You could call it bias-by-boring-headline. This typically happens when liberal Democrats do something scandalous or at the very least questionable and a major newspaper covers the story and publishes it, but headline editors give it such a milquetoast headline as to essentially tell the reader,"You'll fall asleep reading this. Move along."
That's essentially the case with the Washington Post's headline* this morning for a story about how Democratic state legislators in Maryland are circling the wagons to protect 2014 gubernatorial front-runner Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) from a steady stream of bad ObamaCare-related news which could sink his chances for the Democratic nomination and/or the governor's office in November.
In the liberal fantasyland that is the Associated Press, it's only Republican governors with an eye on 2016 that are fraught with potential problems that could end their campaigns before they begin. In their May 2 AP story, reporters Bob Lewis and Charles Babington sought to convince readers that the Republicans governors of Virginia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Florida are all train wrecks.
Lewis and Babington focused in particular on Virginia's Bob McDonnell and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, who are unpopular in no small part because of moves they made on tax policy. McDonnell signed off on massive tax increases for transportation, while Jindal’s failed attempt to reform his state tax code -- making the state income tax free but boosting some sales taxes to make up for lost revenue -- has eroded his once-stellar popularity. Of course, plenty of Democratic governors thinking about 2016 also hiked taxes, but they were curiously left out of the mix.
"After an extraordinarily productive two years in which Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley muscled through legislation on several top priorities — including same-sex marriage,gun control, transportation funding and repealing the death penalty — the question is: What, if anything, is there left for him to do before leaving office?"
That's how Washington Post staffer John Wagner opened his Metro section front-page April 22 story "O'Malley plans for rest of term -- and beyond." Nowhere in his 24-paragraph story did Wagner -- no stranger to NewsBusters criticism by the way -- cite any conservative or Republican critics of the liberal Democratic governor, a prospective 2016 presidential contender.
As if it weren't enough for the Washington Post to cheerlead for Maryland's new stringent gun control law in the editorial pages and in biased news accounts, staff writers Aaron Davis and Paul Schwartzman today rewarded liberal governor and potential 2016 presidential contender Martin O'Malley with a 62-paragraph front-page victory lap headlined "Behind Md.'s tough gun law, a personal push."
"Md. governor driven by one fear: Could Newtown happen here?" insisted the headline on the the jump page. Left virtually unexamined, of course, would be how O'Malley's push for stringent gun control would help him campaign among liberal base voters in the 2016 primaries. No, Davis and Schwartzman painted O'Malley as driven by a purely altruistic desire to spare Maryland parents the pain of burying their children thanks to a mad gunman's rage:
A funny thing happened on the way to banning assault weapons in the deep blue state of Maryland. Some Democrats in the overwhelmingly-Democratic House of Delegates are considering amendments to reform the bill to carve out some exemptions. Given the composition of the state government, it may be the best bet that gun rights advocates in Maryland can realistically hope for in the short term, but to the Washington Post, it's a "gut[ting]" of Gov. O'Malley's proposal, even as House Democrats pushing changes say they are seeking to avoid banning guns merely on the basis of cosmetic features.
In his page B1 March 20 story, "Proposals would allow some semiautomatic rifles in Md.," staff writer Aaron C. Davis opened by lumping in "veterans and sportsmen" unfavorably with the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooter and the Beltway snipers by noting that "[s]ome semiautomatic rifles" that were "popular" with the former were used by the latter and could be legal under a revised gun ban in the Old Line State.
The Maryland legislature recently voted to abolish capital punishment in the state, making Maryland the sixth state in the last six years to eliminate the death penalty.
The primary argument for repealing the law is that our justice system is imperfect and it's possible an innocent person could be condemned. Indeed, anti-death penalty activists presented Kirk Bloodsworth, a former death-row inmate, convicted of the 1984 rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl. His conviction was overturned on appeal after the court found the prosecution had withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense. However, Bloodsworth was retried and sentenced to two life terms, a conviction later upheld on appeal. In 1993, Bloodsworth was exonerated after DNA linked someone else to the crime.
How resounding was Mitt Romney's rout of Barack Obama tonight? In the post-debate spin room, a hopelessly muddled Martin O'Malley, Dem guv from Maryland and supposedly an Obama surrogate, wound up referring to "President Romney"! Freudian slip, anyone?
For good measure, pressed by MSNBC's Larry O'Donnell—clearly dismayed by Obama's dismal performance—to suggest what he'd recommend the prez do differently next time, a demoralized O'Malley could only mutter "uh, I don't know." View the video after the jump.
Soledad O'Brien apparently thinks President Obama should get the credit for states with low unemployment, as she pressed two Republican governors to admit on Friday's Starting Point.
Interviewing Gov. Terry Branstad (R-Iowa), O'Brien mentioned his state's low unemployment rate and asked "Do you think that the governors get the credit for that or shouldn't President Obama get the credit for that?" She phrased the question as though Obama should not only receive some, but the whole of the credit for the state's low unemployment. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
ABC’s Terry Moran was caught on-screen Sunday laughing as Barack Obama surrogate Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) bashed presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
When the Nightline host filling in for This Week’s vacationing George Stephanopoulos realized he was on camera, he tempered his glee and put on a more serious face (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Trying to help Democrats come up with a line of attack against the GOP in November on Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory teed up Maryland Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley to slam fellow guest, Republican Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell: "Do you think your counterpart here in Virginia would be a good running mate for Romney or would you cast him as an extremist?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
What would justify such a label? The answer to that can be found in this earlier question Gregory hit McDonnell with: "You backed an abortion bill initially that included a very invasive procedure as part of an ultrasound that the state would have required and then you backed off of that. Were you wrong to support that initially or did you simply back off because the political heat got turned up the way it did?"
Since ascending to the head of the Democratic Governor’s Association last year, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has been fashioning a national profile for himself as a responsible fiscal steward of Maryland’s finances. The Washington Post and Baltimore Sun are dutifully helping O’Malley perpetuate that fiction.
O’Malley released his fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget last month, which includes, among other taxes, an income tax hike for 20 percent of taxpayers to close a $1 billion structural deficit.
The media may be busy trying to reelect Barack Obama, but it's never too early for them to start grooming the 2016 field. Look no further than the Washington Post, for example.
"O'Malley to set ambitious agenda," read the teaser headline posted this morning at the Post's website. "Watch the Maryland governor deliver his sixth State of the State address now," read the caption beneath a photo showing Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley in front of two American flags. A few hours later, following the speech, an updated teaser headline reading "Gov. O'Malley calls for 'tough choices'" takes readers to an article about O'Malley's February 1 speech in which the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) chief "urged Maryland lawmakers to act on gay marriage, tax hikes."
Political analysts across the country were closely watching votes on two key initiatives in Ohio Tuesday to get a sense as to where the nation is on the power of labor unions as well as the President's signature piece of healthcare legislation.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday, the failure of Ohio's Issue 2 - which strikes down Governor John Kasich's (R) anti-collective bargaining law by public unions - was raised several times as a major defeat for Republicans, but not once in three hours did the overwhelming passage of Issue 3 - which effectively makes ObamaCare illegal in the state - surface.
Liberal Democrats love to couch increased government spending as "investments." It's smart political marketing, but it's a less-than-truthful spin on what government spending is or does. When's the last time you got a dividend check from your state government giving you your share of the "profit" from a road or bridge project?
But it's when journalists buy into that spin that we at NewsBusters really have a problem.
Take the Baltimore Sun, which today told readers that while rivals Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and former Governor Bob Ehrlich (R) are focused on the economy in their closing campaign pitches, "Ehrlich wants tax cuts; O'Malley wants more investment."
In my beloved home state of Maryland, this year's governor's race is a rematch of the contest four years ago, and most polls show a close race, with current Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) up a few points over former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R), but at or below the crucial 50 percent mark.
Enter the Washington Post, which two days ago released a poll that shows O'Malley up by 11 points, breaking the 50 percent mark. As might be expected, Post journalists are hyping the results, casting the race as possibly starting to break decisively in O'Malley's direction.
In an online chat, the Post's Chris Cillizza vouched for the poll by stating that pollster "Jon Cohen is the best in the business, so yes," O'Malley has indeed opened up a wide lead over Ehrlich. Today, the Post's Mike DeBonis penned a column about how O'Malley is "right now, in a place where a lot of his fellow Democrats around the country sure wish they were."
Eh, not so fast, veteran Maryland political observer Blair Lee argues in an October 1 article for Gazette.net.
The Post poll oversamples demographic groups that are O'Malley-friendly and doesn't take into account the heightened energy among Maryland Republicans and depressed primary turnout from Democrats this year, Lee argues (emphasis mine):
How entwined is the Democratic Party with the nutroots nation? It would seem that they are now getting their campaign slogans directly from them.
Despite their efforts to pretend that they have nothing to do with such radical organizations as Moveon.org (one only need look so far as the Petraeus ads), the Dem's do indeed appear to be getting their talking points and campaign ideas from them. Why hasn't the media noticed?
In recent days, the Democrats have launched a new campaign known as ‘Exxon-McCain '08.'
Democrats will be holding ‘press conferences' in key swing states to promote the supposed GOP ticket. Some Democrats themselves have tried to promote the campaign tactic through the media, as can be demonstrated at PolitickerNJ.com, where U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Fair Lawn) and state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) can both be seen referencing ‘Exxon John'.
Liberal Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is in trouble with the voters who elected nearly 15 months ago. In a state that is deep blue in presidential elections and has a 2:1 Democratic registration advantage, the former local Irish rocker is getting a chorus of boos from voters with poll numbers in the mid to high 30s. One major factor: the tax-hiking special legislative session he called in fall 2007.
Not to worry, Governor, the Washington Post has got your back. Here's the headline for the top Metro section story in my January 23 Maryland Home Edition of the Post:
It becomes apparent, however, that rebuilding O'Malley's positive press is high on the Post's agenda. Reporter John Wagner wrote of O'Malley's plan to take "modest steps" towards fulfilling what O'Malley insists is "protecting our priorities." Wagner takes care to focus on how a slowing economy could prove an obstacle to O'Malley's policy goals, but fails to address concerns that O'Malley's tax hikes could be part of compounding the problem by disincentivizing business from expanding or moving to the state:
Another liberal Democratic governor has backed off an illegal immigrant-friendly challenge to the new federal Real ID law. Yet in their coverage of Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D-Md.) reversal, the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post failed to note how drastic the Democratic governor's reversal was, nor to consider if low polls numbers and public disapproval were driving factors for the change of plans.
Bowing to federal pressure to crack down on undocumented immigrants, the O'Malley administration announced yesterday that in two years it would begin requiring all driver's license applicants to present a birth certificate, passport or some other documentation to prove they are legal residents of the United States.
*Update/Correction (15:28 | January 11): Grasmick has donated to Republicans running for statewide office (OpenSecrets tracks only federal contributions), as Mark Newgent of the RedMaryland blog notes, yet all told her state and federal contributions to the GOP are quite smaller than that of those to the Democratic Party. See Newgent's item here.
The January 10 Baltimore Sun, reporting on an escalating personnel struggle in Annapolis, dutifully noted liberal Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D) charge that state school superintendent Nancy Grasmick is a "pawn" of the GOP. Grasmick has served under three governors, two Democrats (Govs. Schaefer and Glendening), and Republican Robert Ehrlich.
Yet completely missing from reporter Liz Bowie's article was any mention of Grasmick's historic political ties to Democrats. Indeed, 30 seconds in an online would yield campaign contribution data showing Grasmick has only given money to Democrats.
According to OpenSecrets.org, in the past seven years Grasmick has given money to incumbent Democratic congressmen or congressional candidates such as Elijah Cummings, Dutch Ruppersburger, and John Sarbanes. Grasmick also gave $500 to the state Democratic Party in 1999, the first year of liberal Gov. Glendening's second term. Not once during her tenure was a contribution to a Republican* listed.
A few months after cheering Martin O'Malley's successful push for tax hikes, the Washington Post's John Wagner is lamenting the Democratic governor may have to settle for a "modest" agenda in 2008 due to budget constraints.
Don't hold your breath for similar concern about everyday Marylanders and how they may have to settle for more modest spending thanks to tax hikes, particularly a boost in the sales tax to six percent from five percent.
Yesterday I noted that the Washington Post's John Wagner virtually cheered Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and the Democratic Maryland General Assembly for its recently-concluded, tax-hiking special legislative session. Well today the hosannas migrated from the front page to the editorial one. The closing paragraphs are rather telling (emphasis mine):
Politically, Mr. O'Malley will have more than higher taxes to show for his gamble. The new revenue will not only close the deficit, it will also help to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, extend health-care coverage to 100,000 lower-income Marylanders, build public schools, and add facilities for state colleges and universities. In addition, and critically, the governor secured about $420 million in fresh annual revenue for transportation, the biggest infusion of new money in 15 years...
Facing a budget shortfall due in large part to overspending in years past, Gov. Martin O'Malley called a special session of the Maryland General Assembly to consider a package of tax hikes and a referendum on legalizing slot machines. Now that the freshman Democratic governor has proven successful in pushing through both, the Washington Post congratulated O'Malley with a front page article replete with pats on the back and attaboys from O'Malley's fellow Democrats. The icing on the cake: a signing ceremony photograph (shown above*) of O'Malley that appears to show him pumping his fist in victory.
Staff writer John Wagner opened his November 20 article with triumphal language that painted O'Malley as a respected statesman: