WaPo Highlights 'House GOP Surrenders' on Page One, 'Christmas Gift' for Obama

Friday's Washington Post was rubbing the payroll-tax compromise in the face of Republican activists. "House GOP surrenders on payroll tax cut" was the headline (with a subhead about pressure that "grew on all sides"). Reporter Rosalind Helderman began with the onus on the House: "Facing withering criticism from across the political spectrum and abandoned by Senate allies, House Republicans bowed to political reality Thursday" to the two-month compromise.

"The agreement represented a remarkable capitulation on the part of House Republicans," Helderman continued, "And it amounts to a Christmas gift for President Obama." The Post did not point out today that it spent the last two days on the front page warning the Republicans should bend to "reality" or face a "risky" future:

On Wednesday, the story on the top-right of the front page warned "House rejection of deal carries risks for GOP". On Thursday, the top-right front-page headline was "Pressure grows on House GOP: Tax standoff could hurt party." Reporter Paul Kane placed on the front-page some quotes of pressure to compromise from Newt Gingrich and the Wall Street Journal editorial page.

The Post and its ombudsman Patrick Pexton should surely see that the headlines over the last several days suggested "Bend to us or you could hurt your party," and then when Republicans bend, it's more gloating, with "House GOP surrenders" (to The Washington Post). The phrase "damned if you do, damned if you don't" easily comes to mind from a paper that's transparently partisan at the top of the front page.

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