The Times-News reports that Rep. Nathan Vaughn is taking 2nd House District GOP challenger Tony Shipley to task for distributing a newspaper-style campaign piece Shipley calls the “Kingsport Community News.”
Shipley acknowledged the publication is paid for by his campaign.
“We put all kinds of things in it,” Shipley, of Colonial Heights, said of the publication. “I can’t expect (the news media) to carry the mail for me. I needed (newspaper) space to discuss issues … as opposed to how Mr. Vaughn wants them to be reported. … We publish about 20,000 of them every 10 days.”
According to Shipley’s website, Kingsport Community News is the good news of Kingsport, Colonial Heights, Indian Springs, and Sullivan Gardens. Contrary to the candidate’s claims, the Kingsport Community News does not contain “all kinds of things.” The rag is clearly campaign propaganda and is published by The Committee To Elect Tony Shipley, a fact noted on pages 2 and 3 of Volumes I and II.
Is that deceptive? Considering most of the “articles” are about Shipley, written by Republicans or Shipley’s wife and the paper does contain the “published by” disclaimer, I have to say no. It is not. In fact, it’s rather smart. This area is still made up of folks, who firmly believe, “If it’s in the newspaper, it must be true.” Therefore, Shipley is using a medium that area voters trust to deliver his message without challenge.
Will voters be deceived by it? Yes, it is likely. Ultimately, however, voters must take responsibility for their decisions: this includes the process of educating themselves on the issues, verifying sources of information and weighing it accordingly. You know, voting has always been a lot like courting. Candidates will say damn near anything to get you into bed with them – and if you fall for every slick line you’re handed, you’re probably gonna end up screwed. But that’s your choice.