Wishneff may sue over coverageA common tactic used by biased news people to slant the message they want to get across. And a common complaint issued by people who think they have been wronged by that process.
By Laurence Hammack, The Roanoke Times
The Roanoke councilman who made up the name listed as the sponsor of a campaign ad attacking his opponent said Thursday he plans to sue The Roanoke Times over its coverage of the controversy.
Brian Wishneff accused the newspaper of "trying to influence the election and trying to maim my character."
Two days after he was voted out of office, Wishneff held a news conference to complain that the newspaper rushed into print an Election Day story about ads that had run over the weekend questioning the credentials of his opponent, Court Rosen.
The article quoted an organizer of Citizens for Sensible Decisions, a political action committee linked to Wishneff, saying that someone with the group gave the newspaper's advertising department the false name of Joe Smith as the person who paid for the message.
Wishneff said the article did not include comments from him or others involved in the matter. "To me, it's Journalism 101 that you get both of the parties involved to verify" information before publishing a story, Wishneff said. (link)
But was Wishneff wronged? You decide. Here's how the Times responds to that charge and how Wishneff reacts to the charge that he did indeed involve himself in that clearly deceptive ad:
The newspaper left three messages at Wishneff's business and on his cellphone the day before the story ran. Wishneff said he didn't return those calls because he was too busy campaigning.I watched him make this claim last night on the local TV news. To be kind, he did himself no favors. "Yeah, I did exactly what I am being accused of but they made me do it" isn't going to sway too many people.
Although the newspaper was unable to confirm just who made up the name for its first story, Wishneff admitted the next day that it was him. He came up with the Joe Smith alias not to mislead the public, he said, but out of frustration during an argument with an advertising sales representative over whether a name was required with the full-page ad, which ran for three days in The Roanoke Times.
Wishneff said the sales representative finally told him it would be OK for him to make up a name -- an accusation the newspaper has denied.
Besides, this guy thinks he can sue a news outlet and win? Sorry. General Westmoreland he ain't.
Go back to the drawing board, pal. This dog won't hunt.