WashPost Hails Patty Murray as Gaffe Beneficiary; Forgets Her 2002 Whopper Praising Osama bin Laden

Saturday’s Washington Post devoted the left-hand corner of the front page to hailing liberal Sen. Patty Murray, the new chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. “In a Congress of hot tempers and sharp tongues, Murray doesn’t favor over-the-top rhetoric,” oozed Post reporter Rosalind Helderman. Sen. Harry Reid added: “Everyone takes Senator Murray seriously because she does not bluster.”

She doesn’t? While the Post noted Murray had the “luck” of "intemperate" Republican gaffes on abortion and rape in the last election cycle, nobody in the media wants to remember Murray’s 2002 whopper praising that humanitarian Osama bin Laden:

As Brent Bozell reported at the time, in a casual chat with honor students at a Vancouver, Washington high school on December 18, 2002,  when this Democrat unleashed a series of real whoppers about Osama bin Laden. "Why are people so supportive of him in many countries?" she asked. "He has been in many countries that are riddled with poverty...He's been out in these countries for decades building roads, building schools, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful."

Murray added: "We have not done that. We haven't been out in many of these countries helping them build infrastructure. How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that, rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?"

The "luck" of liberal bias was in Murray's favor, then too: ABC, CBS, and NBC had nothing to say on Murray's remarks, nothing at all. It popped up on NPR and CNN chat shows when GOP politicians brought it up, but hosts let it die.

There was nothing in the news pages of The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, or USA Today. They could devote their covers to Trent Lott, but Time and Newsweek had no room anywhere for a mention of the Murray gaffe. Ditto for the print edition of  U.S. News and World Report.

The only liberal media outlet that noticed was The Washington Post, with a couple of paragraphs in a political roundup on Sunday, December 22. Then on Christmas Day, the Post's editorial page mustered a remarkably lame defense, headlined "Inept but Entitled to Her Say." The Posties called the reaction to Murray "the massive overreaction to perfectly useful ideas that have been badly stated or misinterpreted." Despite admitting Murray's facts were "very wrong," they claimed "it ought to be possible to discuss America's image in the Islamic world, and the kinds of mistakes the United States has made there."

In Saturday's article, Helderman reported Murray is both "reasonable" and yet also newly hailed by liberal groups for her advocacy of going over the fiscal cliff:

In a chamber of big egos, Murray’s success at achieving what had been thought impossible has given her new leverage with her Senate colleagues, who are especially grateful that no Democratic incumbent lost.

Now, Murray is using that influence to argue that Democrats should not forget the tactical advantage they could gain in January, after the deadline for the fiscal cliff has passed.

Starting with a speech at the Brookings Institution in July and continuing in a series of interviews last week, Murray, in her typically non-bombastic fashion, has argued that Democrats shouldn’t take a bad deal in December when their political leverage will only increase in the new year....

“She’s low-key but very focused and very forceful,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), whose defeat was widely predicted but who won reelection in November after her Republican opponent claimed that pregnancy rarely results from rape. “If you know Patty and you work with her, you’d be a fool to underestimate her.”

You would be a fool to underestimate how much hot wind that liberal newspapers will blow behind a liberal Democrat like Murray, whose gaffes are rarely acknowledged and never remembered.
 

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