His state voted Democratic in the 2008 presidential contest for the first time in 44 years, he's personally popular with voters, and he's currently the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Yet not once in her November 17 11-paragraph story did Washington Post's Rosalind Helderman raise the notion that Gov. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) might share blame for his party's gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds getting thoroughly trounced in the voting booth 14 days earlier.
Helderman's story, "Democrat Deeds ran without his base, Kaine says," was based on Kaine's recent "meeting with editors and reporters of The Washington Post." Helderman's reporting makes clear, however, that the paper was only interested in dutifully relaying Kaine's spin on the 2009 gubernatorial election, not in challenging any of his claims.
On Sunday’s Meet the Press, MSNBC hostess Rachel Maddow broke out the ten-foot-pole of disgust for losing Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds. But back in September, she suggested Bob McDonnell’s thesis from "Pat Robertson’s Liberty University" would sink him: "Here’s where Republican electoral chances stop being separate from the wild-excesses of the conservative movement."
Oops. Actually, double oops, Miss Maddow: Robertson’s college is Regent University. Isn’t it amazing that her liberal fans always tout how she "does her homework"?
Here’s Maddow on Sunday:
I think that if, if Republicans could choose to have anything to extrapolate from the, from the Bob McDonnell race, it would be to have as an opponent Creigh Deeds. If they could pick anything that they wanted. I mean, Creigh Deeds was a, was a marketably ineffective Democratic candidate, essentially running away from the president, running from everything popular in the Democratic agenda and doing it in a stylistically poor way. So I'm sure he's a very nice guy; he was a very bad candidate.
"From deep down in my stomach, with every inch of me, I pure, straight hate you. But g*d***it, do I respect you!" seethes rival TV station anchor Wes Mantooth (Vince Vaughn) to Burgundy (Will Ferrell).
The Washington Post hatefully threw all it had at making the "thesis issue" a career killer for McDonnell, who went on to win 54 percent of the women's vote in Tuesday election. But looking back, Post staffer Amy Gardner gave readers a look into how the McDonnell campaign hunkered down, stuck with a disciplined message, and thwarted the paper's scheme to "macaca" McDonnell:
How much is a Washington Post endorsement worth? Not a lot, apparently. The Post endorsed 26 candidates in Virginia’s November 4 elections. Only 12 of them won. The liberal newspaper’s picks for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, all Democrats, lost, averaging only 42.4 percent of the vote. Almost 239,000 Virginians voted against the wishes of this establishment news outlet.
The Post lobbied heavily for their gubernatorial candidate, Creigh Deeds (who received only 41.2 percent of the vote), offering a seemingly endless number of stories about Republican Bob McDonnell and a thesis he wrote in 1989. (McDonnell garnered 58.6 percent of the vote.) As for the Virginia House of Democrats, the paper endorsed in 23 races and only 12 won. Adding up all the numbers, the Post's candidates combined for 229,596 votes, compared to 238,854 against, for a 51 to 49 percent defeat.
In the State House, the Post supported just four Republicans. Three of those, in heavily liberal districts, lost. The other one, Thomas D. Rust, has repeatedly bucked his own party. He won.
The Washington Post on Thursday continued its quest to defeat Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, bizarrely citing a "non-partisan" group that, in reality, has endorsed Bob McDonnell’s Democratic opponent. The article by Anita Kumar contained this loaded headline: "McDonnell critics question ideology: Some saw agenda in legal opinions."
Kumar quoted Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, a lobbyist for "Equality Virginia, a nonpartisan gay rights group." Yet, the front page of Equality Virginia’s website features a press release entitled, "Equality Virginia PAC Endorses Deeds for Governor." The organization’s website makes a distinction between its political action committee (EVPAC) and its "non-partisan" activities. However, Kumar made no such clarification. How can a group be non-partisan and endorse the Democratic nominee?
A Washington Post staff writer on Wednesday swore that it wasn’t the "goal" of the newspaper to elect Virginia’s Democratic candidate for governor, despite the paper’s wave of attack coverage against the Republican nominee. Participating in a chat on WashingtonPost.com, Amy Gardner did admit that there’s an "argument to be made" over whether the paper did some "‘prolonged’ reporting" on Republican Bob McDonnell’s 1989 college thesis about marriage and the family.
Gardner, who wrote many of the articles on the 20-year-old thesis about feminism and working women, avowed that the subject was a "legitimate news story that then took on a life of its own and that we continued to cover." Took on a life of its own? In the first 12 days after the story broke, the paper published 11 articles on the subject. Wouldn’t something with a "life of its own" have developed naturally without the aggressive help of the Post?
Gardner was responding to a reader question over whether the news outlet’s extensive coverage actually harmed Democrat Creigh Deeds. She retorted, "Well, certainly there's an argument to be made that we did some ‘prolonged’ reporting on the thesis, but it wasn't with the goal of helping Deeds."
In what could be described as the biggest non-surprise of the 2009 Virginia gubernatorial election, the Washington Post on Sunday endorsed Creigh Deeds, the Democratic candidate that its news section has been touting for months. Beginning in late August, the Post ran numerous hit pieces, 12 in the first 11 days, against Republican Bob McDonnell for a 20 year-old college thesis.
The massive, 1391 word editorial slashed Republican Bob McDonnell’s "intolerant" social positions. Readers could be forgiven for asking if this endorsement was really necessary. On August 30, the Post first inserted itself into the Virginia election by declaring, "'89 Thesis A Different Side of McDonnell." The piece by Amy Gardner tried to link McDonnell’s two decade-old Regent University thesis on marriage and the family to some sort of far right agenda:
"During his 14 years in the General Assembly, McDonnell pursued at least 10 of the policy goals he laid out in that research paper, including abortion restrictions, covenant marriage, school vouchers and tax policies to favor his view of the traditional family."
The editorial on Sunday struck a remarkably similar tone:
Today in the paper's "Post Partisan" blog, staffer Lee Hockstader displayed once again the paper's determination to help down-in-the-polls liberal Democrat Creigh Deeds limp across the finish line.
Never mind that the offender in question has already apologized for mocking the Democratic state senator -- who, by the way, does NOT have a medically diagnosed speech impediment or disability -- and the alleged "macaca" moment was made not by candidate McDonnell about a Deeds staffer -- which would be truly analogous to the original 2006 George Allen episode -- but by an African-American Democratic businesswoman who supported Obama and current Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D), but crossed the aisle this to back the Republican McDonnell due to his economic policies.
What's more, it's hardly earth-shattering news that people at political fundraisers often crack harsh jokes about the politician(s) they are hoping to defeat on Election Day, yet to Hockstader, Johnson's mocking of Creigh Deeds's less-than-artful oratory deserved a 6-paragraph-long entry about how Johnson is like those mean b****es you knew in high school:
The Washington Post on Friday buried the announcement by Douglas Wilder, a popular Democratic ex-governor of Virginia, to not endorse his party’s current nominee for that office, Creigh Deeds. The Post placed the story, with the bland headline, "Wilder Declines to Endorse Anyone for Governor," below the fold in the Metro section.
In contrast, the Washington Times highlighted it on the front page, with the announcement: "Wilder to Deeds: That’s Not ‘Leadership.’" Over the last month, the Post has engaged in an aggressive campaign to play up a 20-year-old thesis by Republican candidate Bob McDonnell as supposedly anti-woman, producing story after story.
At the same time, the paper has repeatedly downplayed negative articles about Mr. Deeds. For instance, The Post minimized the endorsement of McDonnell by the powerful Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, a prominent organization in vote-rich Northern Virginia. On Thursday, the Post hid that story on B4 of the Metro page.
The first major electoral contest following any presidential election is the Virginia governor's race, and no less so this year given Barack Obama having been the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1964. But this year, the Obama magic may have worn off in the Old Dominion, with Republican Bob McDonnell showing a consistent lead over Democratic opponent Creigh Deeds and on target to end eight years of Democratic governors.
As we've documented, the Washington Post has done its best to drag down McDonnell's numbers and boost Deeds, namely by trumpeting a decades-old graduate thesis and hyping it as a potential game-changer in the race.
But today, when it came to a big snag in his campaign, the Post reported but buried an article that cast the Deeds campaign in a decidedly unfavorable light.
The bottom line: either Deeds lied to a police union or his campaign is incredibly inept. Or both.
It seems the Deeds gubernatorial campaign told two different law enforcement interest groups two conflicting positions on collective bargaining. Yet in reporting the story, the Post placed Rosalind S. Helderman's article on page 4 of the Metro section rather than page A1 or even the front page, page B1, of the Metro section.
The Washington Post editorial page threw itself today into quite an odd political position.
The Post seems to think that Bob McDonnell, the GOP candidate for Virginia governor, should be more vocal about his opposition to abortion. His opponent, Creigh Deeds, recently attempted to make a campaign issue out of his (somewhat newfound) support for abortion rights – a strategy that the Post called “risky.” Today’s editorial, however, backed Deeds’ strategy:
Mr. Deeds's strategy of stressing abortion may work or backfire; time will tell. But to suggest, as the McDonnell campaign has, that a campaign discussion about abortion "is engaging in the politics of division" is disingenuous and wrong. Thousands of Virginians have abortions every year, a decision that touches on families and futures. It's a fair and pressing topic of debate.
That is a somewhat perplexing position. On its face, that appears to be gently pushing McDonnell to engage on an issue critical to winning over Virginia voters. The problem is, the Post’s position would throw the current debate among Virginia voters wildly off-topic, according to no less a source than a recent Washington Post poll.
She's the nation's first black female billionaire, a co-founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) whose political contributions skew heavily Democratic, and in 2005 she backed the now outgoing-Democratic Gov.Tim Kaine's bid for office. But now Sheila C. Johnson has crossed the aisle to endorse Republican Bob McDonnell in his bid to be Virginia's chief executive, arguing that he has a better grasp on economic issues than his Democratic opponent.
Yet in reporting the news of the endorsement, the Washington Post elected to leave any word of Johnson's endorsement from its Metro front page headline. Instead, the Post blandly offered readers this headline and subheader: