Friday, May 5, 2006

Below the belt

The Herald-Times has never been known as a friend of Republicans, but it has been especially bad as of late. In today's "And another thing" editorial, the H-T wrote the following:

(I)t'll be interesting to know what Herb Kilmer now does with all those American flags. Perhaps he can run a concession at the Fourth of July parade and recoup his investment. It's a thought, Herb.

That cheap shot was needless and uncalled for. The H-T has been very critical of Kilmer over the years, and I'm sure there was much jubilation at 1900 South Walnut when he failed to win the Republican primary for judge. To gloat about Kilmer's loss and mock the American flags on his signs was highly unprofessional. That, unfortunately, is nothing new for the Herald-Times.

The same day, Kurt Van Der Dussen wrote that "Nancy Brinegar probably would be favored to thump any Republican this fall" in the race for Bloomington Township Trustee. Van Der Dussen has a bad habit of putting editorial comments into his "news" articles, especially when it comes to predicting the outcome of certain races.

Van Der Dussen wrote on May 3 that the fourth County Council district "is so Democratic no Republican bothered to run in the primary". He also wrote on April 27 that the Democratic primary in that district "may be tantamount to election because the district is so Democratic there isn't even a GOP candidate for November."

It is true that voter registration numbers in both Bloomington Township and the fourth City Council district favor Democrats. However, upsets can happen. Four years ago, Dexter Luck came within an eyelash of unseating Mark Stoops in the fourth district, which was gerrymandered to be heavily Democratic. Luck finished only 360 votes shy of winning the election. In the heavily Democratic sixth City Council district one year later, Steve Volan won a nail-biter against Chris Smith, 468 votes to 439.

By reading Van Der Dussen's editorial comments, one may wonder why we have an election at all. Such editorializing could suppress voter turnout, and turnout is traditionally low in off-year elections anyway. Will the Herald-Times have any room to complain if that does in fact happen? Meanwhile, Van Der Dussen should keep his analysis and predictions on the opinion page and away from articles that are supposed to be unbiased representations of the facts.