Wheeling, W.Va.: Last week President Bush visited my hometown of Wheeling, West Virgina for a town hall meeting. The local publisher, Ogden Newspapers, proudly listed itself as a ‘sponsor’ of the visit, along with the local Chamber of Commerce and some other businesses. The papers (yes, we still have morning and afternoon papers, both owned by Ogden) had numerous articles over the course of about a week before and after the visit, as well as several editorials. I would characterize the coverage as supportive of the President to the point of giddiness. I have to say that I was surprised by this – not so much by the editorializing, as the editorial pages of the Ogden papers have always been quite conservative – but by the papers’ sponsorship of the visit and the cheerleading news articles. What do you think of the publishing company’s sponsorship?
Howard Kurtz: I had not heard that the papers co-sponsored the Bush visit. What a journalistic blunder. Why compromise yourself in that fashion when it’s a big local story that your reporters will have to cover?