Anti-GOP Politifact Virginia Editor Regularly Votes In Dem Primaries

Politifact Viginia Editor Warren Fiske has been whining about accusations that he’s unfair to Republican candidates.  Well, perhaps if he didn’t regularly vote in Democratic primaries or use two different standards when judging candidates depending upon which party they belong to he wouldn’t be facing such charges.

The fact checkers ignored the impact inflation and skyrocketing federal spending on programs like Medicaid had on spending increases while Allen was governor, declaring the Republican’s claim of fiscal hawk “false.”

Fiske has not made the same mistake when analyzing Kaine’s record.

Politifact adjusted for inflation to downplay the dramatic spike in college tuition under Kaine’s watch, as well as to cast his spending record in a more positive light. When Kaine said that the “general fund budget shrank when he was governor,” fact checkers discounted federal spending, failed to mention that Kaine attempted to hike taxes rather than cut costs and left the state with a multi-billion dollar deficit at the end of his term.

The claim received a “True” rating.

You see, Warren, that is what people like to call a “double standard.” They don’t like it in their politicians and they increasingly don’t like it in their media.  All journalists have to sell their stories to people is their credibility.  With you at the helm of Politifact Virginia, that is an area sorely lacking.

Fiske’s [numerous Democratic primary] votes would have violated the ethics policies of the Roanoke Times.

“Staffers should … avoid active involvement in partisan political causes—including participation in primaries or meetings to choose political candidates—community affairs, social actions or demonstrations that could compromise or seem to compromise our ability to report, edit or photograph fairly,” the paper’s employee conduct guidelines state.

Former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie held himself to similar standards when he first took control of the newsroom.


5 thoughts on “Anti-GOP Politifact Virginia Editor Regularly Votes In Dem Primaries

  1. The Washington Free Beacon article that is the basis for this post left out important context that needs to be addressed.

    First, Warren has not voted in a primary since taking this position. Second, according to Henrico County voting records, Warren has voted in five primaries, four Democratic and one Republican, since 2004, which is far back as the county records go. During that time, however, the Republican Party of Virginia held only two primaries. Warren voted in the 2005 GOP primary for Governor, bypassing a same-day Democratic primary for the two lesser statewide offices (Lt. Governor and Attorney General). The only other year he faced a choice was in 2008, when he voted in the Democratic presidential primary instead of the GOP primary. It is worth noting that Mitt Romney suspended his campaign right before the 2008 Virginia primary, so the Democratic primary was the competitive race.

    The Beacon’s story also mentioned that the Roanoke Times has a policy against voting in primaries. But The Virginian-Pilot, where Warren was employed during the time in question, does not have a policy about voting in primary elections.

    We also do not have a policy at the Richmond Times-Dispatch (PolitiFact Virginia is part of the Times-Dispatch) on voting in primaries. Our professional conduct guidelines state: While news employees are encouraged to be active members of their communities and to exercise their right to vote, they must not be active in politics and should guard against public activities or exhibitions in areas of controversy. Some general examples include not donating money or advice to political campaigns, not wearing political buttons, and not displaying campaign signs or bumper stickers.

    So we don’t believe Warren’s voting record indicates a bias. We are also frustrated by the Republican Party’s attack on Warren and their attempts to discredit our work, which came after we spent hours listening to its complaints and responding to them.

    It is also worth noting that you never name the source of your information for this post. The excerpts come from a story by The Washington Free Beacon, which is not an independent news media outlet but instead one with an admitted bias. The Beacon is as an online newspaper funded by the Center for American Freedom, a not-for-profit organization dedicated “to creating a long-term, conservative vision for America – a vision that policy makers, thought-leaders, and activists can use to shape the national debate and pass laws that make a difference” according to its website.

    Our goal is to improve the political discourse by holding politicians accountable. While that makes some politicians uncomfortable, readers on both side of the political aisle understand the value that PolitiFact has added to our newspaper.

    Daniel Finnegan
    Richmond Times-Dispatch

Comments are closed.