When a local Republican committeewoman arrested for her role in Jan. 6 and who was caught on video screaming “we were looking for Nancy [Pelosi] to shoot her in the friggin’ brain, but we didn’t find her” was sentenced to prison, you’d think this was newsworthy.
The Bucks County Beacon broke the sentencing story last week. The Philadelphia Inquirer, Levittown Now, the Bucks County Herald, Doylestown Patch, Delaware Valley News, Newsweek, The Hill, and other outlets all found it newsworthy. But not USA Today Network’s Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer newspapers. A week later and still nothing.
More so, the fact that she is a newly elected Republican committeewoman – elected in May – even when local Republicans knew her role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, should also have been newsworthy. When a similar election happened in Lancaster and Republican voters elected a local Oathkeeper leader as committee person, guess what the local newspaper did? They covered it.
I’ve long documented these two newspapers’ too frequent refusal to report on Bucks County Republican extremism, and too frequent platforming of it. This includes not reporting or editorializing about:
– The fact that Bucks County Republican Committee Chair Pat Poprik was a fake elector.
– A PA01 GOP congressional candidate submitted forged candidate petitions in May.
– The Proud Boys involving themselves in local GOP politics and rallying with local Republicans to support Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. (The puff piece mentioning them by far-right columnist JD Mullane, which has been scrubbed from their website, doesn’t count. It is archived here.)
– Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s repeated votes against legislation to combat domestic terrorism and white supremacists.
– Local Republican state GOP lawmakers recently voted to ban abortion in the Pennsylvania Constitution.
In contrast, when Bucks County Democrats on Twitter were upset that the now former head of the local party was hosting an event run by a MAGA millionaire who spread lies that the election was being stolen before the election even happened and who said all Democrats are self-loathing and “hate America” (why would they be upset?), the Courier Times and Intelligencer published a straight news story, a staffer’s column, and an editorial by the editorial board about it – the latter two to explicitly attack Democrats for their supposed “far-left feeding frenzy.”
Now, if only we could get that sense of urgency and coverage for actual Republican far-right extremism. Never mind none of these stories included actual interviews and quotes from the progressive critics that could provide more context and insight into their up to 280 character-critiques captured on Twitter. Shame on them.
In a recent editorial, the two papers stated: “Advocating for transparency and open government is among our editorial board’s foundational responsibilities and it isn’t diminished by whatever circumstances surround specific requests.”
They should hold themselves to the same standards of openness, transparency, and accountability.
ACTION: Please contact USA Today Network’s editors for the Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer newspapers and ask them to explain why they refuse to cover GOP extremism and corruption. They owe their readers that much. And please remember to be respectful.
Danielle Camilli, USA Today Network Eastern Pennsylvania Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Anastasi, Viewpoint Director and Editorial Writer for the USA Today Network in Pennsylvania: email@example.com