PRESS RELEASE: Biased Media Coverage: A Sure Way to Diss Donors

August 9, 2021.

I’m Audrey Clement, Independent candidate for Arlington County Board on November 2, and I’m concerned about biased media coverage.

While decidedly unhappy with the direction of the all Democrat County Board, the Sun Gazette (SG) insists that independent challengers aren’t raising enough money to mount effective campaigns. A recent SG editorial opined:

“If you’re going to rage against the Democratic machine in Arlington and make a bid for office, be prepared to raise, at a minimum, $100,000, and preferably twice that.

In another editorial masquerading as news, SG characterized the candidates’ collective fundraising effort as “anemic”.

If it costs $100,000+ for a non-incumbent to win a local election, look no further than the SG, whose coverage of non-incumbents reads like an obituary column rather than political news.

For example, in endorsing incumbent Takis Karantonis in the Democratic primary, SG took his opponent Chanda Choun to task for failing to be sufficiently critical, while itself pointing to no initiative Takis had taken to warrant reelection. After the primary SG derided Choun on his third defeat, saying Choun “needs to come up with some new outlet for his creative energies.”

Another tactic employed by local media to bolster the machine candidates is routinely republishing press releases on behalf of the Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC) as favorable news coverage. For recent evidence of that, see here and here.

While biased coverage benefits incumbents, ridiculing other candidates for their lack of financial backing all but guarantees that they won’t get it.

I’m running for County Board, because I know that machine politics coupled with biased media coverage is bad all the way around.

If elected, I will insist that while fundraising is important, it takes second stage to the issues. I will also:

  • Seek immediate tax relief for residents and businesses.
  • Say YES to affordable housing and NO to “Missing Middle” up-zoning.
  • Preserve Arlington’s cultural heritage and stop permitting the demolition of historic structures.
  • Save our parks, streams and tree canopy and stop clearcutting wooded areas on public property.
  • Say YES to real social justice reforms and NO to symbolic gestures.

As a 17-year Westover resident, long-time civic activist and former member of the Transportation Commission, I have both the experience and independence to promote these reforms.

If you share my agenda, then:

  • Spread the word about my candidacy.
  • Donate to my campaign.
  • Help make the “Arlington Way” more than an empty phrase.
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