When Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor stopped by a business in Tuscarawas County last week, the local newspaper was there to cover the visit.
Gov. John Kasich’s re-election campaign was pleased enough with the Times-Reporter’s coverage to share the resulting story on the Kasich-Taylor website.
Pleased enough, that is, with one notable exception.
Gone was this quote from Dayne Thomas, vice president and general manager of Dover Hydraulics: “Business is pretty flat. There is not a lot of growth opportunity.”
The economy is a central theme in this year’s gubernatorial race that pits Kasich and Taylor against Democratic challengers Ed FitzGerald and Sharen Neuhardt. The Republican incumbents point to lower unemployment rates as a sign that the Kasich administration’s policies are working. FitzGerald argues that the governor’s efforts have favored the wealthy and that the recovery is not as rosy as Kasich contends.
Thomas’ quote is the kind political opponents live for — the kind of remark they’ll emphasize even in a story largely positive for the other side. The Ohio Democratic Party and FitzGerald campaign quickly noticed Team Kasich’s selective editing.
The state party captured a screen grab comparing the web version of the Times-Reporter’s story with the version on the Kasich-Taylor website. And the FitzGerald campaign rated the blunder alongside a couple of other awkward moments for Kasich and Taylor in recent days, including a Plain Dealer analysis that found flaws with how the lieutenant governor was characterizing Obamacare rates.
Connie Wehrkamp, communications director for the Kasich-Taylor campaign, acknowledged that the Times-Reporter story was reposted improperly. After the campaign learned of the mistake, “it was corrected immediately,” she said.
The new version contains five paragraphs of the Times-Reporter story and a link to the newspaper’s website, encouraging readers to read the full article.
It’s worth noting that political campaigns, including FitzGerald’s, often present excerpts or even full versions of news stories on their websites and in their communications. It’s rarer — but happens still — for campaigns to use most of an article but exclude one or two points that don’t fit their message.