Despicable! That's the best description of how readers should feel about John Raese's attempt to buy their opinion.
Raese, the Republican candidate for the unexpired term of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, is offering to pay a West Virginian in each county who submits the most published letters to the editor in support of his candidacy, which can only be seen as ethically disgusting and insulting to those who truly have a political opinion they wish to share with newspaper readers. The "contest," as Raese's spin doctor called it, makes every letter received by a newspaper questionable as to its motive for being written.
Many candidates encourage supporters to write letters to the editor, but in 40 years of newspapering I never have heard of any candidate stooping so low as to offer to pay potential voters to write support letters.
If Raese has such complete disregard for West Virginians' opinions that he believes he can buy them, his ethics, honesty and understanding of West Virginians ... no matter how much he struts in his TV ads, wearing denim jeans and shirt ... is questionable.
He is little more than a multimillionaire who seemingly believes his checkbook can buy him whatever he wants, including West Virginians' political opinions via letters to the editor and a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Raese's brand of despicable political campaigning should have ended with candidates buying votes, which in a sense is what he's trying to do.
If this is the type of candidate Raese is, he's an insult to true legendary Republicans such as Abraham Lincoln, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan!
The News and Sentinel publishes hundreds of engagement, wedding, birthday and anniversary articles every year, all of which can be accompanied by a black-and-white photo and published without cost.
If the news story subject wishes a color photo used in the article, there is a small fee for the photo.
Those celebration-type articles are published in the Sunday edition of The News and Sentinel, only, and need to be received in the newsroom the Tuesday morning before the following Sunday edition.
Since the celebration information and photos are published as news, the newspaper reserves the option to edit the stories and crop the photos to conform to standard news guidelines. The purpose is to provide a uniform treatment of all such celebration items, so as to be fair to all.
What does that mean? It means we will crop the photos to appear as close to uniform size and content as other such celebration-type photos. We also will edit the text to conform to news guidelines, eliminating opinionated terminology discussing how beautiful the dress was, how lovely the ceremony was, how perfect the music was, how radiant the bride looked and/or how wonderful a time everyone had at the event or how much the wedding ceremony and honeymoon were enjoyed.
It should be noted, though, an engagement article is not intended to be a "wedding invitation" and should be submitted and published within a timely period before a wedding. An engagement is news when it happens, not months after it occurs and days before a wedding.
Unlike some newspapers, The News and Sentinel does not have a hard and fast deadline stating an engagement article will not be published within a specific time before a wedding, but common sense should prevail, meaning since most people become engaged a period of time before a wedding, the engagement article should be submitted sooner, rather than later, in relation to the wedding.
And, unlike most newspapers that have a much shorter timeframe for submission of wedding information, The News and Sentinel will accept a full wedding article with photo, at no cost, up to six months after the wedding. After the six-month period, the newspaper will publish an abbreviated wedding announcement without a photo. If a couple still wants a full wedding story and photo, it can be arranged through our advertising department.
Contact Jim Smith at email@example.com