In response to a recent Washington Post editorial (“Ed Gillespie Flirts with Toxic Ideas At His Own Risk,” 9/8/2017), Gillespie for Governor Campaign Chairman Pete Snyder offered the paper a rebuttal, submitting a 750 word op-ed. His submission was swiftly rejected, and was told that responses to editorials must come in the form of a letter to the editor, which are typically capped at 250 words. Snyder obliged, editing down his submission per request.
Days later, The Washington Post returned his letter to the editor in almost unrecognizable form, altering not only Snyder’s words, but the broader theme of the piece, including its title. The piece was also reduced to 223 words — well short of the agreed upon word limit.
As Snyder notes in his original op-ed (which can be found below), “…it is painfully obvious that this publication has an agenda, a narrative that they demand this race follow, and no interest in letting facts and actual events get in the way of it.”
What ever happened to “democracy dies in darkness?”
Below, please find Snyder’s original op-ed submission, followed by what The Washington Post chose to run:
The Washington Post Is Out Of Touch, Not The People Of Virginia
By Pete Snyder, Gillespie Campaign Chairman
Submitted to The Washington Post September 10, 2017
Our Republic depends upon a well-informed, and engaged, citizenry. Ensuring that voters are educated about the issues of the day, and have the opportunity to know and fully understand, the positions put forward by those seeking office is a critical function of our nation’s press. And I am thankful for that. However, during the course of the 2017 Virginia gubernatorial campaign, this publication has failed to fulfill that role, to the detriment of all Virginians. A recent editorial in this paper, (“Ed Gillespie Flirts with Toxic Ideas At His Own Risk,” Sept 8, 2017) is a perfect example.
In recent weeks Ed has attended Eid prayer services at a local mosque; called for greatly lessening Virginia’s current penalties regarding marijuana possession and advanced a criminal justice reform agenda based on redemption and rehabilitation; and unveiled at an NAACP forum last week his “Striving for Impact” plan to address complex and interrelated social challenges. Ed has said clearly that “dreamers” who came to this country because of the actions of their parents should remain here, while dangerous MS-13 members who terrorize our communities and are here illegally should be deported.
But The Washington Post editorial board apparently does not care to highlight, nor even note, those matters for your readership. Instead you choose to distort Ed’s consistent position on Virginia’s Civil War statues, one that is in line with majority opinion.
Ed’s position on Virginia’s historical monuments has been consistent. He believes when it comes to local monuments, those decisions should be left to the cities and counties that control them, but he believes they should stay up and be placed in historical context. His opponent Ralph Northam believes it is also a matter for localities, but he wants them to come down, and has pledged to be an active proponent for their removal. When it comes to state-controlled statues, including the Lee Statue in Richmond and the Jackson Statue at VMI, Ed would keep them up. Northam has pledged to do “all he can” to take them down.
These are not complicated positions. But this paper seems to be either incapable of understanding the difference between locally controlled statutes and state ones, or disinterested in it. There has been no change in Ed’s position, nor a hardening of it. What has occurred is simply a failure on the part of this paper to understand, and report on, important policy discussions.
The Washington Post has a laudable history and has played a critical role in the growth and health of our region and of our nation, but by repeatedly failing to report on Ed’s 16 detailed policy announcements, which make up what other media outlets and analysts have called one of the most policy-driven and substantive gubernatorial campaigns in Virginia history, you are doing your readers a tremendous disservice. And based on what the editorial page chooses to highlight, and what they don’t (as noted above) it is painfully obvious that this publication has an agenda, a narrative that they demand this race follow, and no interest in letting facts and actual events get in the way of it. The Washington Post decided a long time ago what the 2017 campaign must be about, and nothing that interferes with that narrative has been allowed through the filter.
Well here’s the truth about what is actually happening on the campaign trail and all throughout the Commonwealth. As Ed travels from one end of the state to the other he hears from our fellow Virginians about the serious challenges we’re facing: a stagnant economy and wage growth, lagging job creation, onerous taxes and regulations, surging gang activity, sea level rise, the achievement gap in education, disparity in our criminal justice system, an opioid and heroin epidemic, and more. That’s what Virginians are asking him about, and what he’s providing solutions to. The Post may refuse to cover his thoughtful policy plans to address these challenges, choosing instead to obsess over national politics, but in this myopic focus, it’s this paper that is out of touch, not the people of Virginia.
Ed will continue to put forward serious policy proposals to make Virginia safer and stronger. He’ll continue to take his positive agenda to every corner of the Commonwealth and every voter in Virginia. We invite this paper to cover that campaign, and opine about that, for a change. It would be refreshing to all involved in Virginia public policy and politics.
There’s more to Ed Gillespie than his stance on statues
By Pete Snyder
Posted by The Washington Post September 18, 2017
Ensuring that voters are educated about the issues of the day is a critical function of our nation’s media. Rather than report on the inclusive campaign Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie is running, the Sept. 9 editorial “Mr. Gillespie flirts with the far right” distorted Mr. Gillespie’s consistent position on Virginia’s historical statues.
Mr. Gillespie thinks decisions about local monuments should be left to the cities and counties that control them, but he believes they should stay up. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ralph Northam also thinks it is a matter for localities, but he has pledged to be an active proponent for their removal. On state-controlled statues, Mr. Gillespie would keep them up. Mr. Northam has pledged to take them down.
It is painfully obvious that the editorial board, in failing to opine on Mr. Gillespie’s 16 detailed policy announcements, has an agenda and a narrative that it wants this race to follow.
Mr. Gillespie hears every day about the serious challenges Virginians are facing: a stagnant economy and wage growth, lagging job creation, surging gang activity, sea-level rise, the achievement gap, disparity in our criminal-justice system, an opioid and heroin epidemic, and more.
Mr. Gillespie’s serious policy proposals to make Virginia safer and stronger would be good opinion subjects.
Pete Snyder, Richmond
The writer is chairman of the Ed Gillespie for Governor campaign.