In case readers of the morning Lynchburg News had any doubt about whom the conservative Virginia newspaper favored in yesterday's Democratic primary for governor, publisher Powell Glass Jr. gave them the answer.
In inch-high black letters at the top of Page 1 and on another section's front page, was the message: "VOTE FOR MILLER . . . NOT SOCIALISM."
"Whether it's good journalism or not, I don't know," Glass, who took responsibility for the headline, said in an interview.
A spokesman for Henry E. Howell, who opposed Andrew P. Miller in the primary, said Howell was outraged by the newspaper's action, which was "trying to imply that Henry's a socialist." Added Howell press secretary Frank Billing: "I felt it's well, unbelievable."
The newspaper carried no explanation for the headlines in yesterday's editions, and Glass refused to say why the newspaper published them. "I'll let you use your judgment," he said in a telephone interview.
No one else at the paper, which has a daily circulation of 20,804, would be made available to comment on the headlines, Glass said. "I'm the publisher, so how in the hell could anyone else tell you?" he snapped.
Steve Fleming, a press spokesman for Miller, who had been endorsed by most of the state's major daily newspapers, said he, too, was flabbergasted by reports of the headline. "I don't know what we can say," he said.