appears that many seniors are not listening to "The Paper" and do see value and savings and will appreciate and utilize this benefit! Like other medicare components, it will probably by expensive! Is The Paper really worried about the cost -- or are they worried that it was a Bush initiative?
Starbucks vs Unemployment
The 2/18/05 Paper used a 6.5 X 12.5 inch (81 square inches) of the front page to inform us that Starbucks is coming. On the bottom of page 8 there is an AP article that jobless claims hit lowest level since 2000.
The Paper really knows how to cover business stories!
Howard Dean Racial Remark
Waiting (2/17/05) for The Paper to mention that during one of Dean's first meetings he said that the hotel staff would represent most of the blacks if a Republican meeting were held there.
Some news organizations chose to cover that item.
I'm sure The Paper would have made it front page if a Republican had said it!
Thursday, February 17, 2005
The Papers 2/17/05 Editorial Pg 8 states: "But the legal protection of providing confidentiality by reporters to sources in news gathering -----".
Relative to criminal cases: I have not found any basis for this statement. I know of no part of the Constitution that says newspeople have special rights. I know of no state law that says this. I believe that reporters have very limited rights related to criminal case discovery and prosecution, and are in fact jailed from time to time!
CNN News Chief OUT
Having difficulty finding The Papers coverage on the CNN News Chief, Easton Jordan, who lost his job this week (2/14/05). It appears folks at a meeting where he spoke say that he said: "US forces had targeted and killed ten journalists in Iraq". CNN would not release the videotape of the meeting.
I wonder why CNN wouldn't release the tape and why The Paper isn't covering this story?
If this had happened at FOX it would probably be on page1.
Greenspan on Social Security
The Paper 2/17/05: In large print: Front Page: "Greenspan urges Congress: Go slow on Social Security" and then in small print on bottom of page 6: " If you're going to move to private accounts, which I approve of, -------"
Which item really deserved front page heading?
Even USA Today got this right!
North Korea Nucs
The Papers 2/11/05 Pg 6 Editorial: North Korea, a failure of U.S. foreign policy of course blames Bush for this nasty problem.
My memory is that Pres Clinton assigned Jimmy Carter and Bill Richardson to negotiate with North Korea to avoid this problem. They agreed that USA would give money, food and fuel to North Korea for their promise to stop work on their weapons program. This was all being monitored by the UN!
But Hello!! when Bush team was elected they determined within several months that North Korea had cheated and had gone ahead and developed the bomb. Apparently Texas Gov Bush was not getting the job done!
The Roanoke paper 2/16/05 page 8A once again bashes Bush for USA not signing up to the Kyoto treaty.!
At no time have I read that when Pres Clinton brought the treaty back to Washington, the Senate rejected the Treaty by 99 to zero! Apparently Texas Gov Bush was the bad guy even back then!
The Roanoke coverage of the Iraqui election was very disappointing. I waited many days for some "celebration" but in-vain, have not even been able to find reports of the eight million voter turnout number.
The following would have been a nice touch if published by The Paper:
The Tumultuous Election(s)
There was widespread violence, killing, bombing and destruction. How could a fair election possibly be conducted. American soldiers were being killed and wounded every day. The country was torn between competing groups who were willing to fight and die for their beliefs. Both sides called upon their God for support and justification of their struggle. A minority group was almost totally disenfranchised from the election. Major sectors of the country were deemed too dangerous for conducting an election or they boycotted the election. Major foreign powers were involved in the struggle and had self-interests in the outcome. Then the amazing results: over 60% of the people voted:
Iraq in 2005 -- and -- America in 1864.
After reading the Roanoke paper for 15 years it is clear that their "slant" on the information they publish is clearly not even close to neutral or balanced on many economic, social and political issues. This "blog" is intended to be a very brief "diary" of some examples of their slant so that on occasion one might reflect on their accumulative record.