When is a Democrat a "conservative?" When he's featured in a scandal story about adultery and murder.The Washington Post is downplaying the party affiliation of disgraced former Democratic Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.), identifying him as a generic "congressman" or as a "conservative." The coy treatment is in marked contrast to the paper's frequent references to the GOP affiliation of Sen. Larry Craig and other disgraced Republicans.In the first four installments of a 12-part series on the unsolved 2001 murder of D.C. intern Chandra Levy, the Post mentions the party affiliation of her boyfriend Condit only once. In three of the four articles, Condit is merely a "congressman." In fact, in the third installment, "A Private Matter," which ran July 15, Condit is described only as "a conservative congressman from a right-leaning agricultural district." The series was written by Post staff writers Sara Horwitz, Scott Higham and Sylvia Moreno.The first installment, "A Young Woman Disappears," introduces Condit as a "handsome, married congressman." The second installment, "The Gentleman from California," identifies Condit as a leader of "conservative-leaning" Blue Dog Democrats in the House. But Condit was no conservative, receiving only a 44 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union and a 50 percent rating in 2000 from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action. The Post's failure to consistently identify Condit's party and to promote the idea that he was a "conservative" fits the liberal media's mold of painting conservatives as moral hypocrites, since Condit was married when having an affair with Levy. He was also one of the few Democrats who publicly criticized Bill Clinton over Clinton's affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. But on key social issues he usually voted with the liberal bloc. In a 2001 Media Reality Check, "Networks Failed to Label California Congressman as a Democrat in 92% of Levy Stories," the MRC exposed how the media often covered up Condit's party affiliation. In 2003, Bruce Walker posted this comment on FreeRepublic:
Condit voted right every time according to the ACLU and almost every time according to the Children's Defense Fund, NARAL, Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign (no, not tortured prisoners in Iran, Cuba or North Korea, but affluent gay and lesbians in America). The National Right to Life Committee found Condit on its side only fifteen percent of the time.
In the fourth Post installment on July 16, "A Family's Anguish," Condit's party affiliation is missing again, and he is referred to only as Levy's "hometown Congressman." Condit lost his primary reelection bid in March 2002 after becoming notorious for having the affair with Levy, and subsequently becoming a suspect in her murder, which remains unsolved.