In mid-August, Sen. George Allen used the word "Macaca" to describe an Indian-American staffer for his Democrat opponent who’d been filming his campaign appearances. Little did he realize that this would cost him his Senate seat and any hopes for the presidency in 2008.
Local liberal elites long have believed the Washington Times to be an oafishly right-wing rag while viewing the Washington Post as the dictionary definition of detachment and straight-forward reporting. The 2006 campaign proves this to be nonsense. When it came to Allen, the Post completely lost its bearings, treating Allen with left-wing aggression and loathing, as if he ripped out the fingernails of small children every night as a giggly hobby. Today Allen’s political scalp hangs on their newsroom wall.
The Washington Post, this morning, is demonstrating that they aren't biased in favor of liberals, nosirree. What, just attack Republicans? Us? No way! This fascinating column by Ruth Marcus, prominently positioned on page A21, demonstrates that they aren't going to just roll over on corruption just because it's a Democrat being talked about! Nope, Marcus is actively going after Jack Murtha, going so far as to say that "On its own, Murtha's ... conduct is disqualifying."
"The Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history," Pelosi pledged on election night. Five days later she wrote Murtha a letter endorsing his bid to become her No. 2.
Looking for an election-season boost, the Times opened up its exclusive Times Select product to non-paying proles last week, sending editor-columnist Frank Rich's "2006: The Year of the 'Macaca,'" to the #1 most e-mailed story of the week (the free window is now closed, so you have to pay for Rich's deep thoughts on why Bush-style conservatism lost this year).
"This was callous conservatism, if not just plain mean.
"It’s the kind of conservatism that remains silent when Rush Limbaugh does a mocking impersonation of Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's symptoms to score partisan points. It’s the kind of conservatism that talks of humane immigration reform but looks the other way when candidates demonize foreigners as predatory animals. It's the kind of conservatism that pays lip service to 'tolerance' but stalls for days before taking down a campaign ad caricaturing an African-American candidate as a sexual magnet for white women.
Rubin Urges Democrats to Raise Taxes to Reverse Budget Deficit
Interesting, in light of this in the Washington Post (HT Surly Don Surber; as an aside, I really have to wonder how this plays with the Democratic Underground/Daily Kos base):
Alternative Minimum Tax Targeted
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Democratic leaders this week vowed to make the alternative minimum tax a centerpiece of next year's budget debate, saying the levy threatens to unfairly increase tax bills for millions of middle-class families by the end of the decade.
"Washington Post" reporter Sally Quinn appeared on Monday’s "American Morning," ready to psychoanalyze President Bush in the wake of last week’s midterm defeat. Quinn discussed the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the hiring of Robert Gates as a replacement, and how President Bush is secretly "relieved" over the drubbing the GOP received. Now, either Ms. Quinn has become a psychological expert on why Bush is hiring former advisors to his father, or she’s just another member of the media who wants to be a part of important inner-circle decisions:
Quinn: "But I just have a feeling that it was clear to the father that the son -- clearly, he made Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense -- that the son did not want his father's advice on a lot of these things....I felt the other day watching Bush that he was almost relieved in a way about losing the House and the Senate. I know that sounds weird, but it was as though, ‘Okay, now I really have permission. I can take my father's advice.’ And, also, that it's not all on him anymore. It's not all on the Republicans. The Democrats are going to have to take a lot of the responsibility now."
O’Brien: "It's nice to, nice to share a little blame, isn't it, in some cases? And in this case, perhaps share some blame with his father. I wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. Did -- was -- did he have to have that election in order to prompt this?"
Watch out. The media's sensitivities to alleged sexism toward Speaker Nancy Pelosi are already on display, with reporters calling out the male chauvinist pigs. In Monday's Washington Post, it came in a front-page Style section story by Linda Hales on interior decorating in Washington. President Bush is accused of insulting women everywhere by saying he'd sent the names of interior decorators to Pelosi. A decorator for Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg found the remark "demeaning" to women and to decorators. Hales wrote: "there's no question that spinning the midterm election like an HGTV makeover special seems disparaging to women. It's hard to imagine that the same joke would have been told if the speaker in question were Dennis Hastert."
In a riveting 2,000-word thumbsucker for Sunday's Washington Post, the Washington Post asks: "Is America too Racist for Barack? Too Sexist for Hillary?" The author, Benjamin Wallace-Wells, is identified as a writer on national affairs for Rolling Stone. And here I thought that periodical's idea of national affairs was the latest on Britney Spears.
Anyway, the article doesn't answer the questions it poses. At least I don't think it does. When the author began using terms such as "post-racial" and "post-gender," my eyes glazed over and my mind meandered.
I did make it to the part, though, about there being a disparity between African Americans and women in terms of political leadership:
A few weeks ago, Amy Ridenour decried the Washington Post obituary writers for writing a bitter obituary for ex-Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth, a "militia-friendly" and "extremist" conservative from Idaho who arrived in Washington with Newt Gingrich's new majority in 1994. She noted a communist spy from Vietnam drew a kinder obituary. That happened again Friday with the death of "charming" and "avuncular" East German spymaster Markus Wolf.
Markus Wolf, 83, who helped to oversee the growth of East Germany's espionage network and once wrote that he wanted to be remembered for "perfecting the use of sex in spying," died of undisclosed causes Nov. 9 at his apartment in Berlin.
Like a train arriving on time, the Washington Post reliably earned its liberal stripes Friday with two Style section smooch-pieces on the wonders of new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The first is a thoroughly typical rave by the quite partisan fashion critic Robin Givhan, who pronounces Pelosi "chic" in a piece headlined "Muted Tones of Quiet Authority." She is "consciously, comfortably, and authoritatively female." She ain't a --gasp! -- wrestlin' coach: "(The appearance of the current speaker, Rep. Dennis Hastert, will go unmentioned here except to say that there is nothing chic or particularly polished about it.)"
The second piece was headlined "Pride of Baltimore," an attempt to warm local hearts that before she was San Fran Nan, Pelosi was the daughter of "Tommy the Elder" D'Alessandro, Baltimore machine politician. (Reporter Lynne Duke insists that "Tommy" was ahem, not corrupt or tied to the Mob.) No, it was here in nearby Baltimore that Pelosi learned to be a socialist, oops, "progressive," of course:
On the weekend before the election, the NPR show "On The Media" brought their usual liberal criticism of the media to bear, with co-host Brooke Gladstone complaining how the national media was somehow an over-enthusiastic puppy in coverage of Kerry's don't-be-stupid-and-get-stuck-in-Iraq comment: "But the media can't stop masticating on this latest liberal gaffe like a Washington Monument-sized Snausage." (As in "scrumptious" doggie treat.)
Her guest was Washington Post national political editor John F. Harris, who boasted he succeeded in burying the Kerry story inside the paper, at least on the first day. But NPR's Gladstone hammered him for "playing right into the Administration's hands" by covering it, when Kerry wasn't even running:
Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales expressed general praise with network election coverage Wednesday morning, especially newbie Katie Couric at CBS, but said the television was really missing the electrifying Bill Clinton, a "shining, gray-haired exception" to Democrats who are generally bad at TV. He compared Slick Willie to who he might have called Clumsy Chucky Schumer:
Neil Cavuto, who hosts a less-than-indispensable daily show on Fox, got into an on-air shouting match with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who understandably took exception when Cavuto kept interrupting him. In Cavuto's defense, Schumer seemed determined to talk as slowly and laboriously as possible, proving himself yet another Democrat who takes to television like a duck takes to oil.
Michael Steele, the Republican candidate in Maryland's Senate race, victim of the Washington Post's desire to keep him out of the Senate tore into the liberal newspaper on "Fox News Sunday."
Transcript continues below the fold. Video available here.
Lieutenant Governor, the Washington Post endorsed your opponent, Ben
Cardin, over the weekend, and they had some very harsh words for you.
Let's put them up on the screen.
"Despite his efforts to construct an image as an independent-minded
newcomer, there is nothing in Michael Steele's past — no achievement,
no record, no evidence and certainly no command of the issues — to
The Post says that as lieutenant governor for the past four years, you have had marginal influence.
I know. Isn't it a shame? Well, you know, Chris, that is pitiful.
The Washington Post certainly waited until the last-minute, the day before the mid-term elections, to run a story pointing out how soldiers in Iraq are committed to the mission and don't want the U.S. to leave, but they should get kudos for printing the article which contradicts the assumptions of much of the media's reporting on Iraq, “Soldiers in Iraq Say Pullout Would Have Devastating Results” -- though the paper's editors only squeezed it onto page A-13. From “Forward Operating Base Sykes,” Post correspondent Josh White disclosed that he talked to “dozens of soldiers across the country” and they feared “leaving Iraq now would have devastating consequences.”
White reported in the article published November 6: “With a potentially historic U.S. midterm election on Tuesday and the war in Iraq a major issue at the polls, many soldiers said the United States should not abandon its effort here. Such a move, enlisted soldiers and officers said, would set Iraq on a path to civil war, give new life to the insurgency and create the possibility of a failed state after nearly four years of fighting to implant democracy.” In addition, “the soldiers...expressed support for the Bush administration's approach to the war, which they described as sticking with a tumultuous situation to give Iraq a chance to stand on its own.”
Somehow, in the midst of all the surprising polling data released on Sunday, this article by Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell went unnoticed. In her piece entitled “Balance and Bias on the Political Beat,” Howell pointed out some problems with the paper’s coverage of Sen. George Allen (R-Virginia) and senatorial candidate Michael Steele of Maryland (emphasis mine throughout):
Allen supporters think he can't catch a break; I sympathize. The macaca coverage went on too long, and a profile of Allen was relentlessly negative without balancing coverage of what made him a popular governor and senator.
This certainly wasn’t something I expected to see published just hours before a crucial election, but there it was in Monday’s Washington Post (hat tip to Patterico), “Soldiers in Iraq Say Pullout Would Have Devastating Results.” Granted, Josh White’s fabulous piece got relegated to page A13. But, let’s not look a gift-horse in the mouth (emphasis mine throughout):
For the U.S. troops fighting in Iraq, the war is alternately violent and hopeful, sometimes very hot and sometimes very cold. It is dusty and muddy, calm and chaotic, deafeningly loud and eerily quiet.
The one thing the war is not, however, is finished, dozens of soldiers across the country said in interviews. And leaving Iraq now would have devastating consequences, they said.
I’ve had to check and double-check the link on this one, sports fans, and highly imagine you’ll do the same. Irrespective of how implausible this seems, the Washington Post has just published results of a new poll it did with ABC News, and the numbers show quite a tightening in the public’s preference for Democrats and Republicans in the upcoming elections (hat tip to Strata Sphere).
In this most recent poll, Democrats were preferred to win the House next Tuesday 51 percent to the Republican’s 45 percent amongst likely voters, a margin of 6 percent. Two weeks ago, it was 55 to 41 percent, a 14 point margin. This is a huge decrease in just two weeks.
In "Church Leader Resigns After Gay Sex Claim," today's Washington Post reports on the resignation of the Rev. Ted Haggard as president of the National Association of Evangelicals. His resignation was prompted by an accusation that he'd paid for homosexual sex.
It didn't take long for Post staff writer Alan Cooperman to link the incident to next week's much-anticipated Democratic sweep. The sixth paragraph:
"Although he has avoided endorsing political candidates, Haggard has been a staunch ally of the Bush administration. Some political observers said his resignation was more bad news for Republicans trying to rally their conservative Christian base to turn out for the midterm elections."
Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke" was just a "classic freak-show story" unworthy of front-page play -- but Sen. George Allen's "macaca" was worthy of wall-to-wall coverage. That is apparently the opinion of the Washington Post's John harris.
“The John Kerry flap may have been the major political story yesterday, and even today,” Brit Hume accurately noted in his Wednesday “Grapevine” segment since, indeed, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts led with it both Tuesday and Wednesday night. But he observed, “you might not have known that from the newspaper coverage. Not a single front-page headline in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. The Times cast it as a chance for the President to attack Kerry. Not until the 15th paragraph, on page 18, does a reader learn what Kerry actually said.” Hume also picked up on how ABC framed the story: “On ABC News, the Kerry flap was described as quote, 'an object lesson in how in this day and age an idle political remark gets seized upon.'" A late Tuesday night NewsBusters posting, "ABC's Gibson: Kerry's Dumb 'Get Stuck In Iraq' Merely an 'Idle Political Remark,'" distributed in Wednesday's MRC CyberAlert, highlighted the characterization by World News anchor Charles Gibson.
And Hume relayed how ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, on the Hugh Hewitt's radio show, “says well over 70 percent of the people working on his network's political coverage are liberal, and would vote Democratic.”
There are occasions in the news coverage of campaigns where fevered imagination kicks in and calm, comparative reason takes a holiday. Here we go again, and this time it’s Harold Ford Jr., the Democratic contender for the Senate in Tennessee who is getting the red carpet media treatment. Ford is an attractive black “rising Democratic star,” whose only obstacle is Tennessee’s inability to get beyond its sordid racist past.
The East Coast media recently parachuted into Tennessee to explore if the state was still so backward as to elect yet another Republican. On its front page, The Washington Post began a story with John Layne, aging white Republican, who came to a Ford rally because he has emphysema and worries about health care. "Oh, sure, there's some prejudice," Layne said. "I wouldn't want my daughter marrying one." But apparently, he’ll vote for one if the government benefit checks are good.
While some tabloids capture the drama of John Kerry's uneducated-people-stuck-in-Iraq joke ("KERRY KALAMITY," says the New York Daily News), the nation's biggest newspapers have headlines draining the drama out of the story, and certainly leaving the contents of the "joke" out of the headline:
The other governor’s race in America with a Mark Foley echo is in Massachusetts, where Democratic hopeful Deval Patrick, a former Clinton Justice Department official, whom the Washington Post profiled on Wednesday in a feature by staff writer Wil Haygood that was so positive, a liberal blogger characterized it as a "sweet send off for him...I hope he can feel the tail wind."
One reason was that Haygood and the Post completely excluded in this long, 77-paragraph piece how Patrick was embarrassed by an October 13 Boston Herald report by Dave Wedge that Patrick’s brother-in-law was an unregistered sex offender: "a convicted rapist who has been notified by officials that he is in violation of laws that require sex offenders to register with the state...Bernard Sigh was convicted in 1993 in San Diego of raping his wife, Rhonda, who is Patrick’s sister. He pleaded guilty, served a short jail sentence and was put on five years probation, officials said. The Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board sent Sigh a letter this week alerting him that he is required to register."
One of the maddening things about the Mark Foley scandal is how the media can take one congressman’s creepy Internet messages about masturbating, declare it an issue in 468 congressional races, demand the head of the Speaker of the House, and then decry other people for ruining democracy with desperate negative ads that besmirch honest public servants. It’s exactly how Michael Grunwald’s Washington Post story on Friday began, with the Republican opponent to Rep. Ron Kind (who represents my dear old home town of Viroqua, Wisconsin) mocking his backing of federal sex studies. Grunwald and the Post predictably summarize, with typical spit and polish, the DNC talking points of the day, that it's the GOP that wins the prize for negativity:
The Washington Post took a good swing at Rush Limbaugh's comments yesterday about the exploitative Michael J. Fox TV ads for Democrats, saying Republicans are stopping "life-saving" cures for debilitating diseases. On the front page, top left, of Wednesday's Style section, David Montgomery began his article "Rush Limbaugh On the Offensive Against Ad With Michael J. Fox" very much like an editorial instead of a news article:
Possibly worse than making fun of someone's disability is saying that it's imaginary. That is not to mock someone's body, but to challenge a person's guts, integrity, sanity.
Time out. What is Michael J. Fox doing in these ads if not challenging Republican integrity? By suggesting the GOP are pro-disease? Montgomery makes no mention in his little, huffing post of an article as to whether Fox's claims are accurate, factually, scientifically. He can't go "back to the future" here and tell us if smashing embryos really works.
Our news media have long lectured us that their role is not to be "stenographers to power." Theirs is the pursuit of truth, we are told. But when it comes to networks like CNN, those ethical rules are crumpled and tossed into the nearest trash bin.
Editorial writers at the Washington Post and elsewhere have raged against the Pentagon placing positive stories in Iraqi newspapers, thus violating the journalistic sacristy of objectivity. But they have no rage at all for CNN placing glorifying publicity from terrorists on a global television network.
Whenever a writer for one of America's most influential newspapers states his or her opinions about liberal media bias, it should be brought to the attention of NewsBusters readers (unless, of course, said writer merely offers some variant of the lame, threadbare "we get complaints from both the right and the left, which tells me our coverage is balanced" argument).
Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten also occasionally writes long pieces for the paper's Sunday magazine. In a Monday web chat concerning Weingarten's admiring profile of Doonesbury's Garry Trudeau, a questioner charged that the Post ran that story and others in order to help the Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections. In today's chat, when the same questioner posted a good-humored follow-up, Weingarten addressed media bias in general terms (emphasis added):
In today's Media Notes column, Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz reported just how far Rolling Stone is willing to go on its ultraliberal-hippie crusade against social conservatism: it's hired Matt Taibbi, the writer infamously published by the New York Press for "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope." (As in, "Beetles eating dead Pope's brains." ) Oh, and he wasn't sorry, whatever he says today. He left the Press shortly after his editor, Jeff Koyen, was fired for lack of sense.
The most over-the-top writer by far is Taibbi, 36, the son of NBC correspondent Mike Taibbi. The younger Taibbi's style is such that he often seems to be channeling the late Hunter Thompson. "I used to do a lot of drugs, and I'm a humorist," Taibbi says in acknowledging the comparison.
The Washington Post placed a Republican Senate challenger on the front page of Monday's Style section, but David Segal's profile of New Jersey's Tom Kean, Jr. compared the candidate to a murderous Los Angeles street gangster: Kean, "who looks like a Mountie and fights like a Crip, isn't selling honesty and integrity so much as a brand name that represents honesty and integrity." Like other liberal reporters, Segal asserted it was too "complicated" to state that Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez is under federal investigation, and began the article by joking that if you took a drink every time Kean mentions federal investigation, "you would be drooling drunk 10 minutes after meeting the guy."
Segal, who is usually the rock-and-pop music critic for the Post -- but like many liberal media types, worked at the liberal magazine The Washington Monthly before hitting the major leagues -- started with an entertainment writer's breezy attack style: