The Richmond State - A Fantasic Free Read Every Thursday

Meet the Élite-tles

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, March 16 1996

The Richmond State was a plucky upstart alternative newspaper (not that kind of “alternative”) that challenged the editorial might of the stodgy Richmond Times-Dispatch beginning in 1994. It folded in 1997 and left so little of a legacy that there is a grand total of one search result for it in all of the Googles, which is a link to the Library of Congress where you can find which libraries have copies on microfiche. At the time, Paul Caputo and I thought this was our ticket to comedy stardom. We were exceptionally stupid.

Hiya. We are Jeff and Paul. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Have you ever heard Pat Buchanan,  a member of the Christian Coalition, or any of the winos on 7th Street talk about their press coverage? They all say that they are portrayed inaccurately (respectively, as a jingoistic extremist, a society of pious bigots, and winos who talk to their bottles of “Richard’s Wild Irish Rose”) in the press. And they all blame one villain: No, not “That sweet, sweet booze that done me wrong.” We mean: “THE LIBERAL MEDIA ÉLITE.”

According to Pat and other God-fearing, right-thinking Americans with no sense of humor, The Liberal Media Élite is a secret cabal of reporters who dress up in robes and conspire to defeat him, at wild nude-Twister parties in Georgetown hosted by Bob Woodward every Thursday night. Pat naturally assumes that if members of a profession are, –with some notable exceptions, like USA Today (“We cost 50 cents just like a real newspaper!”) – generally  well-educated, intelligent and well-informed and they SOMEHOW still don’t all love him, there MUST be some kind of conspiracy.

And he’s exactly right.

Here, for the first time, exclusive for readers of The Richmond State – yes, both of you – is the truth about the Secret Brotherhood of the Richmond Liberal Media Élite. Do we have any questions from the audience?

Q: Who is the leader of the Richmond Media Élite?

A: Archwarlock Jason Roop, our Exalted Master Reporter-Dude.

Q: Do you have a secret agenda?

A: Yes. We would all like to get paid more.

Q: What is your secret password?

A: Our secret password, which has been used for hundreds of years, is “Nixon Sucks.”

Q: Who is in this so-called “Richmond Media Élite?” Can you describe them in roughly 900 words?

A: We’re glad you asked.

The Richmond Media Élite:


WTVR “NewsChannel 6”

Motto: “Coverage You Can Dwell On”

Format: News at 6, 11, and “The Young and the Restless.”

Staff: Hard-working, God-fearing people like X.

Worst Feature: Watching Angie Miles fidget nervously because she’s sitting so close to Charles “Burning Fish” Fishburne.

Best Feature: Vague hope that Angie Miles could, at any moment,  slap Charles Fishburne.

WRIC Channel 8

Motto: “Richmond’s Last-in-the-Ratings People”

Format: News at 6and 11 p.m.; Morning show indistinguishable from a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.

Staff: Numerous clever trained seals.

Worst Feature: Knowledge that Lisa Schaffner would never, never go out with you.

Best Feature: Richard Real’s dance numbers during slow parts of the show.

WWBT Channel 12

Motto: “Virginia’s Best News Organization, According to Some Wino We Found on 7th Street”

Format: News from 5 – 7 p.m., because you just couldn’t fit all those stories about surfing kittens into one hour.

Staff: Several people plus Gene Lepley, who (True Fact!) looks just like “Jon” from “Garfield.”

Worst Feature: Lingering doubts over whether Gene Cox is wearing pants at any given moment.

Best Feature: Campbell Brown – she puts the “Hot” in “Remote Live Shot.”

WRHL Fox-35

Motto: “The Nightly  Psychic Space Alien Report”

Format: 10 p.m., cleverly scheduled to be when nobody is watching, so nobody notices the screw-ups.

Staff: Three people, if you count Curt Autry’s forehead as a separate person.

Worst Feature: The way they always try to make stories sound like a case from “The X-Files.”

Best Feature: Curt Aurtry says “Beam me up!” and teleports out of seat at the end of each newscast.


WRVA 1140 AM

Motto: “All the News, Plus Static”

Format: Intermittent news radio between commercials on “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” Bills itself as “Richmond’s 24-Hour News Service,” as if all the other reporters go to bed at 4 p.m.

Staff: One guy who watches CNN

Worst Feature: Static-y reception of station causes news bulletins like “Authorities say ‘For God’s sake, whatever you do, PLEASE DO NOT (bzzzzzzz) or your eyeballs will explode! … Let’s take another caller.”

Best Feature: Nobody there looks like Charles Fishburne, and even if they did you couldn’t tell.

Richmond Times-Dispatch Broadcast News Service

Motto: “Unfortunately, We Can’t Jut Read You the ‘Comics’ Section”

Format: Morning news broadcasts between playing “Love in an Elevator” and “Wanted: Dead or Alive” on XL102; complementing the soothing nasal tones of Bill Bevins on Lite 98; and other assorted radio stations.

Staff: One guy who comes in at 5 a.m., reads that morning’s Times-Dispatch, condenses it, laughs at it and then just makes up the news he thinks would be interesting.

Worst Feature: One of the fill-in anchors sounds like Jeff.

Best Feature: The full one-minute  WLEE “Morning NASCAR Report” keeps you prepared for current events discussions all day

Robin on “The Howard Stern Show”

Motto: “All the News That’s Fit to Make ‘Penis’ Jokes About”

Format: The last 15 minutes of the show, which could be anywhere from 9:45 to 4:00 in the afternoon. Not technically part of the Richmond media, but Pat Buchanan hates them, and they irritate Bob Ukrop, so we made them honorary members.

Staff: Robin, who reads the news; and “Jackie the Joke Man,” who laughs whenever a story involves a busload of crippled orphans plunging off a cliff or something.

Worst Feature: 15-minute commercials seldom feature the soothing voice of “Mad Dog.”

Best Feature: Vital information about how the day’s current events relate to Howard’s penis.


The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Motto: (tie) “Housebreak Your Pets Economically” or “All the News That’s Fit to Print on Page B3” or “Copy Editing? Why?”

Format: A daily newspaper, although you only need to actually read it on Sunday, when Dave Barry is in it.

Staff: One guy transcribing the AP wire, two blind copy editors and 400 people who write stories for the Henrico Plus Section.

Worst Feature: Ross MacKenzie editorials where he keeps referring to his “Hard Time in the Big House” after the infamous “Motorized Squirrels” incident.

Best Feature: Excellent for composting.

Style Weekly

Motto: “Look … At Least It’s Free”

Format: A weekly color ad supplement.

Staff: Two reporters and 600 people in the ad department.

Worst Feature: Reading Style can cause herpes.

Best Feature: Guilty pleasure of reading the 30 pages of gay and lesbian personal ads.

Richmond Magazine

Motto: “We Promise We’re an Acutal News Organization”

Format: As far as we can tell, it’s just one issue per year with the “Best and Worst” restaurants in it.

Staff: One guy who spends the whole year eating.

Worst Feature: Blatant disregard for Taco Bell in its ratings.

Best Feature: Entire magazine is in “Scratch-and-Sniff” format.

The Richmond State

Motto: “Your #1 Source for Crap”

Format: Weekly, except during Christmas, Halloween, snow breaks, Islamic holy days or whenever they feel like it.

Staff: Six or seven killer androids, plus “Mad Dog.”

Worst Feature: (tie) 1. Jonathan Fox’s weekly profiles of bands like “Buttsteak”/2. Your  keg parties never seem to show up in the “Society” section.

Best Feature: Jeff and Paul might get fired at any moment.

If anyone is interested in Official Media Élite™ T-Shirts or baseball caps, please write us in care of this newspaper.

©1996 Puff Carpluto