Don’t Expect the Telegram to Give You “the truth”

Regarding the Rocky Mount Telegram:

The Telegram editorial fails to mention the mud slinging by Newton prior to the release of any flyer. Most editors at the Telegram know all too well what has been going on behind the scenes regarding Tom Fetzer, the Local Tea Parties (Nash & Wilson) and the coordinated effort to distort Swindell’s record and bring him down.

Folks: If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck….it ain’t a Buck!

From the Telegram:

N.C. Sen. A.B. Swindell has crossed a line of taste and fairness in a campaign flier that suggests his Republican opponent, E.S. “Buck” Newton, has a history of illegal drug use.

We say the flier “suggests” the allegations because while the advertisement goes to great lengths to highlight in yellow various drug charges that were filed against Newton by a police officer in Boone in 1990, there are no similar highlights on the outcome of each charge. Careful readers will note them anyway. Each one reads: “Dismissed.”

To be sure, the circumstances of the case are curious and beg further scrutiny. Newton says an undercover officer bought marijuana and cocaine from someone the officer later confused with Newton.

A grand jury returned indictments against Newton, who was a student at Appalachian State University at the time, but Newton says he was never arrested, fingerprinted or photographed in connection with the case. A 1999 letter from the Watauga County District Attorney’s office backs Newton’s claim that the case was one of mistaken identity.

The case certainly raises questions, but Swindell’s campaign flier goes way beyond that. Its photos of what appears to be cocaine and its tabloid headlines — “Is that who you want to be your senator?” — are nothing but smear tactics.

At best, they challenge Newton to prove his innocence when he never was even tried. At worst, they prey on potentially lazy voters who may not bother to read newspapers or fine print.

To our knowledge, Swindell, a five-term Democrat, never has stooped to such tactics in any of his previous campaigns.

He has represented the 11th District well and often has been a friend to community colleges and public schools in his votes and legislation.

All the more reason to be puzzled and disgusted by this over-the-top campaign ad.

We expect better.




About George Fisher

George is a freelance writer, an author and a Democratic political consultant. He has worked as Deputy Communications Director for a Senatorial campaign and Campaign Manager for several NC House races and one congressional race. He previously worked as a news producer for a local television station.
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