For the second day in a row, The Washington Post showed it was bored by the IRS scandal by putting the hearings story inside the paper.
Instead, the top of Wednesday's post seized on the favorite liberal scandal du jour: "Military chiefs lament sex assaults but reject Senate bill." Their Post Express tabloid screamed this front-page headline: "CAN THE MILITARY CURE ITS 'CANCER'?"
The Washington Post has an investigative piece below the fold on the front page Monday: “Obama Associate Got $100,000 Fee From Affiliate Of Firm Doing Business With Iran.” Actually, that’s the online headline. The newspaper headline is more boring, without a dollar figure: “Firm with ties to Iran paid Obama associate for talks.” There's also no photograph.
The “associate” is David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager in 2008 and now a “Senior Advisor” at the White House. Couldn’t the Post have put the words “top aide” in that letter space? It’s shorter than “associate.” Would Karl Rove be an "associate" if this had been a Bush story? Here’s how the story by Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten began:
The Washington Post barely covered the Obama administration’s declaration to go all soft on deportations on Friday. They ran a 320-word Reuters dispatch on A-5 with zero opponents in it, and no suggestion this new policy was a bald-faced political move for Obama to improve his sinking approval ratings among Hispanics.
But in a front-page story Monday, Post reporter Peter Wallsten calmly explained that this is exactly what it was: “While most of Washington was embroiled in the debt-ceiling drama last month, about 160 Hispanic leaders from across the country filed into the White House one day, largely unnoticed. For two days, they enjoyed full access to top presidential advisers, Cabinet members and administration officials from across the government.”
The Washington Post's adjectives in Thursday's coverage of the Obama press conference signaled their approval. "Obama takes tougher tone on economy, foreign policy" was the headline at the top of Page One. Post reporters Peter Wallsten and Zachary Goldfarb led off with how Obama "belittled" congressional Republicans for taking vacations during debt-limit talks and contrasted their work effort with his young daughters. But his mission was to "reassert a commanding presence" on the issues. He was not "petulant" or "whiny," he was "showing a combative side that Americans rarely see."
The front-page promo underneath hailed Dana Milbank's "Washington Sketch" full of praise. "The pugilist in chief: A press corps gathered to hear our regularly scheduled president meets a rather feisty gentleman instead."
Today's media bias question: Can you call someone "anti-war" or a "peace protester" if they're suspected of providing material support to violent groups like Hezbollah or the FARC guerrillas in Colombia? Apparently they do at The Washington Post. The top story in Tuesday's Post carries the anodyne headline "Activists cry foul over FBI probe." That should be "Radical-left activists cry foul." The subhead was "Peace protesters, labor organizers are apparent targets." The FBI's anti-terror probes (involving U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Plamegate fame) are apparently infuriating Obama labor-union agitators in the Midwest.
You have to read down to paragraph 23 in Peter Wallsten's article to get the real point:
While President Obama has been withdrawn from press scrutiny over his handling of Libya, he's managed to sit down to no less than six local TV interviews this month, with a view to a friendly format focused on issues of concern to his liberal base in swing states.
"State Republicans seek more limits on voters" warned the front page Washington Post headline for Peter Wallsten's March 7 article.
"GOP says the push targets fraud; Democrats call it a power play," added the subheader. The online version of the article had a decidedly less-loaded headline, but Wallsten's article skewed towards the Democratic complaint (emphasis mine):
As much as Barack Obama promised a new era of transparency in Washington, there are still plenty of activities reporters can't attend. In a Monday story on Obama trying to keep his liberal base happy, Washington Post reporter Peter Wallsten explained:
Much of the White House's interaction with liberal groups has taken place at a weekly Tuesday meeting at a downtown Washington hotel. The "common purpose" gatherings are closed-door sessions between top Obama aides and officials from dozens of left-leaning interest groups such as unions, youth voting groups, women's organizations, gay rights advocates and civil rights activists. Attendees are required to keep all proceedings secret and off the record.