WaPo Offers Not One But Two Puffy Stories on Barney Frank Retirement

The Washington Post responded to yesterday's retirement announcement by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) today with not one but two well-placed positive stories. "Longtime lawmaker brokered critical deals as skilled negotiator," gushed the subheader to Paul Kane's 20-paragraph page A1 article.

"Fearlessly, Frank made his mark," blared the below-the-fold Style section front page article by Robert Kaiser. "Longtime lawmaker was one of the few to display a personality," the subheader approvingly noted.


Kaiser praised and even excused Frank's legendary prickly put-downs of critics, including his own constituents:

...[H]e maintained a healthy, jaundiced view of public opinion, which he knew to be fickle and often superficial. When a reporter asked him a dumb question, he would sometimes say, “That’s a dumb question.” Constituents at town meetings occasionally got similar treatment.

And when people complained to him about politicians, those corrupt, lazy, good-for-nothing bums, Frank had a stock reply: “You know,” he’d say with a twinkle in his eye, “the public is no bargain, either.”

It's difficult to imagine a Republican that dismissive of his constituents being praised for his "unique personal characteristics" or for being "the smartest man in the room, and the funniest."

For his part, Kane praised Frank as "one of the most important lawmakers of his generation, a successful negotiator who has brokered critical deals." Kane noted Frank's fierce partisanship but also hailed his role in shepherding Dodd-Frank through Congress and onto the President Bush's desk for signature.

Kane, like his colleagues in the network media, failed to examine Frank's role with other political players in setting the legal and regulatory groundwork for the housing crisis. The Post staffer briefly addressed a 1990 scandal involving "allegations involving [Frank's] relationship with a male prostitute who worked out of the lawmaker's Capitol Hill townhouse" in the 18th paragraph of his 20-paragraph story.

Both Kane and Kaiser failed to note that Frank also helped his then-lover Herb Moses get a job with Fannie Mae in 1991. Frank has, of course, insisted doing so was neither illegal nor ethically improper.

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