WaPo Ratchets Up Attacks on Republican Bob McDonnell; Six Articles in Four Days

The Washington Post on Wednesday increased its frenzied attack on Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, featuring two stories in the paper’s Metro section, an op-ed and a cartoon. Including opinion pieces, the Post has delivered six articles in four days on the Republican's 1989 master’s thesis about families and government policy.

In an article with the loaded title "McDonnell Tries to Salvage Women’s Votes," Rosalind S. Helderman and Sandhya Somashekhar described how the candidate is trying to "help rebuild his relationship with the key voting bloc, damaged in recent days by the publication of his 1989 master's thesis." Helderman and Somashekhar highlighted that McDonnell "wrote in the thesis that working women and feminists had been ‘detrimental’ to the traditional family and criticized federal tax credits for child care because they made it easier for women to be employed outside the home."

Making sure to tout supposed growing outrage over the thesis, the Post reporters featured this liberal protestor:

Countering McDonnell's efforts are those of women such as Arlington County resident Marjorie Signer, who serves as president of the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for Women. Signer said she read about McDonnell's thesis in the Washington Post at 11 a.m. Sunday and immediately left home to picket a Women for McDonnell rally at Lake Burke Park in Fairfax.

Signer stood on the side of the road with a sign that read "Women Deserve Better than Bob."

So, the Washington Post is proud of the fact that a member of a left-wing organization read an article in its pages and was motivated to go protest a Republican? Signer, in addition to being part of the NOW, also donated $250 to the Democratic Party of Virginia in 2009 and another $250 to Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic primaries.

A second article on Wednesday, by Amy Gardner and Anita Kumar, rehashed the same points and piled on: "Republican Robert F. McDonnell's 20-year-old master's thesis continued to consume the Virginia governor's race Tuesday, with Democrat R. Creigh Deeds presenting the paper as his opponent's true beliefs and McDonnell insisting otherwise."

If that wasn’t enough, the extremely liberal Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles made the candidate the subject of his ire on Wednesday. A goofy-looking McDonnell can be seen sitting in a classroom while a teacher tells him,"You gave all the wrong answers." McDonnell's reply: "I fully and forecefully repudiate those answers." This is referred to in Toles’ caption as "The Bob McDonnell Defense."

The Post first highlighted McDonnell’s paper for Regent University on Sunday. The thesis, written 20 years ago, showed a "A Different Side of McDonnell," according to the headline above the piece by Ms. Gardner. In addition to pointing out that the then-student believed "government policy should favor married couples over ‘cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators,’" the reporter made sure to note:

During his 14 years in the General Assembly, McDonnell pursued at least 10 of the policy goals he laid out in that research paper, including abortion restrictions, covenant marriage, school vouchers and tax policies to favor his view of the traditional family. In 2001, he voted against a resolution in support of ending wage discrimination between men and women.

Two days later, on Tuesday, Gardner, Helderman and Kumar, in a self-fulfilling prophecy wrote about how the "Virginia governor's race ignited Monday over Republican Robert F. McDonnell's 20-year-old graduate thesis."

On Wednesday, Washington Post editorial writer Ruth Marcus slammed McDonnell:

On that score, it seems just as likely that McDonnell's supposed restraint stems from pragmatic acceptance of political reality as from a marked change in views. There's every reason to think that McDonnell would govern as conservatively as the current politics of the state would allow. His professions of relative disinterest in social issues are unconvincing.

As for his efforts to dismiss the thesis as the idle musings of a callow youth: Those are simply insulting to the voters of Virginia.

In an editorial attacking McDonnell on Tuesday, the Post complained, "Virginians deserve specific answers about where the thinking of his early middle age has shifted, and where it remains consistent."

As National Review Online pointed out, this demand for answers came a day after McDonnell spent 90 minutes on a conference call doing just that.

Of course, this is the same Washington Post that endlessly pounded Senator George Allen in 2006 for Macaca-Gate. It seems as though the journalists and editors at the paper are attempting a sequel.

For more, see Noel Sheppard’s post on the subject

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org