Did George Allen's Campaign Manager 'Zoink Off' The Washington Post?
A friend e-mailed me that Mark Ambinder at The Hotline (formerly of the ABC News Political Unit) has his own analysis of the WashPost "macaca" mania -- Allen's campaign has upset the Post:
The death-knell for Republican candidates in Northern Virginia has been the active hostility of the Washington Post. Usually, a GOP candidate can neutralize the problem by neutralizing the Post -- not alienating the beat reporters and keeping the editorial page from beating the snare drum.
Two signs today that the Allen campaign has seriously angered the Post. First, there's the A1 placement of a story that is arguably interesting and compelling but not earthshatteringly newsy. Within the story, there's a hint that Allen's campaign manager, Dick Wadhams zoinked off the reporter who called him."But the apology, which came hours after Allen's campaign manager dismissed the issue with an expletive and insisted the senator has "nothing to apologize for," did little to mollify Webb's campaign or Sidarth..."
The second harbinger is the Post editorial entitled George Allen's America.
The Post is ganging up on George Allen. Certainly, a videotaped alleged slur from a candidate is more relevant than an alleged anti-semitic flyer from another, but the disparity in attention is so wide as to suggest that a media framing device is at work. It's not necessarily a political bias; it's a conflict bias; it's a bias against complacency; it's a bias toward Northern Virginia and its values.
The upshot here is that Jim Webb (D) is a free media candidate. He'll never raise enough money to properly introduce himself to Virginia voters. His campaign's strategic goal is to drive up Allen's negatives and then, when everyone is paying attention in October, allow the currents in the media to carry Webb to the shore...
Wadhams, in a phone interview, suggests the battle lines are drawn and quartered. "The Post took a pass on the anti-Semitic flyer that Webb made and in fact the editorial writer for the Post told me yesterday there was nothing anti-Semitic about that flyer. It was premeditated and Webb even admitted looking at and approving that before it went out. They did not write a peep about that incident," he said. "There is an institutional bias against Senator Allen at the Washington Post. It is probably even more pronounced now because he keeps winning and they keep opposing them. This was something I anticipated from the very beginning. They're in Webb’s hip pocket. It’s going to be a reality we face in this campaign."
PS: I heard a few minutes of Washington Post radio on this topic this afternoon with political analyst Mark Plotkin, who said the Democrats think that Allen is "their Tom Daschle," a high-profile national senator (chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee) that they could take out in a big upset. Post Radio host Bob Kur insisted the Webb aide was "colored" (talk about an old term the Post would imagine hearing in deep-south Virginia!) and on the "macaca" business, insisted that "everyone assumed it was a racial pejorative."