Weekly Standard Mocks WaPo Crusade Against Bob McDonnell

The Weekly Standard’s September 14 issue parodied the Washington Post for its biased, obsessive coverage of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, wryly featuring a mock headline that read: "Post Runs Another Story About Its McDonnell Story: Stories to run until ‘controversy’ takes on life of its own, sources say." [Emphasis added]

The Washington Post has published 12 pieces in 11 days highlighting a 1989 Regent University thesis by the Republican about the traditional family structure. The spot-on Weekly Standard parody spoofed, "Three days after publishing a story in hopes of generating a controversy over a master’s thesis written 20 years ago by GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell, The Washington Post will publish another story today about the reaction to its original story, the Washington Post has learned."

That parody is rather similar to actual Post coverage. On September 1, 2009, two days after first focusing on the story, the paper featured a front page story with this headline: "Governor's Race Erupts Over McDonnell's Past Views." The eruption consisted, more or less, of the Deeds campaign pouncing on the campaign gift.

Reporters Amy Gardner, Rosalind S. Helderman and Anita Kumar breathlessly announced:

The Virginia governor's race ignited Monday over Republican Robert F. McDonnell's 20-year-old graduate thesis: Democrats assailed him in e-mail blasts and interviews for what he wrote about working women, homosexuals and "fornicators," and McDonnell tried to explain his views to crucial moderate and female voters.

The Weekly Standard satire dryly observed:

One headline, for example, said the race "erupted" 48 hours after the first article appeared. The text of the article, by contrast, said the race "ignited." Virginia voters were quick to point out that the race had done neither.

"Did the copy desk mix metaphors in describing something that wasn’t happening? Yes," said one source close to the paper. "Is that a risk that a fearless newsgathering organization is willing to run if it’s going to take down a candidate that none of its employees would vote for? You bet it is."

Read the entire Weekly Standard parody here.

Read past NewsBusters coverage of the Washington Post’s fixation with McDonnell here.

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