WashPost's War on Women: Congressman Moran's Son's Brutal Assault on Girlfriend Buried Deep in Paper

Patrick Moran – the same embarrassing son of liberal Democrat Congressman Jim Moran who drew some national attention in October for being caught on camera by Project Veritas encouraging voter registration fraud – has now brutalized his girlfriend in an alcoholic rage.

A police officer saw “Moran grab a woman by the back of her head and slam it into a trash can about 1:23 a.m. in front of the Getaway nightclub in Columbia Heights.” Moran was initially charged with felony assault. Girlfriend Kelly Hofmann was found bleeding “heavily” from her nose, according to court records, and her nose and right eye were “extremely” swollen. Guess where the Washington Post placed this “war on women” story?

They buried it on the bottom of page B-4 – apparently because a lot of other news should come B-4 it. (Sorry.) It was at the bottom of “The Federal Worker” page, which carried a scintillating column headlined “Morale is sinking at Federal Maritime Commission.” It just begged you to turn the page before you glanced down to the bottom.

If this were a Republican congressman's son, it might be on Page One of the Post today. Their local front-pagers were defensible: the death of local media magnate Joe Albritton (who owned Politico and the local ABC affiliate), and the Post's investigation of how the tax office in the D.C. government cut commercial property assessments, depriving the local government of $2.6 billion in tax revenues. (Their is no liberal scandal like rich property owners getting a tax break.)

But what was on the front page of the Metro section on Thursday? “Arrest in deadly Va. home invasion,” that’s appropriate. But the big story with a picture was “Sprawling deployment for inauguration,” as Frederick Kunkle explained the military planning for Obama’s second parade....39 days from now.

Then there was this snoozer: “One of GWU’s deans is retiring,” because George Washington University was pulled from the U.S. News college rankings due to an error in admissions data.

The other story with a picture was on how “Relying on trust lowers stress at Washington and Lee,” on how students can take their midterms on their own schedule with no suspicion of cheating. This college is in Lexington, Virginia – a three-hour drive from the Post newsroom. How is this a front-page “Metro” story? 

That’s easy. This is how the Post protects Jim Moran.

The 477-word story
by Keith L. Alexander and Ben Pershing, "Congressman's son pleads guilty to assaulting girlfriend,"  calmly relayed the outrageous claim that this beating was an “accident,” letting the girlfriend claim against the witnesses that she fell into the trash can, like many brutalized women blame themselves:

The two had argued inside the club after Moran spoke with another woman, according to court documents.

A e-mailed statement from Kelly Hofmann, Moran’s girlfriend, that was circulated by his father’s office after the plea had been entered called the incident one that “has been blown out of proportion” and said she was hurt when one of her high heels gave out and she fell into a trash can.

Another statement released by a spokesman for the congressman (D-Va.) also called the incident an “accident.”

Moran’s court-appointed attorney, Gretchen Franklin, said that the couple was still together and that prosecutors declined to dismiss the case even though Hofmann wanted them to.

By all accounts, alcohol played a factor in the incident. Franklin said Moran and Hofmann had been drinking; the statement from James Moran’s office also said the incident “involved drinking.”

On October 4, 2004, the Post let one expert explain the pattern how Moran, a former mayor of Alexandria, Virginia (where the MRC is presently based), keeps getting re-elected:

"It's usually the same story every year. Here is this ethically challenged guy who has got all this baggage. Every candidate runs a campaign against him on that basis, and Moran wins," said Mark J. Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University. "The reality is, it's a heavily Democratic-drawn district.”

There's that – and The Washington Post is a heavily “Democratic-drawn” newspaper. It can put a tiny “Million Puppet March” for PBS on the front page of the Style section, but Jim Moran can have his office put out flagrant lies about his son’s violence being an “accident,” and they just report them without comment in a buried story.

UPDATE: The Washington Post's free "Express" tabloid (which commuters often read on the subway or bus) carries NO mention of Patrick Moran today. Their cover story is on violence on the Metrobus system. Its Local page (p. 12) leads with "Mara Enters D.C. Council Race," then has a short story on Allbritton's death. Its only Virginia brief is "Va. Among Top Volunteer States for Peace Corps."

You can contact Washington Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton about this story's location (or lack of it) at ombudsman@washpost.com ...

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