WashPost Juxtaposes Anti-Republican and Pro-Democratic Candidate Headlines

Friday's Washington Post provided quite a juxtaposition of biased headlines, stressing how many dislike the Republican gubernatorial candidate while the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor is emphasizing positive issues, over two stories about November's Virginia elections which the paper placed on the front page of the “Metro” section. “Kilgore's Record May Polarize Voters in Va.” declared the headline about Republican Jerry Kilgore which ran across the top of the “Metro” section in the Virginia edition of the newspaper. At the bottom of the same page, readers saw this headline over a look at liberal Democrat Leslie Byrne: “'Kitchen Table' Issues at Heart of Byrne's Lt. Gov. Campaign.” The Post's online posting, which located the article on page B-5, instead of B-1 where it appeared in the hard copy of the Virginia edition, carried this slightly different headline, “'Kitchen Table' Issues Are Byrne's Focus,” followed by this unctuous sub-head: “Lt. Governor Candidate's Pitch: Help for Head Start, Small-Business Health Insurance.” The lead to that article follows. Reporter Leslie Rein opened her story (online and printed versions the same) about Byrne with this inspiring anecdote, “Leslie L. Byrne likes to warm up a crowd with a story of a group of Brownies visiting her office in the House of Representatives on a tour of the U.S. Capitol: As Byrne wrapped up her explanation on the basics of federal government, one 7-year-old raised her hand. 'She asked if boys can be in Congress, too!' says Byrne, the first woman elected to Congress from Virginia.”Byrne only served for one term in Congress, replaced by Republican Tom Davis.Though the headlines delivered a distinct slant, the actual stories were fairly balanced with room for both proponents and detractors.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center