Secular reporters can easily show a lack of expertise when they crack wise that the pope is “infallible” in everything he does, as if he never sins or makes mistakes -- as if he's the man to fill our your March Madness bracket, because he cannot fail. In fact, the definition of church teaching is much narrower, only that the pope cannot err when he speaks for the church on matters of faith or morals.
This happened in Tuesday’s Washington Post, when reporter Jason Horowitz lightly wrote the pope’s clothes make the “infallible man,” which should require a correction:
Washington Post staff writer Jason Horowitz marred an otherwise decent Style section feature item on Pope Benedict's resignation in his lead paragraph, which made a crack about the pontiff's retirement by hoping it goes off better than that of Pope Celestine V, whom Dante supposedly envisioned in Hell:
VATICAN CITY — On an April 2009 visit to the Italian mountain town of Sulmona, Pope Benedict XVI solemnly placed his pallium, the vestment symbolizing his papal authority, on the tomb of Celestine V. The medieval pontiff’s abdication in 1294 had resulted in imprisonment by his successor and banishment to hell by Dante for “the great refusal.” Benedict is no doubt hoping for a better retirement plan.
On her Current TV show Say Anything on Tuesday night, Joy Behar brought on two political consultants to discuss the Pope’s resignation. Behar insisted that the Roman Catholic church made a terrible, mystifying mistake by selecting a pope who “was in the Hitler Youth.”
Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman implied that the membership wasn’t entirely voluntary, but Behar wasn’t budging that his compulsory membership should have completely disqualified him from the papacy. (Rich Noyes video and transcript below.)
He probably shouldn't quit his day job, but Jason Horowitz may want to try his hand at an amateur comedy night sometime. After all, the Washington Post staff writer published a laughable 36-paragraph profile of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) today which hailed the senior New York senator as a leftie who has "embraced Obama's old bipartisan religion" of late "in a move to realize the president's second-term agenda."
"Casual viewers" of last week's inauguration ceremonies "could have been forgiven for mistaking Schumer for the president's Borscht Belt footman," Horowitz gushed, but, "Actually, he's become the president's right-hand man on Capitol Hill," which is "a remarkable development" for a Democrat who in Obama's first term "wanted to crush the opposition, not compromise."
President Obama's gimmicky 48-hour campaign swing last week was given gauzy treatment on the front page of the October 30 Washington Post Style page. Staff writer Jason Horowitz devoted a 36-paragraph story headlined "Sleepless in the swing states" to the venture. Horowitz opened with "the president's electoral mastermind" David Plouffe as his protagonist.
Plouffe "is the data-driven guru of Obama's 2008 victory," Horowitz gushed, adding that the presidential reelection campaign may be a referendum on Obama, "but it is also by extension a referendum on Plouffe." Horowitz turned to Plouffe to dismiss as "garbage" polling data that bodes poorly for the president. While Horowitz may have aimed at positively portraying team Obama as happy warriors on the campaign trail, Plouffe ends up sounding a bit like Baghdad Bob:
In the age where the 800+ word column is dead, The Washington Post seemed to make an exception Thursday for political writer Jason Horowitz to explore a sterile saga about Mitt Romney’s ’94 Massachusetts senate run against Ted Kennedy.
The question is why did The Washington Post decide it was pertinent to publish this 3,800-word piece at this point in time? Is it because Mitt Romney gained another point in the Gallup poll? Regardless of the political angle, Horowitz's piece was filled with innuendo about Romney’s faith, as if the ’94 race was part of some grand Mormon conspiracy.
Sunday on ABC, as Rush Limbaugh noted on his show yesterday, Obama campaign senior adviser and former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney a "schoolyard bully."
Just a couple of hours later (the time stamp is noon on Sunday), what little is left of Newsweek published "Mitt Romney's Wimp Factor." Zheesh -- So which is it?
During the 1960 presidential campaign, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy was attacked for his Catholic faith, then viewed by many as subversive and un-American. Anti-Mormon bigots are now targeting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his Mormon beliefs, which are now viewed by many “progressives” as a “transparent and recent fraud.” But in those 50 years, the role of the media has changed significantly.
When it comes to opposition research, there is often only one difference between a candidate’s vicious negative ad and an “investigative” news report: the undeserved patina of media “objectivity” and respectability.
Take the Washington Post’s Jason Horowitz 5,400-word “expose” on how Mitt Romney may have pinned a boy down and cut his hair, in 1965. 1965. That’s almost a half-century ago. Even if every detail were accurate – and they weren’t – a journalist could pull a muscle in the hyper-aggressive attempt to make it somehow relevant to the present moment, or even the recent past.
If the people who run the Washington Post Company need an archetypal example of why their newspaper publishing segment is in so much financial trouble (as found here: a $22.6 million first-quarter 2012 loss following on the heels of an $18.2 million loss for all of 2011) and is bleeding customers (per the Audit Board of Circulations, the paper's daily and Sunday circulation dropped by 7.8% and 15.7%, respectively, during the year ended March 31), they only need wonder why the paper's editors tasked Jason Horowitz, with help from Julie Tate, to produce what turned into a 5,400-word writeup ("Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents") on Mitt Romney's high school years in the mid-1960s which appeared Thursday.
One can tell by the headline alone that it's an attempt at a hit piece. Horowitz led with the most damning incident he could find, and somehow gave it anti-homosexual overtones:
On Tuesday, The Washington Post's Jason Horowitz mocked Grover Norquist's vigilance (or rigidity) against tax increases as "almost religious" in its intensity, his no-new-taxes pledge a "sacred text." So when the sandal is on the other foot, and a leftist shows great vigilance (or rigidity) against any reduction in the growth of Medicare and Social Security, is that "almost religious"? Not to reporter Ben Pershing in his Friday article on ultraliberal Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland. The headline was "Edwards emerging as liberals' voice." Pershing portrayed Edwards as polite, but firm in her refusal to allow entitlement programs to be on the bargaining table. He began:
Rep. Donna F. Edwards had a clear message for the small group of constituents who gathered Saturday at an auto-glass store in Lanham: “Protecting Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are incredibly important, more now than ever before.”
Jason Horowitz's July 6 piece in the Style section of the Washington Post, "Faith & Politics," was a continuation of the mainstream media's crusade against Michele Bachmann and her family. Half anthropology report from the darkest Midwest, half political hit-piece, Horowitz's article sniped at the Bachmanns' opposition to homosexuality and their strong Lutheran faith.
King Kamehameha's got nothing on Sen. Daniel Inouye (D). The former may have united the island kingdom of Hawai'i in 1810, but the latter's been a reliable vehicle of federal taxpayer pork for the Aloha State for more than 50 years.
That, in a nutshell is the thrust of "Tropical reign," today's Style section front page profile of the 86-year-old president pro tempore of the Senate:
More than any other statesman in the history of these volcanic islands -- more than Kamehameha the Great, who united them into a kingdom in 1810, or Gov. John Burns, who led the political revolution that established Democratic Party rule here in 1954 -- Inouye, 86, has ruled over Hawaii.
As the federal funding he has provided has grown, his political opposition has waned. Hawaiians have voted for Inouye for 56 years, first for territorial representative in 1954, then for Congress in 1959. In 1963, he became the nation's first Japanese American senator. His uninterrupted stretch of service in the country's most exclusive chamber is the second-longest in history behind the recently deceased Robert Byrd, whom Inouye replaced as the Senate's senior member and president pro tempore in June. That position, ceremonial though it is, puts him third in line to succeed the president.
The Washington Post ran a story slamming pollster Scott Rasmussen on Thursday on the front page of the Style section. Political reporter Jason Horowitz earnestly channeled the Democratic spin from the story's beginning:
ASBURY PARK, N.J. -- Here is a fun fact for those in the political polling orthodoxy who liken Scott Rasmussen to a conjurer of Republican-friendly numbers: He works above a paranormal bookstore crowded with Ouija boards and psychics on the Jersey Shore.
Here's the fact they find less amusing: From his unlikely outpost, Rasmussen has become a driving force in American politics.
Democrats surely dislike how Rasmussen's polls (like this week's showing Harry Reid losing by 11 points) affect the optimism of their donors and activists. But are his numbers accurate?
On Tuesday's front page, Washington Post reporter Jason Horowitz reported press secretary Robert Gibbs will eventually be promoted out of that pedestrian job of White House press secretary and become a senior strategist. Team Obama's disdain for their press enablers was a given:
By and large, positive coverage has always been a fact of life in the Obama universe, so it's not surprising that the administration's press secretary, especially one who is personally close to the president, is less interested in wooing the reporters in the room than sparring with them.
Horowitz noted some terse exchanges from several weeks ago between Gibbs and the network correspondents, but suggested that the press was increasingly "anachronistic" and irrelevant and Gibbs' job was "less lofty" than it used to be:
The Washington Post is still having trouble with how the voters rejected their favorite Democrats. The bias erupted in a front page headline on Tuesday:
'Scozzafava' turns into epithet
It's a Grand Old Purging as moderate's ouster spotlights Republican dysfunction
Actually, that could be the motto of the Washington Post: "Spotlighting Republican Dysfunction Since 1968." Reporter Jason Horowitz brought that same jaunty liberal attitude into the body of the story:
A little-known state assemblywoman with moderate Republican views and a mouthful of a surname, Scozzafava's bid for an open seat in New York's 23rd Congressional District drew trash talk from conservative leaders hoping to purge her from the party, mash notes from White House-dispatched Democratic suitors that included Bill Clinton, and the unblinking gaze of political professionals fascinated by her role as the problem child for a dysfunctional Republican Party.
Like most of the leftist illiterati in the U.S., trash novelist Erica Jong has revealed symptoms of what appears to be a mental nervous breakdown over this election. In an interview to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Jong fretted that an Obama loss would "spark the second American Civil War" and also that his loss would cause "blood to run in the streets." She also admitted that she was experiencing a "paralyzing terror" about the upcoming election. It seems that those most mentally disturbed by this election inhabit the American far left, revealing a seeming delicately balanced mental state -- or maybe I should say an unbalanced one.
Jason Horowitz of the New York Observer brings us Jong's overwrought blather and also notes that Jong seems to think the same worries are being echoed by many of her jet-setting comrades. Jong notes that Jane Fonda, Naomi Wolf, Ken Follett and others have agreed with her that the world will end if the messiah isn't elected.