In other words, it’s the epitome of modern newspaper journalism.
From its editorial page today: “Campaign signs of Republican Steve Thaxton, seeking to represent the 36th District in the House of Delegates, display a Christian cross and boast ‘Pro-life, pro-coal, pro-gun.’ We wonder if any other state has Christians-for-guns politicians. Oddly, many West Virginia Democrats fit his GOP agenda.”
That is a stunning admission that its writers wonder what life is like in the very state they live in. The Gazette staff often comes off as anthropology professors on a year's sabbatical in Appalachia. But what does one expect from people who largely live in South Hills and associate only with others who are anti-life, anti-gun atheists and view with disdain the rest of us in the hinterlands.
(For the record, editorial writer Jim Haught lives in a gated community in Cross Lanes, but it is the same South Hillyard mentality.)
Oh yes, the staff indeed refers to areas outside South Hills as “the hinterlands.” Phil Kabler wrote in 2011 of the efforts state Senator Brooks McCabe to be elected Senate president: “For McCabe, he faced the additional burden of the old anti-Charleston and Kanawha County bugaboo, prevalent among many legislators from the hinterlands.”
Phil Kabler in 2011 also applied the word in discussing congressional redistricting: “Likewise, it’s logical to presume that citizens in fast-growing Berkeley County have more common interests with citizens in fast-growing Monongalia County, than they do with the hinterlands of Wirt, Calhoun or Clay counties with whom they currently share the 2nd District.”
Of course, Mister Kabler merely followed the lead of the editorial board, which argued against carving up the 7-member legislative district dominated by South Hills in a weird editorial on July 19, 2011, entitled “Redistricting: Why Balkanize?”
That’s right, West Virginia is Bosnia-Herzegovina in the eyes of the people who run the Charleston Gazette. The editorial began:
Should Nitro have its own delegate in the Legislature, working for just one town’s interest? Should St. Albans? And Loudendale-Alum Creek? And Dunbar-Spring Hill? And Charleston’s West Side? And Kanawha City? And East Bank-Cedar Grove? And Clendenin-Elkview? And Sissonville?By dismissing the majority of its audience as mouth-breathers living in the hinterlands, the Charleston Gazette editorial board is a paragon of modern newspaper journalism. The once honorable trade has become a lower-echelon profession.
Should Kanawha County be Balkanized into a patchwork of 10 or 11 domains for the House of Delegates, each self-interested, not representing wider interests of the county?
This is the heart of the “single-member district” battle as the Legislature struggles to redraw boundaries to fit new population figures of the 2010 census. Republicans are pushing for stand-alone House districts. Apparently the GOP thinks it will win more posts if each enclave gets to elect its own lawmaker. Small and rural places tend to be conservative. A few Democrats also back the clamor for 100 separate districts statewide.
But we hope that cool heads prevail, not selfish interests. We hope lawmakers retain the current system in which the best leaders, chosen from a wide region, represent Kanawha.
The Legislature has numerous experienced figures who have spent years learning the technical tangles of government and budgeting. It will be a shame if many of them are squeezed out by boundary changes, and are replaced by far-right, inexperienced newcomers from towns and hinterlands.