The Bluefield Daily Telegraph got a lot of attention when it ran an editorial on October 8, 2016 endorsing Hillary Clinton for the presidency. Depending on the reader's political persuasion, the editorial board was either A) completely off its rocker, or B) incredibly brave.
I have discovered there was also an option C -- Namely, that the paper's endorsement was apparently written and passed down the pipeline by its owners, Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.
The endorsement simply did not "read" like a typical column from the Telegraph's editorial board, and upon reading it once again last night, it was obvious to me that something was fishy -- especially when looking at the paper's overall history of leaning right in its editorial content.
A few Google searches on various portions of the paper's Clinton piece confirmed my suspicions. Similar editorials were published at about the same time by other CNHI-owned newspapers. They weren't carbon copies but they all shared similar, and in some cases, identical expressions and phrasing.
Take a look at the Clinton endorsements published by, among others, the Daily Independent and the Valdosta Daily Times -- where have we read this before?
I found a story this morning offering evidence that Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. made it clear to their publications that Donald Trump did not have their blessing... and then provided a boilerplate of a pro-Clinton editorial to all of them.
"A newspaper company (CNHI) financed by the Retirement Systems of Alabama is facing scrutiny after playing a role in a wide-reaching series of Clinton endorsements, which was handed down by local newspapers across the country."
So, local conservatives, fret not because the paper didn't really shower Clinton with love. Area liberals, don't mark a rare occasion when the paper didn't beat the drums of conservatism. You've both been hoodwinked by sneaky corporate sleight of hand.
Shame on CNHI. You did the readers of your publications a huge disservice by trying to pass off a boardroom mandate as local journalism.
No matter which candidate they ended up voting for, your readers deserved better.