Thursday, May 10, 2012

Corporate ownership stifles news reporting on journalists assault – video

For those of you who do not know already The Roanoke Times and the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk are both owned by Landmark Communications, Inc. That is why you occasionally see Virginian-Pilot copy in The Roanoke Times.

The Virginian-Pilot is being taken to task for not reporting an assault on two of their off-duty reporters. In fact it was the opinion columnist Michelle Washington of who broke the story two weeks following the assault that brought it to light. Not only has MSNBC reported it but FOX and TV news has picked it up since May 1. FOX news Bill O’Reilly has been beating it to death night after night with a battle going on between the news station WAVY 13 and O’Reilly. Last night our Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was defending Virginia law on the O’Reilly Factor.

While we here in Roanoke are in the dark on this story and that is because … could it be that both The Roanoke Times and the Virginian-Pilot are owned by Landmark Communications?

While on twitter with my friend, Vivian Paige in Norfolk, we were simultaneously watching Ken Cuccinelli tell O’Reilly “Oh, but you have all the facts, Bill just like Monday, when you got it wrong Monday” about this case. O’Reilly Monday night took Cuccinelli to task for not getting involved in the case and appointing a special prosecutor. O’Reilly was fully out of his league with Cuccinelli who even this liberal was proud of last night.

So where is the reporting on this national story by The Roanoke Times? I have to find out about it on twitter and facebook. By accident I turned to FOX news to find Cuccinelli coming on O’Reilly having no idea why. I pieced the puzzle together with the help of Vivian in Norfolk on twitter. I had turned to FOX to see the reaction they had on President Obama’s “evolution” to supporting gay marriage. More from FOX news: Click here.

Why so mum on this Virginia national news story here locally. The Virginian-Pilot eventually had to defend their decision in a letter to staff on why they held reporting the assaults in mid-April on their off-duty reporters. They made the decision it was not news. Only until it was leaking out as racially motivated and that the Pilot was keeping it under wraps for fear of racially escalating tension did they comment.

Again it was the opinion page that brought it out first on

Where is The Roanoke Times editorial board on this. This would be a good topic for Dan Casey too. Have these two mutually owned publications collaborated and agreed to stay mum.

See O’Reilly video below:



Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Commentary

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Comments (2)

Carole Tarrant

May 10th, 2012 at 4:23 PM    

Sorry to disappoint you, but this is no case of corporate collusion to “stifle” news. I’ve had no conversation with anyone at the Pilot or Landmark corporate to cover (or not cover) this story.
We just judged it on its face — a report of a simple assault on the other side of the state — and passed.
It’s now been turned into a political football, which makes it fodder for O’Reilly but still not “news” we feel like we need to report.
Carole Tarrant
The Roanoke Times


May 10th, 2012 at 4:46 PM    

This would have made a good editorial discussion or subject for Dan Casey. Once it hit the nationl news and the AG got involved yes I think it warranted news coverage here.

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