The State Newspaper v. K-Flo, Pt. II
We'll be the first to admit that Spartanburg businesswoman Karen Floyd didn't exactly knock it out of the park in her two debate performances this week.
Nor are Floyd's latest television ads particularly impressive.
And we're still not entirely pleased with her recent backpedaling on the issue of school choice. It's made her look indecisive and evasive, two qualities you don't want prominently displayed on the eve of the fight of your political life.
All in all, whatever retainer Floyd's paying Sanford advisor Jon Lerner, she's obviously not getting the highly-regarded consultant's best effort in this race.
Having said all of that, Floyd has done absolutely nothing to deserve the continuing journalistic mugging she's receiving at the hands of The State newspaper.
This morning's front-page story focuses on a $100 contribution made by Floyd's step-mother to the campaign of her opponent, Jim Rex. It follows another front-page story two days ago that revealed (shock) that 33 of 34 local superintendents (in a poll conducted by The State) were supporting Rex over Floyd.
Let's play devil's advocates, shall we?
Assume that the Floyd campaign put our a press release highlighting the fact that 33 of 34 leading school choice advocates were endorsing her candidacy.
Would The State have run a story on that? Let alone put it on the front page with a screaming headline?
Of course not.
In all likelihood, reporter Bill Robinson would have politely called Floyd spokesman Hogan Gidley back and informed him that, in The State's opinion, school choice supporters endorsing Floyd "isn't news."
In fact, the only way such a hypothetical endorsement would have ever make it into the pages of The State were if Robinson needed a "hook" to write yet another hit piece attacking Floyd for the contributions she has received from school choice supporters.
They might have published it then, and if so, the endorsement might have made the last paragraph of Robinson's one-sided story.
Ready for another hypothetical?
Now let's suppose that The State obtained conclusive evidence that Jim Rex's step-father (in the event he even has one) had written a $100 check to the Floyd campaign.
Would The State have written a story about that? Much less plastered it on the front page with another screaming headline - this time above the fold?
Of course not.
If anything, Aaron Sheinin and John O'Connor (both of whom FITS considers diligent, unbiased reporters, by the way) might have included the item in The State's Sunday "Buzz" section - a humorous, informal collection of weekly political briefs that are read by Rusty DePass, a staffer in Joe Wilson's office and maybe a half-dozen other political junkies.
Go ahead and tell us we're wrong. We're used to hearing that, and occasionally we are wrong.
But honestly, if the two campaigns were reversed in this situation we'd bet every penny in our pockets against every penny in all of your pockets that things would have gone down exactly as we just described them.
That, friends, is the definition of a double standard, and the embodiment of a biased, irresponsible form of agenda-driven journalism that has absolutely no place in a free-thinking society.
Since we railed quite extensively on The State's fundamental abdication of its First Amendment responsibility two days ago, we'll spare you another Dennis Miller-esque rant today.
Just know that as far as the Superintendent of Education race is concerned, The State newspaper might as well be Jim Rex campaign headquarters.