The Washington Post on Thursday continued its quest to defeat Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, bizarrely citing a "non-partisan" group that, in reality, has endorsed Bob McDonnell’s Democratic opponent. The article by Anita Kumar contained this loaded headline: "McDonnell critics question ideology: Some saw agenda in legal opinions."
Kumar quoted Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, a lobbyist for "Equality Virginia, a nonpartisan gay rights group." Yet, the front page of Equality Virginia’s website features a press release entitled, "Equality Virginia PAC Endorses Deeds for Governor." The organization’s website makes a distinction between its political action committee (EVPAC) and its "non-partisan" activities. However, Kumar made no such clarification. How can a group be non-partisan and endorse the Democratic nominee?
Additionally, Kumar referenced Gastanaga as a lobbyist who opposed Virginia’s gay marriage ban and McDonnell’s role in supporting it as attorney general. Kumar quoted Gastanaga: "It would be hard for any reasonable person to believe that McDonnell would have issued an opinion that did not help those who wanted the amendment to pass." The Washington Post journalist failed to explain to her readers that Gastanaga has donated a combined $1520 to the Democratic Party of Virginia and the DNC (in 1993, 1996 and 2007).
Kumar’s article highlighted Democrats who hit the Republican for letting his conservative ideology influence decisions as attorney general. Kumar chided, "His critics frequently accused him of writing opinions or intervening in court cases as a way to advance his conservative agenda."
McDonnell said that only the General Assembly, not the governor, had the right to protect a category of people. But Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and others wondered whether the new attorney general had put ideology above the law.
In his three years as attorney general, McDonnell, the GOP nominee for governor, could not escape questions about the legal advice he provided, no matter how he came down on an issue.
Virginia’s current Democratic Governor Tim Kaine qualifies as a critic? He’s also the head of the Democratic National Committee (a fact that Kumar mentioned towards the end of the article). Another negative critique in the piece came from a liberal Democratic state delegate:
"A smart lawyer can come up with a legal justification for just about anything," said state Del. David L. Englin (D-Alexandria), who often opposed McDonnell. "There is no doubt he used the office to advance his agenda."
In other words, the Post has discovered that Democrats oppose Republicans?
Kumar briefly quoted from the head of the NRA and, at the end of the article, a Republican delegate, but the piece mostly touted left-wing attacks.
The Washington Post has aggressively pursued McDonnell and featured a large number of stories sympathetic to Democrat Creigh Deeds. Another GOP target has been Attorney General candidate Ken Cuccinelli, whom the Post has previously described as "bizarre."
In an article appearing in the same Metro section as the McDonnell piece, staff writer Amy Gardner filed a piece that included this headline on WashingtonPost.com: "Shannon ratchets up efforts to paint Cuccinelli as extremist." (Steve Shannon is the Democratic nominee.)
Gardner played up Cuccinelli’s conservatism and at the same time accepted Shannon’s contention that he’s a moderate:
Cuccinelli -- an ardent foe of abortion and an advocate of gun rights, private property rights, and strict interpretation of the state and federal constitutions -- describes himself as one of the most conservative state senators representing one of the most liberal regions of the state. Shannon calls himself a moderate, business-friendly and pragmatic leader who would keep ideology out of the attorney general's office.
If the Post is wondering why its circulation keeps falling, perhaps the paper should consider limiting the campaigning for Democrats to the editorial section.