I returned home from a two-day business meeting today to see a flier from congressional candidate Bruce Braley. This mailing in particular caught my eye because it showed the Telegraph Herald masthead. The flier reprinted Sunday's TH editorial, which endorsed Braley by a slight margin over Republican Mike Whalen.
That's OK. Candidates have long touted their newspaper endorsements. Braley's web site announces endorsements by the TH and The Des Moines Register. Whalen's site does the same with the Quad-City Times (Davenport) and The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). It is somewhat flattering that the candidates consider endorsements important.
However, I am unhappy. The flier conveniently omits the portion of the editorial that takes issue with Braley on health care.
When I receive the courtesy of a request to reprint something we published, I stipulate that the piece must be reprinted "as is," without alterations, unless we give specific approval. The reason: We don’t want others misrepresenting our work. I feel that is exactly what happened here.
No one from the Braley campaign contacted me, and I would not have OK'd the way our editorial was manipulated. As the flier depicts it, a reader might erroneously conclude that our editorial had nothing good to say about Whalen (except general reference to both candidates being "solid" and "capable"). That was not the case.
I’m sure the Braley camp will point to the disclaimer. In tiny type -- not even a capital letter is used – the flier states, editorial excerpted.
Here is the portion of our editorial the Braley camp did not share with voters:
However, Whalen scores more points than Braley on the issue of health care. Both candidates acknowledge that the current system needs repair. However, Braley would move toward universal health care to help the 47 million Americans without coverage. Turning over all health care to the federal government is not a good idea. What assurance do citizens have that government is up to the task, and could provide for quality and timely care at an affordable cost? The recent implementation of a Medicare prescription plan surely won't inspire a vote of confidence. Whalen's suggestion that health care be more consumer-driven, with his "private, personal, portable" plan, is more realistic.
Both candidates have good ideas and, if elected, would challenge the problems. Unfortunately, voters might not realize that about them. Both Braley and Whalen allowed a partisan free-for-all advertising campaign of wild accusations and misstatements about their opponents. Unfortunately, neither had the political courage to call on their respective parties to take down ads that clearly misrepresent (if not out-and-out lie) about their opponents' positions, and there were some they personally approved. That is the biggest disappointment of this campaign.On the positive side, the Braley web site does carry the entire editorial, including the section above, without alteration.
In any case, I do not appreciate how Braley manipulated and misrepresented our endorsement.