Filed under: Election 2008, Local Press | Tags: Election 2008, Shenandoah Valley Herald, Virginia Organizing Project
The Freedom of Press is one of our most precious freedoms. However, the press should never be mistaken to be wholly objective. Coverage can be driven by many things, from the political biases of the report or editor to the particular medium’s heaviest advertisers. More often than not its driven by a good story, and the subjects always play into that to get the most favorable coverage. What this can mean is that not all sides of a particular group, good or bad or indifferent, are presented to the public. This is one of the great things about the new medium of blogging. By being incredibly easy and cheap (more often than not free) blogging allows ordinary citizens to counter the predominant media narrative on a given story.
That’s why I felt compelled to write about the Shenandoah Valley Hearld’s coverage of the Virginia Organizing Project.
“We will be asking people throughout the Commonwealth what issues are important to them,” said Janice “Jay” Johnson, chairperson of the Virginia Organizing Project (VOP). “We will also ask them how important health care reform is to them, encouraging all the people we meet to contact their state Delegate and state Senator with their ideas on how to reform our broken health care system.”
Yates, who lives in Mauertown, is one of VOP’s ten regional organizers.
“We’re excited about getting more young people involved and knowing that they’re going to learn important democratic skills,” Yates said. “Youth are key to solving problems in our communities. They bring lots of energy to the process.” In Shenandoah County, Yates said that affordable healthcare and affordable housing are two of the main issues that they’ve been spending the most effort on lately.
The Voter Guide contains information about how to register to vote, how to regain voting rights after a felony conviction, and how to cast an absentee ballot. The Voter Guide also includes a summary of a dozen important public policy issues, ranging from climate change to racial profiling to redistricting.
Of those who were at home, in their conversations, almost all of the Edinburg residents the interns spoke agreed that affordable healthcare and housing are major problems here in the Valley, along with the high price of filling up their gas tanks.
Sounds great, right? A bunch of young people canvassing people to register to vote, and a group that deals with issues that have become of great concern to local families. What could be more ideal?
Well, the reality is that there’s few groups out there that simply want people to go out and vote. Even the American Legion and the League of Women Voters, though non-partisan, have particular views on given issues of the day. And why is this such a bad thing? I would love to live in a world of 100% voter turnout and encourage everyone to vote and let their voice be heard. But I’m also in politics for a reason: to see my principles and values come to fruition through government action. And this involves making sure that my people come out to vote. Both parties engage in massive voter registration drives that target their ideal voters. As long as there’s a balance, this isn’t a bad thing.
But we shouldn’t mistake the Virginia Organizing Project‘s agenda. Although we’re all concerned with health care and gas prices, they have specific prescriptions for these and other of societies ills: progressive taxation (a cornerstone of Marxism), a living wage (which goes far beyond the minimum wage, calling for the minimum to be an amount that everyone can live off of, ignoring that most minimum wage workers are retired or of school-age), the abolition of the death penalty, severe government restrictions on health care coverage (although they seem to stop short of calling directly for universal health care), and gay marriage. They’re also one of the groups working with Governor Kaine’s office to expedite petitions for the reinstatement of voting right. Here’s some highlights of other issues they’ve covered in their newsmagazine:
- “Hurting immigrants won’t fix the immigration system .”
- ““Marriage” Amendment campaign builds the equality movement in Virginia .”
- VOP urges NO vote on amendment #1 on November 7
- A Senator vs. Civil Liberty
- No executions in Virginia in 2005!
Clearly, they have an agenda on the left side of the political spectrum. Their staff also seems to have its fair share of left-wing credentials.
The Virginia Organizing Project, of course, has the right to keep doing what they’re doing and should be applauded for, if nothing else, their civic-mindedness and desire to forward their particular values. But you also have a right to know about their whole agenda.
(Edited for length)
1 Comment so far
Leave a comment