Yet the Washington Post chose to spin the polling numbers as a negative, noticing a downward trend from previous numbers and attributing the shift to "a contentious legislative session that drew large protests and national ridicule to the state Capitol."
Using the Trayvon Martin tragedy as their hook, liberal lobby groups have set their sights on the conservative-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its corporate donors, blaming the Sanford, Fla., shooting on the Sunshine State's Stand Your Ground law. ALEC supports conservative legislative efforts at the state level such as Stand Your Ground, as well as pro-business legislative priorities of interest to many food and drink companies.
But in reporting on recent victories by liberal groups in pushing companies like PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and McDonalds to drop their support of ALEC, the Washington Post's Tom Hamburger failed to clue readers into the liberal allegiances of "advocacy groups" attacking ALEC and its corporate donors.
When the Virginia General Assembly was debating a new voter ID law, the Washington Post did its level best to paint the measure as a vote suppressing measure that was akin to "Jim Crow" laws. The Post's editorial board also weighed in by charging that making the voter ID laws stricter was evidence of "institutional racism" in state government.
But now that the debate is over and the bill is likely to be signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), the Post's Richmond correspondents Laura Vozzella and Anita Kumar today admitted that, well, the legislation is fairly lax compared with stricter legislation that absolutely requires photo IDs in other states:
Much of the media's liberal bias is furthered by presenting political controversies such that they pit a non-ideological group versus an ideological one, most often of course the ideological group being conservative in nature.
Take the Washington Post's Virginia legislature correspondent Anita Kumar, who informed readers in an 11-paragraph item on page B2 of today's paper that a "Women's PAC [will] take on antiabortion lawmakers" (emphasis mine):
In a Metro section front-page article today, the Washington Post's Anita Kumar labeled as "contentious" a bill that the Virginia Senate scuttled that "would have repealed a requirement that schoolgirls be immunized against a virus linked to cervical cancer before entering the sixth grade."
In a 37-paragraph front-page article today, Washington Post correspondents Laura Vozzella and Anita Kumar detailed how, as the "invasiveness" of an ultrasound requirement in an abortion regulation bill "emerged" that "enthusiasm waned."
Vozzella and Kumar examined how pro-choice activists ginned up protests via social media and how liberal-leaning comedians on Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central mocked the legislation. Yet not once in the entire story did Kumar and Vozzella note that abortionists in the Old Dominion who are affiliated with Planned Parenthood already do ultrasounds prior to conducting abortions. Despite discussing the ongoing controversy on MSNBC yesterday, Kumar also failed to mention the fact for that network's audience.
Filling in on the 11 a.m. hour of MSNBC Live coverage this morning, Luke Russert talked to Washington Post reporter Anita Kumar and Virginia Del. Charniele Herring (D) about Gov. Bob McDonnell's "abrupt switch" to oppose requiring "invasive" transvaginal ultrasounds prior to an abortion. McDonnell is backing a bill that would make transvaginal ultrasounds optional but abdominal ultrasounds mandatory.
At not point in the interview did either Russert or Kumar note that Planned Parenthood abortionists already perform ultrasounds before abortions. What's more, Russert prompted Herring to agree with him that requiring abdominal ultrasounds could in some way be a "sex crime" [video follows page break; MP3 audio here]
Reporting today on how Virginia Republican "Gov. Robert F. McDonnell is backing off his unconditional support for a bill requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion," the Washington Post's Anita Kumar failed to note that Virginia abortion providers affiliated with Planned Parenthood already use ultrasounds as part of their preparatory work for abortion.
In the last week of the state campaign in Virginia, Democrats are still desperately trying to scare voters into thinking Republicans are extreme -- and so is The Washington Post. On Wednesday, reporter Anita Kumar wrote a stale old rerun of the attack on Republican state Senate candidate Richard Black because he sent pink "fetus" models before an abortion vote -- the same tactic she tried in September. The story began like a negative TV ad.
"Dick Black once questioned whether a husband commits rape if he forces his wife to have sex," she began. "The former member of the House of Delegates introduced a bill to ban gays from adopting children. He voted to limit access to birth control. But the Republican who opposes abortion rights is probably best known on Capitol Square for sending plastic pink models of fetuses to lawmakers as they prepared to vote on an abortion bill."
Update (15:30 EDT): Yates notes our criticism on Facebook (see screen capture at bottom of post)
In today's "Lunchline" -- a free Washington Post e-mail newsletter with teasers and links to stories in the day's paper and on the website -- staffer Clinton Yates linked to Anita Kumar's story on Virginia's Board of Health adopting new regulations on the state's abortion clinics.
Yates's tease was heavy on loaded language favorable to pro-choicers:
The Washington Post is no opponent of economic regulation. But dare to touch the largely unregulated abortion industry and it's quite a different story.
In a 23-paragraph Metro section front-pager entitled "Stricter Va. rules on abortion gain,"* Post staffer Anita Kumar --see our archive on her bias here -- noted in her lead paragraph that "the Virginia Board of Health overwhelmingly approved far-reaching regulations for abortion clinics" yesterday that "some operators say could shut down many of the state's 22 facilities" when they go into effect at the end of the year.
On some days, it’s hard to tell whether The Washington Post is a newspaper or just a copy-and-paste Democratic Party newsletter. On the front of Monday’s Metro section, in a story with a modest headline – “Republicans hope to take Va. Senate” – Post reporter Anita Kumar spent the first five paragraphs (and the last five paragraphs) selling the Democratic Party of Virginia spin that the Republican nominees were “nut jobs” that made Rick Perry look sane.
Inside the paper, the headline was clearer. "Democrats: GOP too extreme to win Va. Senate." Here’s how it began:
The Washington Post knows how to signal which side in the abortion debate they favor. In both Friday's and Saturday's Metro sections, they describe the two sides in a tilted way as they cover new clinic regulations in Virginia, which insist abortion clinics be just like ambulatory surgical centers, since many abortions are still surgical.
One side is "conservative" and "antiabortion." The other side is not labeled liberal, but they are "reproductive-health activists," and the Guttmacher Institute, which was founded as a division of Planned Parenthood and is named after Alan Guttmacher, a past Planned Parenthood president and "Old Testament prophet", is described as a "nonprofit reproductive health research center that gathers the most comprehensive data on abortion in the United States." In other words, bow to their comprehensive, nonpartisan authority.
The Washington Post's undisguised loathing for conservative Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is on display again Tuesday. Post reporter Anita Kumar put him on the "far right" and questioned the propriety (and even the constitutionality) of his working relationship with other Republicans in Richmond.
Kumar began by noting a list of Cuccinell's "controversial" legal opinions, that "police could check the immigration status of those stopped by law-enforcement officers, that the state could impose stricter oversight of clinics that perform abortions and that local governments could allow religious holiday displays on public property. In each instance, the request for the opinion came from the same person: Del. Robert G. Marshall (Prince William), a like-minded Republican who shares Cuccinelli's far-right views."
Kumar obviously asked it this "symbiotic relationship" was unconstitutional legal activism that goes around the legislature:
The McCain campaign filed suit yesterday against Virginia in federal court to "force the state to count late-arriving overseas military ballots," reported the Associated Press in a November 3 story. While the Washington Post's Web site carries the 5-paragraph AP article, the paper's print edition this morning punted on running a separate follow-up article.
Instead the Post devoted a few paragraphs on the lawsuit inside a larger Metro section frontpager by staffer Anita Kumar about how the NAACP unsuccessfully filed suit to make "last-minute changes to Virginia's voting procedures in response to allegations" by the civil rights group "that the state is not prepared to handle the predicted historic voter turnout."
McCain's lawsuit garnered just five paragraphs, four of them at the tail end of the 23-paragraph article. The treatment of the McCain suit is not all that surprising. As we've noted before at NewsBusters, the Post tends to yawn over concern about disenfranchisement of military personnel casting overseas absentee ballots: