To its credit, the Washington Post this morning is reporting an intramural spat roiling inside the Democratic Party in the Old Dominion. Turns out gay rights groups are livid that Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) has nominated Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones to chair the state's Democratic Party. Jones, who happens to be African-American and is a Baptist pastor, "has not endorsed same-sex marriage," the Post's Laura Vozzella noted, even though he has a strong record on other issues of import to the gay-rights movement.
"Activists are working to thwart Jones's election at the party's central committee meeting March 15 -- setting up a highly unusual battle for a sitting governor, whose choice for party chairman is rarely challenged," Vozzella noted in the fourth paragraph of her March 7 front-page story. While the Post deserves kudos for noting the rancorous division within the Democratic ranks, it remains to be seen if MSNBC -- which revels in portraying Republicans as bearing antipathy towards African-Americans -- will dare to cover the story at all.
Democratic racial politics aside, this is also a matter of a new litmus test which is emerging throughout the country in Democratic Party politics, with would-be party leaders being pushed to stifle their moral and religious objections to same-sex marriage, even though they may be wholeheartedly in support of other items in the LGBT agenda. As Vozzella noted, Jones "issued a proclamation to mark the [Richmond's] Transgender Day of Remembrance."
We don't expect that MSNBC, much less any other liberal media outlet, will pay significant attention to this spat, although, quite frankly, they should. There are a few reasons the political press should care:
- This episode is evidence that the Democratic Party, just as much if not more so than the GOP, has pretty heated disagreements within itself when coalition constituencies come into conflict
- This matter is evidence of how the approval of the gay rights agenda within the Democratic Party poses an existential threat to the political futures of loyal Democrats who dare to transgress the emerging litmus test over "marriage equality"
- This episode shows the internal divisions within the Democratic Party of Virginia which Gov. McAuliffe will have to bridge during his tenure, particularly if he wants to prove a reliable surrogate for the Democratic presidential nominee in the crucial swing state in 2016
- The liberal media love to hype "victim" narratives and many of them are scripted with gays or blacks as the victim of conservatism. Here is a case which doesn't neatly fall into that pattern
Political journalists always insist that they do have a bias, but that it's a bias for conflict or controversy. particularly if it involves an underlying debate roiling in the arena of public opinion.
A bias for conflict demands significant media attention to the Jones nomination controversy, but the liberal newsroom's rooting interest for the fortunes of the Democratic Party demands adherence to a overarching midterm election narrative which exclusively focuses on real and imagined Republican divides. Expect partisan and ideological loyalties to win over the journalistic thirst for a good story.