The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

The Watch



Considering its size, the greater Charleston area is well served with media. It has local TV stations which are part of the major national networks and a number of radio stations. Whether they cover local events adequately can be debated, but we seldom hear any accusations of bias. However, the written media is something different. It is dominated by the Post and Courier (P&C), the region's only daily newpaper. There are other newspapers but they are weekly or bi weekly. None has the circulation of the P&C. Nor do they attempt to emulate its wide coverage. "The Mercury" has a "below Broad " flavor and and with its mix of political, historlcal and literary articles, aims for a higher-brow reader than average . "The Chronicle" aims largely at African Americans while "The City" focuses on younger folk with a concentration on eating-out and entertainment.

Our beef with the P&C is its unabashed bias. It is not that it is either too liberal or conservative. We have heard folk accuse of it as being at both ends of the political spectrum which suggests that it is not really biased. Until a few years ago, it had a strong and uncritical support of the City of Charleston's Administration. Indeed it was this strong bias that stirred the founders of Charlestonwatch to create this web site. Interestingly, the editorial position of the paper has changed in recent times and often it has been at odds with the City on issues. It has been a frequent critic on the cruise ship issue.

February 09, 2013

Cruise ship Symposium, February 9
P&C struggles with the facts

Warwick Jones

We did not attend the Cruise ship Symposium that ended yesterday. But we read the editorial and news reports in the Post and Courier. Herewith some extracts from the editions of the last 3 days relating to the event. Viewers can draw their own conclusion and make their own judgment.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2012

Cruise ships
Cruise ship pollution exaggerated

The following letter was sent to the Post and Courier some weeks ago and and never published. We thought viewers might find it interesting.


The cruise ship foes have been short of facts. Now they are indulging in fantasy. Ms. Agnew of the Charleston Communities for Cruise Control cites (November 8) a study that says Carnival Fantasy when in port will emit as much sulfur dioxide as 34,000 idling tractor-trailers even though the ship will be burning low sulfur fuel. She even states that the EPA has “vetted” the study. Recently, another letter writer made the same assertion. Something is very wrong.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2009

Shrimp 'n Grits
The Palter and Chatter

Every so often it’s beneficial to digress and explain to more recent readers the origins of the descriptive, sometimes colorful, synonyms used to describe the people, places, and organizations that are the subject of frequent articles in Shrimp ‘n Grits. Such is the case with The Post and Courier, Charleston’s current successor to a long, illustrious, and notable printed press that informed and faithfully served citizens of the Lowcountry through almost two centuries of “Hell and High Water”. Sadly, what once were, in the living memories of many Charlestonians, two credible daily newspapers, The Evening Post and The News and Courier, has now dwindled to a single literal and figurative journalistic lightweight, emasculated by political influence and self-serving egos of its current owners. It’s no wonder that newspapers nationwide like The Post and Courier now find themselves living off the dwindling assets of their balance sheets as they slowly founder in rising seas of red ink.

Continue reading "Shrimp 'n Grits"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2008

Shrimp 'n Grits
Credibility of journalism plunges with circulation
Lee Walton

Over the past two decades, newspaper circulation has been plummeting down hill with no bottom in sight. Ever increasing competition from cable television, talk radio, the Internet, and, most recently, telephone news service has scattered the traditional audience of newspapers to these vastly more convenient and accessible media sources. Adding to this ever-increasing problem is the realization that the traditional newspaper-advertising model is obsolete – it’s not interactive, time efficient, and does not narrowly target the demands of today’s quality consumer. Declining circulation has manifested itself in the adoption of a more economical tabloid format, smaller text, shrinking news space, more advertising per page, newsroom staff cutbacks and non-traditional, short-term marketing gimmicks. Such desperate acts increasingly reinforce the readers’ suspicions that newspapers are now motivated more by profit than quality journalism or caring about the best interest or their readers.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2007

Why the hypocrisy?
P&C criticizes County but not the City on distributions to charities out of tax payer funds
Warwick Jones

What is it about the Post & Courier? It seems there is nothing that will provoke its Editorial staff to criticize the City, even if it amounts to hypocrisy. Take the editorial in last Friday’s edition. It dealt with the hand-outs given by Charleston County to charities from tax payer funds.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2007

Shrimp 'n Grits
Journalistic Credibility

Lee Walton

For the past three weeks, the Palter & Chatter has focused much of its reporting efforts on the trials and tribulations of Al Parish, the Financial Advisor and Investor, and those who have either suffered from or benefited by their associations with Big Al. This endless stream of articles has not been unlike the recent national media's handling of the Duke University Lacrosse team’s false rape case or the journalistic feeding frenzy surrounding the Imus firing. The common element linking these two national media events with that pursued locally by the Palter & Chatter is the wholly gratuitous manner in which the Palter & Chatter and several of the national news media handled each of these stories.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 09:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 12, 2007

Shrimp 'n Grits
Journalistic Hypocrisy – What are they Smoking?

Lee Walton

As dependable as gnats on a spring evening, the publishers and editors of the Palter & Chatter can always be counted upon to liven up a slow news week by providing yet another classic example of their journalistic hypocrisy for which they’ve become locally infamous. Saturday, March 10th’s lead editorial and B1, above-the-fold headliner, when taken together, are a classic case in point.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 09:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 06, 2007

P&C criticizes County’s contribution to charities again
But why is it ignoring the same practice of the City?
Warwick Jones

Everybody can express an opinion including the Post and Courier. Since the budget session last year, it has been very critical of the County’s practice of distributing funds to charities. The practice has existed for some years but last year was the first the newspaper questioned it. It questioned it again in an editorial last Sunday.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 07, 2006

Shrimp 'n Grits
All Hail Pericles - Prince of Palter
Lee Walton

The Saturday, August 5th edition of the Palter and Chatter was nothing short of a thinly disguised sonata composed by full-time Mayor, part-time newspaper managing editor and concert Maestro J. Pericles Riley as he orchestrated a blatant self-serving performance for the National Governor's Conference held this past weekend in Charleston. The only element missing was a local rendition of Carly Simons' classic hit - You're so Vain sung by the City Council Chamber Singers as the ending coda. True to his classical, albeit self-taught, training as the editing maestro, Pericles actually included each of the five essential sonata elements introduction, exposition, development, recapitulation, and coda) in his masterpiece of self-aggrandizement.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2006

County Council - "In flux" or doing its job?
We take issue with the P&C, again!
Warwick Jones

Today's front-page headline in the Post and Courier was "County Council in flux". The tenor of the critical story that followed was that Council is divided on many issues, some of these have racial overtones, staff is particularly sensitive to criticism, and some are thinking of leaving. And all of this followed the introduction of single member district voting.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2006

Shrimp 'n Grits
Editing the Editor
Lee Walton

In a recent commentary in Saturday's, May 20th edition, a Palter & Chatter editor took the SC Department of Transport (DOT) to the "wood shed" for proposing to hire a P.R. firm to lobby the State Legislature for more state gas tax funding.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2006

Shrimp 'n Grits
The Palter & Chatter- inexcusable journalism
Lee Walton In its, May 16th, editorial The Palter & Chatter blatantly supports CARTA's plea for excessive 1/2% Sales Tax Funding and openly insists that County Council Members break their promises to the voters of Charleston County. In this same editorial The Palter & Chatter shamelessly defends CARTA's continual mismanagement and incompetence by lamenting that its "…officials may have moved too fast initially to regain rider ship."

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2006

Shrimp 'n Grits
Paper Politics
Lee Walton

Of noble ancestry from rebellion and courage,
Our local newspaper can trace its own peerage.
The "Mercury" proclaiming a fiery progression,
Once shattered our Nation with news of secession.
Through earthquake and wars, a dependable source
Of commerce, debate and open discourse.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:53 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2006

Shrimp 'n Grits
The Palter & Chatter's Editorial Lexicon
Lee Walton

Any policy aimed at the suppression of dissent among elected officials shouldn't be tolerated, and any elected official who would endorse such a proposal should be tossed out of office at the earliest opportunity. Public policy discussions in South Carolina have often been a bit rambunctious. That tradition is far better than rules that would require false collegiality. Elected officials shouldn't be expected to merely nod their heads in unison.

P&C Editorial, December 21, 2002

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:51 AM

August 21, 2004

Post & Courier acknowledges an issue with the Aquarium - at last

Warwick Jones, Editor

The Post & Courier's story today about the tardiness of the Aquarium in providing its annual report for 2003 should have been headline news over a week ago. Councilmember Robert George wrote a letter to the Mayor and other councilmembers on August 12, 2004 complaining about the issue and pointing out that the Aquarium had breached the terms of its sub-lease arrangement. The Post & Courier was informed at that time and has waited a week to air the issue.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2004

P&C Never Met a Tax it Didn't Endorse

Shawn Keller

It seems like the only qualification to be an editor or a reporter with the Post & Courier is to be able to write the line "this tax would only cost the average family $xxx.xx a year" or "$xxx.xx on a $100,000 house." Whether its a school bond, sales tax, property tax, hospitality tax, business tax or any one of the other dozens of local taxes that we pay around here, the P&C obviously feels that the government needs those dollars more than any average family or homeowner.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 04:11 AM

May 21, 2004

P&C supports Mayor again on Ansonborough Fields. Surprised?

Patricia Jones

The Post and Courier is at it again. It supported the city's plan to raise building height limitations on the area around Ansonborough Fields, even though it probably did not fully understand what was proposed. In the editorial on Friday, May 21, 2004, it strongly favored the changes proposed by the City to height and set back for sections of the historic district. Interestingly. the Planning Commission found that the increases proposed for the area around Ansonborough Fields were too complex and that further information and time were needed. The language used by the city in describing the changes was obfuscating and not enlightening; a view seemed to be shared with the Commission. I suppose this made no difference to the P&C opinion. As it is evident in relation to Ansonborough Fields, the sales tax increase, CARTA and everything else, there is never a difference between the editorial opinion of the P&C and that of the City Administration, and in this case even if the issue was not fully understood.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 04:17 PM

May 19, 2004

Post and Courier fights back

The Editors

Have you seen how the Post and Courier has begun to devote a whole page each week to Letters to the Editor? Did it hear of the pending start up of CharlstonWatch to fill the void in its coverage? OK, we are vain and maybe deluding ourselves. But we are not holding our breath in anticipation of unbiased reporting. Let's see how it covers the sales tax referendum before we make a final judgement.

Posted by Warwick Jones at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)