So much for the unbiased nature of PolitiFact and those who appoint themselves to judge what is “true” and proclaim their word as gospel to others.
During the General Assembly session there is always tension between the members, the parties, and the press. It’s the nature of politics in Richmond, but each year the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association hosts a dinner to have some lighthearted fun in a non-partisan setting. Normally, it is a good-natured evening with friendly banter in a completely relaxed setting — that was until last night.
Lt. Gov Bolling opened the program with the traditional round of
self-deprecating humor. He poked fun at Governor McDonnell, who sat at his table, as well as himself. The routine was well received, despite a few groaners, and the crowd was in a pretty good mood.
But the night took an unfortunate turn when it came time to induct ABC News’ Ann Compton and Virginian Pilot Editorial Writer Margaret Edds into the VCCA Hall of Fame.
After a stirring introduction by WDBJ’s Joe Dashiel and surprise remarks by former Governor Linwood Holton, Ann Compton was inducted into the VCCA Hall of Fame for her years as WDBJ 7′s Richmond reporter.
Warren Fiske of the Richmond Times Dispatch and Editor of PolitiFact Virginia, was to give Margaret Edds’ introduction but was absent from the event due to a family illness, so his remarks were delivered by Christina Nuckols, now of the Roanoke Times. Nuckols, to her credit, went out of her way to remind everyone that she was simply reading Fiske’s prepared remarks and once she got rolling it was easy to see why.
The speech was a paean to Edds’ liberal advocacy writing against the death penalty and her work in getting “one gun a month” passed. Fiske’s prepared remarks hammered on the tragedy of the “iron pipeline,” pulling up some of her most charged writing on the subject – passages about a toddler killed in crossfire. Of course, the blame was laid at the feet of Virginia’s gun laws not the thugs who committed the crimes.
Fiske held the one gun a month up as one of Edd’s greatest achievements – concluding with a snide, inappropriate and completely biased, “Well, I guess she gets to keep that on her resume until July 1.” (I still can’t believe that tool put this in writing for Nuckols to read.)
Multiple witnesses in the room said there was an audible gasp and murmur from both journos and politicos in the room at the July 1 remark, which was completely inappropriate and showed a clear liberal bias by Fiske.
“Of all the people at the event, only Warren used the forum to make a political statement,” said another person in the room. “The only reason I didn’t walk out was because the room was too small to do that without stepping on a bunch of other people.”
“It’s the one night we get to sit down together and have a good time and actually relax, and then this has to happen,” said another person in the room. “Everyone is having a good time, and then Warren has to go and drop a turd in the punch bowl. Nice.”
Maybe this all sounded good to Fiske in his head and when he was reading it on paper — maybe he even thought it was funny, but it was completely inappropriate for this occasion and rips the unbiased mask off the man behind PolitiFact Virginia. It is just unfortunate that he was not there to face the music for his words and that Nuckols had to carry the burden of delivering someone else’s classless remarks.