Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review both have Donald Trump’s ear

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s publisher and editor-in-chief met with Donald Trump on Wednesday, a week after Tribune-Review editors and reporters sat down with Donald Jr.

Michael Vadon/Wikimedia
MJ Slaby

Updated Sept. 23 

Pittsburgh’s daily newspapers are getting plenty of Donald Trump face time.

The publisher and editor-in-chief of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette met with Donald Trump on his plane in Toledo, Ohio on Wednesday, a week after Tribune-Review editors and reporters sat down with one of the Republican presidential candidate’s sons.

The Incline sought comment on presidential endorsements from both the Post-Gazette and the Tribune-Review today.

“I appreciate your questions and your interest, but there’s really nothing to say. Our internal conversations about editorials are just that. We let our editorials speak for themselves when they emerge,” Post-Gazette Editorial Page Editor John Allison wrote in an email to The Incline.

The editor of the Tribune-Review’s Pittsburgh edition, Luis Fábregas, said Friday that the paper has not yet made a decision on an endorsement of a presidential candidate.

The Toledo Blade, which along with the PG is owned by Block Communications, Inc., disclosed the Trump meeting in a news story about Trump’s Wednesday visit to Toledo.

After the campaign rally, Mr. Trump met with Blade Publisher and Editor-in-Chief John Robinson Block and Blade Editorial Page Editor Keith Burris on his plane at Toledo Express Airport.

During primary endorsement season, The Incline’s sibling site, Billy Penn, reported that the Post-Gazette was considering a nod to TrumpThe paper did not endorse presidential candidates at that time — a move, Billy Penn later learned, that was directly related to the outcry in its newsroom over the Trump rumor reporting — and noted in its endorsement:

Although much of the focus of Tuesday’s primary is on the presidential races, Republicans and Democrats have other key nominations to make. So the message to Pennsylvanians is clear — if you’re registered, make plans to vote.

The Post-Gazette endorsed Barack Obama in 2012 and 2008.

According to Federal Election Commission records, John Block, whose profession was listed as “editor,” donated $500 in 2008 to Obama for America. In 2013, Block (this time, as a “journalist”) donated $1,000 to the Senate campaign of Republican Mead Treadwell of Alaska.

Since 2000, BCI’s Chairman Allan Block (John’s twin) has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates, the National Republican Congressional Committee and Republican National Committee. That included $2,700 to John Kasich in March 2016, $2,500 to Mitt Romney in 2011 and 2012 and thousands of dollars to John McCain’s campaign in 2008. He’s also financially backed two Democrats — Marcy Kaptur, in Ohio, and Ed Markey, in Massachusetts.

The Tribune-Review tapped Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008. (The Trib endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary, and Bill Clinton eulogized Tribune-Review owner Richard Mellon Scaife, when he died in 2014.)

Billionaire Scaife was known for spending hundreds of millions of dollars to “counteract what he called ‘the liberal slant to American society,’ ” The Washington Post wrote after his death.

Donald Trump, Jr., met with the Tribune-Review last week, Trib reporter Tom Fontaine wrote.

According to FiveThirtyEight’s polls-only forecast, Clinton is leading with 58.8 percent to Trump’s 41.2 percent. In the two other models that FiveThirtyEight uses, Clinton also has the lead.

Trump spoke in Pittsburgh today at the Shale Insight conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and attended a fundraiser at the Duquesne Club. Protesters assembled at both locations, blocking roadways Downtown. One person was arrested for entering the Duquesne Club. (More on that here.)

Sarah Anne Hughes and Lexi Belculfine, a former Post-Gazette reporter, contributed to this story.

This story was updated at 6:48 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23 to include a comment from Luis Fábregas.