WaPo Uses Don Fowler to Slam Joe Wilson, Omits His Inappropriate 2008 Hurricane Joke

Noting how the Palmetto State "has a history of rowdy politics" and that Rep. Joe Wilson (R) has made himself  "the latest in a legendary line of South Carolina politicians who appeared to revel in renegade behavior,"  the Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Ann Gerhart turned to South Carolina Democratic operatives Don and Carol Fowler to smear Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) in their September 11 front-pager entitled "The Gentlemen From South Carolina."

Rucker and Gerhart turned to the husband-wife couple -- he was a Clinton era DNC chairman and she is the current South Carolina state Democratic chairwoman -- to practically tag-team in slamming Wilson. Rucker and Gerhart also acknowledged some Palmetto Democrats' brushes with political infamy before cuing up Don Fowler to quip that he thinks "it is something in the water."

Yet nowhere in their story did Rucker and Gerhart note Don Fowler's gaffe from August 2008, when, on a flight from the Democratic Convention, he made an inappropriate joke involving hurricane victims in New Orleans (video embedded above at right):

The hurricane’s going to hit New Orleans about the time they start. [Chuckle] The timing is — at least it appears now that it’ll be there Monday. That just demonstrates God’s on our side. [Laughter] Everything’s cool.

The Republicans, you may recall, did cancel the first day of the 2008 convention. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) urged delegates at the convention to put their energies into raising money to aid Hurricane Gustav victims.

What's more, the Rucker/Gerhart piece's front-page placement knocked back to page A11 a substantive story about how Rep. Wilson's concerns about ObamaCare covering illegal immigrants has some validity (emphasis mine):

Republican  Rep. Joe Wilson's shout of "You lie!" during President Obama's speech Wednesday night brought renewed attention to swirling questions about whether Democratic health-care legislation would extend coverage to illegal immigrants. Although the answer is more complicated than reform proponents acknowledge, it also does not square with the dark warnings of opponents who say the proposals would bring waves of undocumented immigrants into taxpayer-funded plans.

To counter claims that universal health care would cover illegal immigrants, Democrats and independent arbiters have pointed to language in the House legislation that says the federal subsidies, or "affordability credits," that would be the main avenue to expanding coverage would not be available to illegal immigrants.

This language does not assuage the bill's critics, who say the proposals lack the verification tools needed to assure that illegal immigrants do not gain coverage either through federal credits or expanded Medicaid eligibility for the poorest of the uninsured.

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