Lou Barletta: Times Leader ‘fair and accurate’

Barletta -

Dear Times Leader Staff,

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many of you on both a professional and personal level. I appreciate the opportunity you give me to talk with you about the work I’m doing for our community and provide my thoughts on the issues that affect us here in northeast Pennsylvania. You have always been fair and accurate in your reporting.

I have nothing but great respect for the work you do, and I consider many of you friends.

Put simply, the Times Leader is not “fake news.”

I have done interviews with media from all over the world, yet without fail the most honest and objective stories are reported by local journalists. Even on the toughest subjects, I know that when I talk to the Times Leader, I am going to get a fair shake. That’s all anyone can ask from their local newspaper, even when we disagree.

Northeast Pennsylvania is lucky to have reliable and trustworthy local news sources. You do our region a great service.

In fact, when the president came to Wilkes-Barre last week, I was proud to tell him about the quality of our local news. I specifically mentioned the Times Leader and encouraged him to speak with Bill O’Boyle, among a few other local reporters, if given the chance.

Unfortunately, the national media does not cover President Trump with the same objective lens. From his time as a candidate to his tenure as president, the national media has taken up a firmly anti-Trump stance, seemingly obsessed with his personal life and everything Russia, while ignoring how his policies are helping the economy and creating opportunity for all Americans.

A Pew Research Center study found that two-thirds of news stories about Trump during his first 60 days in office were negative – more than double the amount of negative stories written during the first 60 days of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, or Barack Obama’s presidencies.

A Harvard University study of the national media’s coverage of Trump’s first 100 days in office found that 93 percent of CNN and NBC’s coverage was negative, compared to 87 percent of the New York Times’ coverage and 83 percent of the Washington Post’s coverage.

And a recent Media Research Center study found that, of the statements made about President Trump on the three main nightly national newscasts, 91 percent have been negative.

Consider, for instance, the national media’s coverage of – or refusal to cover – the recent ceremony where the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War were returned home. This was a significant moment for all Americans, especially our veterans and the families of those who died serving our country. It also underscored the historic progress President Trump is making with North Korea, as he was able to secure the soldiers’ return as part of his ongoing negotiations to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

Newsworthy stuff, right? The Times Leader ran a story on it. Fox News broadcast the entire event live, including a speech by Vice President Mike Pence. CNN, however, carried it live for less than a minute, while the evening newscasts on NBC and CBS did not report on it.

This is what the president means when he refers to the “fake news” media. He is not talking about the Times Leader and other honorable local news sources. He is talking about the relentlessly unbalanced and negative coverage the national media broadcasts on a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week basis.

I am proud to stand up and defend my friends at the Times Leader. You all work hard to keep northeast Pennsylvania informed, defend the integrity of the free press, and hold public officials and institutions accountable. On each of these points, you have lived up to your name as one of the leading news outlets in Pennsylvania.

I will also stand up against the unfair and constant negative news coverage of President Trump by the national media.

All my best,

Lou Barletta