W-S Journal editors demonstrate hypocrisy

by Jim Longworth

Last week an anonymous Winston-Salem Journal editor attacked Congresswoman Virginia Foxx for not wanting Journal reporters present at the “Triad Today” debate.

Earlier the paper had attacked her for giving some of her campaign money to other candidates (even though they never attacked other area congressmen for doing the same thing). And before that, they attacked Foxx for supporting the war in Iraq.

In return, Ms. Foxx cut off all direct communications with the Journal.

I appreciate a good feud as much as the next guy, but I don’t appreciate being defamed and maligned by a handful of faceless editors who worry less about reporting the truth than they do about selling newspapers. Of course, I can understand their concern. After all, the Journal’s circulation is dropping every day. But that’s still no reason to get the facts wrong, especially when their reporter gave them the facts in the first place.

A week prior to the TV debate, I was put in an untenable situation when Foxx’s campaign manager Todd Poole told me that Virginia didn’t want the Journal observing our studio taping, for fear that the Journal would misquote and mischaracterize the debate content before the debate was ever broadcast. As I told Journal reporter Bert Guteirrez, had I not honored Foxx’s request, she would have pulled out of the debate and Democrat challenger Roger Sharpe would have been denied his only chance to debate the incumbent on TV.

Of course, the Journal’s editorial board didn’t care to mention that fact, and therein lies their hypocrisy.

Throughout their feud with Foxx, the editors claimed they only wanted to fight for the public’s right to know about the candidates and the issues.

And yet, the Journal took me to task, saying that I “buckled under” to Foxx, even though they knew full well that I merely accommodated her request in order to preserve the candidates’ only joint appearance for public consumption.

The Journal can’t have it both ways. They can’t criticize Foxx for being inaccessible to the public, then turn around and criticize me for salvaging the only debate of the campaign.

Virginia Foxx was blasted for saying that the Journal had misquoted and mischaracterized her. Now I know why she was concerned. After having been betrayed, double-crossed and defamed by the Journal editors, I know that the congresswoman’s fears were justified.

The Winston-Salem Journal needs to fix its own glass house before it throws any more stones.

Jim Longworth is host of “Triad Today” which can be seen Friday mornings at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7), and Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on MY48 (cable channel 15).