WashPost's Henderson, Rucker Pass Off Political Activist As Mere Elderly Anti-Romney 'Protester'

In a May 25 front-page story headlined "Romney's outreach meets hostile reception," Washington Post staff writers Nia-Malika Henderson and Philip Rucker passed off a political activist by the name of Madaline G. Dunn as simply being a 78-year-old "protester" who has lived in West Philadelphia for 50 years and was "personally offended" by the fact that "Romney would visit her neighborhood."

"It's not appreciated here.... It's absolutely denigrating for him to come in here and speak his garbage," Henderson and Rucker quoted Dunn. Yet what the Post staff writers left out is that Dunn is no otherwise-apolitical resident who happened to be on hand to react to Romney's campaign swing. She's a seasoned political activist, having served as the legislative committee chair for the Philadelphia Congress of the National Congress of Black Women (PCNCBW).


While technically nonpartisan as a 501(c)3 organization, the website for the PCNCBW has plenty of evidence to show the group is liberal. In a December 8, 2008 post it noted that its parent organization "was recently chosen by some of the country's top progressive experts as leaders in the Practical Progressive Movement."

What's more, there are blog posts related to pro-Obama events in the past few years. For example, the PCNCBW held an Obama inaugural "covered dish" potluck in January 2009. The month before that, the organization urged supporters to "[j]oin us as we give Change wings" by attending a December 29 meeting centered on how to help President Obama push his ObamaCare plan [emphases mine]:

Join the Philadelphia Congress of the National Congress of Black Women for one of the most important times in history: beginning the process to help the Obama administration, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), designate for Health and Human Services (HHS) and head of President-elect Barack Obama's health transition team facilitate a nationwide campaign to gather public input on improving the U.S. health care system with "bottom-up healthcare reform" by discussing concerns and input for fixing the healthcare system. Through this discussion, we will move meaningful comprehensive reform through the White House and improve the system. For more information contact us via email: info[at]philacongressncbw.org or call our Healthcare Committee Chair, Judy Harris, (267) 2**-**** or Ms. Madaline Dunn, Legislative Committee Chair, (215) 4**-****. Join us as we give Change wings. [phone numbers omitted by NewsBusters]

NewsBusters called the Madaline Dunn listed in that blog post and asked if she was in fact the Madaline G. Dunn quoted in the May 25 post and whether she was still affiliated with the the PCNCBW. Her answer to both questions was affirmative.

Of course, even if Henderson and Rucker were completely unaware that Dunn is a seasoned activist, there's no excuse for them not explicitly noting that Mayor Michael Nutter (D), and District Attorney Seth Williams -- along with others among "Philadelphia's most prominent officials" also on scene to protest -- were acting in their capacities as Obama campaign surrogates.

Indeed, Nutter and Williams are members of Obama's so-called Truth Team (h/t Gateway Pundit), noted Elyse Clonan of PoliticsPa.com in a February 16 post:

President Barack Obama’s campaign announced Thursday the formation of the Pennsylvania Truth Team, part of a nationwide grassroots initiative to ensure that “the truth about what the President has done is kept accurate” according to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

Obama for America-Pennsylvania held a conference call Thursday afternoon to announce the initiative. Mayor Nutter was joined on the call by Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald. Pa. Rep. Babette Josephs has also announced support for the Truth Team.

The Truth Team has been described as “a new national effort…to promote the President’s achievements, respond to attacks on his record and hold the eventual Republican nominee accountable.”

[...]

Here’s a list of the entire Pa. Truth Team:

Cindy Bass, Philadelphia City Councilwoman
John Blake, State Senator, District 22
Kim Bracey, Mayor of York
Bob Brady, United State Representative, District 1
Blondell Reynolds Brown, Philadelphia City Councilwoman
Jim Burn, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party
Alan Butkovitz, Philadelphia City Controller
John Callahan, Mayor of Bethlehem
Jay Costa, State Senator, District 43
Mike Doyle, United States Representative, District 14
Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive
Elizabeth Goreham, Mayor of State College
Richard Gray, Mayor of Lancaster
Bill Greenlee, Philadelphia City Councilman
Barry Grossman, Erie County Executive
Vincent Hughes, State Senator, District 7
Babette Josephs, State Representative, District 182
Michael Lamb, Pittsburgh City Controller
Daylin Leach, State Senator, District 17
Kevin Murphy, State Representative, District 113
Michael Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia
Corey O’Brien, Lackawanna County Commissioner
Roxanne Pauline, Coordinator of the Northeast Pennsylvania Area Labor Federation
Ed Pawlowski, Mayor of Allentown
Allyson Schwartz, United States Representative, District 13
Josh Shapiro, Montgomery County Commissioner
Jack Shea, President of the Allegheny County Labor Council
Joe Sinnott, Mayor of Erie
Vaughn Spencer, Mayor of Reading
Linda Thompson, Mayor of Harrisburg
Jack Wagner, Auditor General
Michael Washo, Former Lackawanna County Commissioner
Anthony Williams, State Senator, District 8
Jewell Williams, Sheriff of Philadelphia
Seth Williams, Philadelphia District Attorney

On a closing note, it's difficult to imagine the media highlighting a white conservative 78-year-old Tea Party member from West Virginia or Texas bashing President Obama for simply visiting her hometown to "speak his garbage" without the requisite amount of hand-wringing and/or condemnation of her rhetoric, something that was notably absent from Henderson and Rucker's article.

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