WaPo Touts Waxman, Pelosi, and Boxer as Pragmatists Who'll Reawaken 'Sleeping Beauty' of Regulation

Monday’s Washington Post touted on page A3 how "Californians Shape Up as Force on Environmental Policy," over three large pictures of liberals Henry Waxman, Nancy Pelosi, and Barbara Boxer. Something amazing followed: the word "liberal" is never used in the piece to describe them. (Pelosi merely is pressed to "find common ground between conservative and liberal Democrats.") Reporter Lyndsey Layton’s feat began in paragraph one:

California Democrats will assume pivotal roles in the new Congress and White House, giving the state an outsize influence over federal policy and increasing the likelihood that its culture of activist regulation will be imported to Washington.

Despite the Post’s welcoming of a "culture of activist regulation," Layton actually attempted to dismiss the idea that Waxman/Pelosi/Boxer will be in ideological lockstep:

One longtime Capitol Hill observer cautioned that although these Californians are in key positions to shape federal policy, they don't necessarily share a single California philosophy. [!] Still, they have been shaped by experience in a state that has led the nation in regulatory policy.

Layton also found a liberal political scientist to suggest moderation will follow:

Barbara Sinclair, a political scientist at the University of California at Los Angeles, said the Californians are pragmatic and mindful of overreaching. "All these folks really want to make policy change," she said. "On the other hand, they very, very much want to stay in power."

To complete this act of journalistic servility to the California liberals, Layton quoted from a telephone interview with Senator Boxer, but the sophisticated reader would wonder why the Post would need a phone interview to solicit the press-release quotes that were offered: "California has always valued protecting the environment and health and safety of our people," Boxer said in a telephone interview. "The people from California who are coming here to work on this and Congressman Waxman and myself, we are very strong on this." And: "Californians coming, they don't have to rewrite the laws. They just have to enforce them. It's like the EPA has been asleep for eight years. The Californians are coming to wake the sleeping beauty." Only liberals would see an entrenched regulatory agency as a "sleeping beauty."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis