LTM Shuts Down Comments, Starts Writing Pro-LCRC Puff Pieces

By Loudoun Insider

I actually thought the Loudoun Times Mirror was making some good strides recently.  Then they just about shut down their comments section by requiring registration and pre-clearance of comments, and then start putting out pro-LCRC GOBGN articles at a brisk pace.  First we had a glowing article about Dick Black writing a letter urging state funding for a road project, and now we have a puff piece about John Whitbeck.  Again.  After the last article about him winning the relatively obscure 10th District Republican Committee Chairmanship went haywire in comments.  But given that Whitbeck’s new Communications Chair David D’Onofrio has always had a super cozy relationship of undetermined status it isn’t too surprising that the LTM would print whatever D’Onofrio wants.  More on that later.



  • BlackOut says:

    LI, excellent observation. Seems to be fluff piece after fluff piece. Now that the throttle is gone it is fair game.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    One article is based on a letter Black wrote, the other on an email John Whitbeck sent out announcing committee members. It’s amazing what warrants a big news story on the LTM website.

  • Clarke Conservative says:

    Wow. How sinister. John Whitbeck is creating a committee system that not only includes his supporters in the 10th District leadership but also some of those who campaigned against him. John has the gaul to bring in people with actual experience to run these committees. How does he think he will get away with this?

  • LowdowneVA says:

    This newspaper has long since abandoned any attempt at practicing of respectable, journalistic, local news coverage. Both articles you reference induce nausea by gratuitous pandering, but they pale by comparison with Bill Dean’s op-ed piece on PLAs. His endless tome is presented as a “Guest Opinion” signed as a letter from just another reader. No disclosure that Dean
    signed 65-year contracts with Lansdowne and Southern Walk on behalf of Open Band, and later funded an economic rescue when the Times Mirror was close to an economic collapse like the one that overtook its chief competitor, Leesburg Today.
    What a sad, pathetic end for a once-proud newspaper that now serves as padding for Wednesday grocery circulars and is thrown at people who don’t want it and don’t read it.

  • LowdowneVA says:

    Um, CC, are you implying they are Coneheads?

    Gaul   [gawl] Show IPA
    an ancient region in W Europe, including the modern areas of N Italy, France, Belgium, and the S Netherlands.
    Latin, Gallia. a province of the ancient Roman Empire, including the territory corresponding to modern France, Belgium, the S Netherlands, Switzerland, N Italy, and Germany W of the Rhine.
    an inhabitant of the ancient region of Gaul.
    a native or inhabitant of France.

  • LowdowneVA says:

    Some TC readers might not know that MC Dean President and CEO Bill Dean, an investor and member of the Loudoun Times board of directors, is also a Metro Rail contracting hopeful. That is why his editorial (only in the print edition so far) comes off as obsequious and self-serving because he fails to disclose his compelling business interest in building Metro to Loudoun.

  • In The Know says:

    OK CC. I will admit that ths time I am “Not” in the Know. Who is Whitbeck including who campaigned against him?

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    CC, the point is that this is small potatoes inside baseball “news” that somehow generated a “news” story based on an email he sent out talking about what a great job he’s doing already.

    Lowdowne, I did not see that and it makes the recent shut down of comments even more sinister. Interesting timing that his op-ed appears just after comments are basically shut down, and more interesting still that they haven’t put it up on the website.

    MC Dean is already a metro contractor on the first Silver Line phase, so they surely have an inside track to working on Phase Two since everyone expects the Bechtel crew to get the next phase of work.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    ITK, not many people campaigned against Whitbeck, so I would like to know that was well. He locked up most people’s fealty long before Anna Lee entered the race, then they destroyed the political reputation of anyone who went against him. As usual, even people with big concerns about Whitbeck folded and kept their mouths shut because they were worried about retaliation.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Guys, in the “protest too much” department, be careful that you don’t give anyone reason to wonder why commenting registration upsets you so much.


  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I have no problem with comment registration, it’s the pre-clearance of comments that worries me. The worst offenders by far of the multiple name commenting are the LI Haters, especially once they decided to go on their ridiculous offensive against me personally. It’s quite obvious that comments have taken a nose dive over there, at the same time they have ramped up their pimping puff pieces of Dick Black, John Whitbeck, and failing to post online an op-ed from their money man Bill Dean.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the pre-clearance involves multiple or fake emails to attempt to register multiple IDs.

    Lots of people abused the sockpuppet factor.

  • LowdowneVA says:

    Dean wants the Metro contract so he wants Metro, but he wants the same kind of favorable terms he got when he negotiated with Van Metre and Lansdowne Development for Open Band’s lifetime bundle of so-so and now, unneeded, services.
    So he runs a “guest opinion” that calls on the Board of Supervisors to extend Metro but to ditch PLAs. It is only in the print edition to it reaches Metro-haters in West Loudoun without exposing Dean to the kind of commentary that the Times Mirror graciously provided the lesbian Boy Scout troop leader. Most of those readers don’t get the linkage between Bill Dean, Open Band, the LTM, David D’Onofrio, and the new leadership of the GOP 10th District Committee, who they’ve been herded into believing is going to lead them to a big sweep this fall.
    With respect to comment registration, it delights those who love seeing their name in print, but it suppresses honesty. Not surprising for the LTM. Not a newspaper. It is yellow journalism.

  • liberal anthropologist says:

    There is nobody who campaigned against Whitbeck in those positions. Whitbeck had done nothing to heal the party. Why are you his supporter cc. You don’t think he is a conservative do you?

  • watching the catbox says:

    This is funny beyond the pale. Looks like the multiple personality disorder has been shut down.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    The real test will be when the next article about Mike Chapman goes up and we see the Chapman Haters/Unemployed Former LCSO Brass response.

  • Shiloh says:

    I’m not sure the problem was the political remarks. I believe it highly likely the cause of this new policy was the horribly cruel, even viscious, remarks that were being made about the victims, repeatedly, whenever there was an automobile accident or criminal incident.

    I remember one remark in particular, when a woman was attacked and almost killed by her estranged husband. The comment was something like “the bitch probably deserved it.” This type of thing is totally uncalled for and hurtful to victims and their families.

    Another series of remarks which went on seemingly forever was about a someone who was killed in an automobile accident. The remarks immediately began to stream in accusing the driver, who was killed, of drunk driving. Turned out, it was a medical emergency which caused the accident. Meanwhile, there were all of these sick remarks out there — for the victim’s family and friends to read and make their pain even worse.

    One way to test my theory, however, is for those of us who feel so moved to write critical comments on the various politically-oriented stories and see if they are published. If they aren’t, then we know.

  • Wolverine says:

    Shiloh — I think you hit that one clean out of the park. I noticed that the backlash against some very cruel and uninformed commentary began right within the comments columns themselves. I would posit that the LTM management was listening closely. They probably got some strong, unpublished complaints as well.

  • Clarke Conservative says:

    Actually John is doing a great job in his first couple of weeks as the new 10th District GOP Chairman, and it is only going to get better … much better.

    New website up and running ( Great layout for website with a clean and concise format. Easy to navigate and will be a conduit of information on all the unit committees in the 10th.

    Biggest thing is John is setting up committees with very qualified people, and not stacking the deck with ‘cronies’ of politcal patronage.

    John is putting special emphasis on the youth vote by appointing Nick Clemente to Chair the Youth Outreach Committee. Nick was the campaign manager for Anna Lee. Also on this committee is Josiah Alway (one of Clarke Counties finest) and other young representatives from all over the 10th.

    John has amassed a top-notch financial committee with Robert Wertz, Loudoun County Commissioner of the Revenue as Chairman and as Vice Chairman: Thomas Reed, Treasurer, Frederick County Republican Committee, along with many others. This committee is going to present budgets, long-range goals, etc. Very impressive.

    And as I say, John is only getting started. Other things I have heard, but are not yet public are equally impressive.

    I look forward to the day the bloggers on ‘Too Conservative’ give John the credit he deserves. I won’t be waiting long.

  • Gaius Baltar says:

    On the comments at LTM, I feel they needed to moderate them in some manner because there were far too many blatantly racist comments being made any time a Latino or black committed a crime.

  • Liberal Anthropologist says:


    You will be waiting a long time. I wrote about his setting up of committees. It is a typical big government maneuver. And the people you didn’t mention on that committee are lawyers and big government EPA types.

    Let me ask you this since you seem to be a fan.

    What has John Whitbeck ever said that struck you as conservative. I mean an original thought. Not Hope and Change. Every speech I have seen of his (in person or recorded) he says nothing of substance.

    And on specific issues he doesn’t usually seem to have a strong handle. Frankly he is seems to not be the most intelligent guy when you start talking about specific things with him. And I have. I know him and have interacted with him several times. Every time he struck me as a bit air-headed. Or emotional. I have seen him yell at many people and get highly emotional. Never me, by the way. He strikes me as immature and hardly ready to lead a school committee let alone an election.

    Even the new website looks “blah” It looks like a million other political websites. Whoever is behind it has no originality in their web design. And again… I can find no content on it that impresses me. Do you want to point me to something specific?

    Finally, would you like to defend his record on the Lansdowne HOA where he failed to lead for many years. He was engaged in numerous controversies and took money in unethically from companies for his campaign against Minchew.

    His record of massive spending is well documented. I would be happy to post all the details if you would like.

    And all this from a man – John Whitbeck – who repeatedly attacked the voting record of Governor McDonnell.

    CC, we know a lot more about him than you do. He will not be impressing anyone anytime soon.

    I will reverse all of that… If you can get him to post here. A guest post – unedited. Or in the comments. He doesn’t seem to have the guts to deal with critics directly. A key attribute of a leader. Prove me wrong. Let’s see him engage with others instead of standing behind his equivalent of TOTUS.

  • Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Seriously CC….

    Setting up committees is why we should respect him? Can he set up a committee to decide how many committees to set up? And a committee to audit that committee. 🙂

    And you did hear about his role in getting rid of volunteers on Lansdowne committees, right?

    Why do you think that so many of the people who dealt with him day to day in Lansdowne have a problem with him. So many that he only barely won his seat on the board last time and that was with a massive last minute proxy collection.

    It is leadership CC. His lack of it. He was forced out of the presidency in Lansdowne because he was so controversial.

    You will see the same in the RP in the 10th. He will make new enemies fast.

  • Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Just noticed Patriot Consulting did the website. Was that done for free? Volunteer?

  • LowdowneVA says:

    Is the 10th District Committee paying $100 an hour plus a $500 deposit for the use of the Potomac Club at Lansdowne? Or is Whitbeck using his immense power as an HOA officer to get it for free? What’s wrong with renting a public place like a school or a library? Oh wait. No drinking in public buildings.

  • Wolverine says:

    LA — Have you volunteered for one or more of those committees or any other significant entity in the local Repub structure? You certainly seem vitally interested in the composition and the actvities of those entities. One has to conclude that you feel that you personally have a great deal at stake there. Why not try to work from within, tough as that might prove to be, rather than just criticize from the outside?

  • Liberal Anthropologist says:

    I have been on a committee. I think committees are an inefficient way to organize. They smack of big government departments and committees. There are more modern methods that make good use of peer to peer concepts with flat organizations.

    Whitbeck knows who I am. He can email me any day if he wants me to work with him. Given how emotional he gets, I am doubtful he would ever want me me to be on one of his committees again. I resigned the last time I had to deal with him on a committee. Mainly because he doesn’t seem to have the intellectual capacity or work ethic to understand details. He frankly he doesn’t work very hard and complains often about the work he has to do.

    He eventually got it on the issue of that time. But it took my resignation (a small thing), and massive political pressure from multiple angles including his cronies losing seats in the next election (after he almost lost) for him to even pay attention to the details enough to realize he was wrong and reverse himself almost a year later.

    This is not leadership. And then he attacked Minchew. It was horrible to see. He ran a massively negative campaign and attacked first. He had no honor and it wasn’t just politics. Minchew was a gentleman about it, but now we are getting info about Whitbeck talking big about getting Minchew (and others) in line. The things he is supposedly saying about Wolf (I won’t repeat them since not confirmed) will get him in serious trouble.

    He will fade from these pages in short order if he does a decent job. But I think he will most definitely make political enemies in short order in the 10th. His personality is such that it is inevitable. He divided Lansdowne badly with his issues.

    Again, he is welcome to a guest post here. COMPLETELY unedited. (So are you by the way). 🙂 If he wrote one, I am sure he would get more respect. Especially if he actually included some ideas in the post. Not just general junk written for his TOTTD (Teleprompter of the Tenth District).

    He will likely stick to the echo chamber sites though. Safer there. On this site there (and a couple others) there is real debate. Here it is with the independents most likely to influence the election Whitbeck is supposed to be working on.


    I will happily get more active again in the party if there is something they want and need me to do. I want Obama to lose. But I will not stop being critical of local party minor functionaries. Criticism is an important function in any group. When you don’t have it, bad things happen. People in public positions need to know they are being watched. The newspapers certainly don’t do it any more.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Oh man, there’s so much BS in that clarke conservative post, it must be Whitbeck himself or D’Onofrio. He isn’t staking his committees with political patronage???!!! What a crock – just start with the D’Onofrio connection where the Whitbeck clique can send all candidates to the Casey/Patriot/Liberty consulting consortium. The website is an ego trip gone awry. If you though Howie had an ego, just wait till we see more of Whitbeck.

  • HOAhell says:

    Ask the members of the former Lansdowne HOA Finance Committee what happened when they asked questions about spending, investments, interest rates, the letting of contracts to Lansdowne residents, etc. The committee was summarily dissolved by Mr. Whitbeck’s board.
    These HOA “committees” are a joke. LA might as well stand on Route 7 and count cars as go to any of those meetings. They meet, talk, do studies, and make recommendations that are blown off by the Whitbeck triumvirate that rules Lansdowne.
    The well-intentioned but gullible people who supported Whitbeck for 10th District Chair without checking his HOA record are in for a rude shock when the blinders come off. And they will.
    Those sickening suck-up posts are written by Whitbeck toadies, or maybe his in-laws.
    Still waiting for Whitbeck to say something definitive about the party line on opting out of Metro.
    Chirp, chirp, chirp…

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I’m still cracking up over this line from cc:

    “Biggest thing is John is setting up committees with very qualified people, and not stacking the deck with ‘cronies’ of political patronage.”

    I heard somewhere that this Nick Clemente is related to the people who run Comstock Homes, who are hugely tied into the Loudoun Metro stop developments – does anyone know more? We do know that Whitbeck is tight with all sorts of pro-Metro people, how funny that his PR team was using anti-Metro sentiment to drive people to the convention.

  • HOAhell says:

    Nick Clemente is the grandson of Dwight Schar, funder of Dwight Schar chair at George Mason occupied by Dr. Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis.
    Nick’s mother married a Clemente, owners of Comstock Homes, which owns property surrounding the proposed Moorefield Station and hopes to build residences that will be made valuable because of proximity to rail — a windfall for the Clemente family.
    The youngest Clemente, Nick, reportedly managed Anna Lee’s unsuccessful campaign for 10th District Chair of the GOP.
    Whitbeck is on a collision course on Metro. He tells ultra conservatives that he is against it, but he is beholden to Scott York for appointing him to the Govt. Reform Commission and to his Lansdowne constituents who want rail because they want to take the train to the District. Whitbeck manages this contradiction by avoiding comment and playing both sides.
    Same way he handles opposing points of strongly held views on HS8.
    Same way he tells his CL 19 clients he will fight to keep them at Tolbert, at the same time he appoints a 10th District committee chair who was architect of the deal to keep elites out of Douglass Elementary in Leesburg and put CL 19 there instead.
    Those who badly want to believe Whitbeck is a fiscal conservative — and they are people with deep and genuine conservative convictions — have not yet noticed Whitbeck’s profligate spending pattern. Even the 10th District Republican meeting he called at Lansdowne on Tuesday evening: it will cost $100 an hour. Renting the auditorium at the middle school in Lansdowne is $66 an hour. Whitbeck chose the more expensive option.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    So why in the world are they paying to meet in a location in Whitbeck’s community at a building he has control over when the 10th CD Committee pays for two headquarters buildings already???

  • HOAhell says:

    Two words, LI.
    Ego trip.

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