WaPo Finds 'Never More Than Three' Protesters at a Democrat's House in Ohio Is Big News

Monday's Washington Post continues the "ugly" health-care protest theme by somehow making a national story out of a protest "which never included more than three people at a time" outside the home of freshman Rep. Steve Driehaus in west Cincinnati. That's on A-3.

The Post said the poor Democrat found "angry protesters wouldn't allow him a full escape from the raw and vitriolic discussions that have embroiled the health-care debate for more than a year."

In the Metro section, the Post took days to acknowledge that the GOP headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia discovered two bricks thrown through its "very thick" double-pane glass windows on Friday morning. That's in the bottom left-hand corner of B-6.

It looks as if the Post waited for police statements before publishing. "County police confirmed that windows were broken. They said Sunday night that no arrests had been made."

Martin Weil's story ended with the nothing-here note that police in Richmond concluded that the bullet that hit Rep. Eric Cantor's office had been fired randomly into the air and landed in his office on its way down.

The Post can't seem to send a reporter to Charlottesville, a couple of hours away. But they can send a reporter to Cincinnati -- if the political message is right.

Black Post reporter Krissah Thompson emphasized the pale-old-male protesters in Ohio:

The west Cincinnati neighborhood is predominantly Republican, and Driehaus did not win his precinct when elected two years ago, said his brother-in-law Zeek Childers, who lives a half-mile down the road. Strong support from the more urban part of the congressional district gave him the edge. "It's bad down here," Childers said. "This area of Steve's district is much more conservative. The black community loves him. Labor loves him. The old white guys hate him. You got that out here."

The protesters were mostly conservative white men, and the idea to head to Driehaus's residence was pushed by James Schifrin, 71, the publisher of the Whistleblower, a gossipy conservative newsletter. Schifrin declined to give interviews, but for several days he prodded his readers to rally -- printing the congressman's home address (complete with a map, photo and suggestions for parking and takeout dining).

When a Democratic Party headquarters gets bricks through the windows, it's much more outrageous:

The only documented violence in Cincinnati last week came Monday morning, when Caleb Faux, executive director of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, found that a rock had broken the double-paned front window of the party's office after the health-care vote the night before. "This is bullying, and the best way to deal with a bully is to stand up to them," said Faux, who posted a picture of the cracked window on the party's Web site.

The local GOP leader in Charlottesville was quoted in the Post as just saying "Wow....somebody was very angry."

Thompson's story focused heavily on the rudeness of the freshman Democrat's critics, on how Driehaus and his family can't enjoy his children's spring break, and the children have been told not to answer the home phone because of abusive callers. The protesters were described this way:

Sunday's gathering, which never included more than three people at a time, was anchored by Jim Berns, a libertarian who has run for Driehaus's seat three times and for the state legislature 10 times.

Protesting outside a residence is usually a political loser, presented as "threatening" and "personal," as Thompson quoted Driehaus calling it. Even the local Tea Party leader told the Post it was "completely inappropriate." It's clearly a strategy to attract negative attention, which the Post provided.

It's easy to guess that this is not the way the Post would see it if a boomlet of press people posted themselves on the lawn of a political figure.

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