Baltimore Sun Smears Conservative Bloggers Over SCHIP Scrutiny

On September 29, 2007, Baltimore 12-year old Graeme Frost became the Democratic poster child, literally, for SCHIP. Frost read the Democratic Party's official response to the president's weekly radio address, attacking President Bush for his veto of a Democratic-sponsored bill to balloon federal spending on the 10-year old program. The Baltimore Sun ran a story that morning noting young Graeme Frost's brush with political football history, and two days earlier ran a gauzy profile on Graeme's mom and dad and their push for the Democratic SCHIP expansion here. But now that conservative bloggers have been raising questions about the portrayal by Democrats and the Baltimore Sun of the family's financial plight, the Sun is hitting back by attacking conservatives bloggers as heartless and obsessive, Michelle Malkin noted on her blog. Not long after Graeme Frost had his 15 minutes of fame, some things about the Frost family's story struck conservative bloggers as a bit fishy. For instance, Graeme's mother works, as the Sun reported September 27, "full time for a medical publishing firm," yet she didn't have medical insurance through work? If that's not a recipe for the Sun to do a hit job on the employer, I don't know what is. Of course, the target in question wasn't private business, it was the Bush administration, and even the Sun's Lynn Anderson noted that Halsey and Bonnie Frost, Graeme's parents, are advocates for a "national health care plan that would cover everyone, no matter the age or income bracket." Other bloggers, such as NRO's Mark Steyn, found it odd that two of the Frost children, Graeme included, attend a costly private school, even though the Frosts told the Sun that they bring in only $45,000-a-year. Clearly there was more to the family's story than the Baltimore Sun was willing to look into.Yet following blogger inquiries and the subsequent liberal blog outlash, the Sun is sharpening its knives for conservative bloggers who dared to question the Frost photo-op, complained Michelle Malkin in an update to her October 9 post, "Democrat poster-child abuse, the nutroots’ pushback, and the continued campaign to silence the Right" (emphasis mine):

Update 11:50am Eastern 10/10. Here’s the Baltimore Sun’s nutroots-approved follow-up piece on the Frost family, using a single, rotten comment by a stupid RedState commenter to tar all conservative bloggers as hatemongers. Interestingly, the Sun asked the Frost parents to verify their claimed income and the couple declined. Also, the Sun reported that all four of the children attend private schools, not just two. The paper is silent on when the family started receiving claimed tuition breaks and how much the family spent on private-school tuition each year prior to the accident–i.e., at a time when they chose not to buy private health insurance. The Frosts tell the Sun they put their children in the public arena to support S-CHIP. But Harry Reid didn’t exploit the children and the family merely to argue for supporting the existing federal program. Their agenda is massive, middle-class entitlement expansion under the guise of helping working poor children. Keep your eyes on the Democrat ball.Reader Rob asks: “Why is it when the Baltimore Sun takes photos of the house they are reporters, but when you simply drive by you are a stalker? Why is it when the New York Times calls the home, it’s “for an interview” but when a blog does it for the same reason, it’s harassment?”Answer: It’s ferocious turf protection, plain and simple.

USA Today reported in its October 10 paper that Graeme is a scholarship student and his sister Gemma's tuition at the Park School iscovered by a state education program. Of course, these are two facts might have been noted in initial coverage by the Sun had it been more diligent and skeptical and less interested in promoting liberal Democratic talking points.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters