The Washington Post is quite explicit: It’s a publicity organ for the gay lobby. They put the fight for gay marriage in Virginia on the front page Monday – and on the front page of the Style section. In about 3,000 words of reporting, there’s not a single social conservative named and quoted in it. There's no debate, only the inevitable and "historic" winners.
The Style article was just the latest in a long trail of plaintiff puff pieces headlined “A Virginia family has three loving warriors in the fight for gay marriage.” Style writer Richard Leiby oozed that 16-year-old Emily Schall-Townley bounced into the room in “a spontaneous scene in an aggressively normal Richmond suburb,” as if there’s anything spontaneous about an interview with plaintiffs vetted and selected by gay activists, as Leiby himself explained:
Matea Gold and Robert Barnes utterly failed this morning as ostensibly objective journalists. In their front-page stories covering yesterday's Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC, the Washington Post staffers front-loaded their stories with melodramatic political language suitable for a left-wing "campaign finance reform" group's press release rather than objective news copy.
On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a one-paragraph order in Little Sisters of the Poor et al v. Sebeluis et al. It told the Sisters that for the case to continue with no enforcement of the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, they need only to inform the government in writing "that they are non-profit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services." That's easy, because that's what they are, and that's their position.
As a result, the government has been "enjoined from enforcing against the applicants the challenged provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related regulations pending final disposition." In other words, the Sisters will get their way until the case is decided. After the jump, I'll present a bit of the sane coverage by the Washington Post's Robert Barnes, followed by portions of the reality-avoiding writeup of Jesse Holland found at the Associated Press.
Democrat Mark Herring pulled out a squeaker of a win last fall, narrowly besting Republican Mark Obenshain to become Virginia's attorney general. In October, the Washington Post endorsed Herring, then a state senator, insisting that Herring "would hew to the former Virginia tradition of offering restrained and responsible advice" to the governor and state agencies and by refusing to "[turn] the office into a platform for ideological crusades."
He's not even a month into the job, and yet Mr. Herring is set to do just that, announcing yesterday his intention to file a brief in federal court attacking the state's 2006 voter-approved constitutional definition of marriage as an institution consisting of one man and one woman. Although it's a stunning, bold-faced repudiation of his constitutional duty to defend the state constitution, you'd be hard-pressed to get that by reading Post court reporter Robert Barnes's coverage in Thursday's paper (emphasis mine):
A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 2/3rds of Americans want at least a part of the ObamaCare overhaul tossed by the Supreme Court when it decides HHS v. Florida in June. Thirty-eight percent of respondents in the poll want the entire law thrown out while 29 percent say just a part of it being thrown out would suffice.
Yet rather than lead with these numbers in their story today, Washington Post reporters Robert Barnes and Scott Clement chose a question from the April 5-8 poll that shows 50 percent of Americans think the Court "will rule on the health-care reform case mainly on the basis... of their partisan political views."
In an unsigned per curiam opinion issued today, the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out a federal judge's revision of Texas's congressional redistricting map, finding that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas had "substituted its own concept of 'the collective public good' for the Texas Legislature’s determination of which policies serve 'the interests of the citizens of Texas.'" The court "appears to have unnecessarily ignored the State’s plans in drawing certain individual districts," the Court added. No justice dissented and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas issued a concurrence.
Yet in teasing Supreme Court correspondent Robert Barnes's story on the Washington Post's website, editors colored the decision in a way that portrayed the move as the justices having "throw[n] out... electoral maps favoring minorities." [see screencap below page break]
The Washington Post puffed up the rookie performance of liberal Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan on the front page Monday. The headline was “Kagan made her mark in a bold rookie term.” But inside the paper was the more obvious conclusion, in the headline: “Kagan soothed liberal fears by shoring up the court’s left flank.”
Reporter Robert Barnes is one of many liberal reporters who like pretending that Kagan was somehow an ideological mystery during the confirmation process, despite being picked to be Barack Obama’s solicitor general before the high court.
"Issue likely to be debated in 2012 race," a subheadline to the story notes although nowhere in his 37-paragraph article does reporter Robert Barnes cite polling data that suggest capital punishment is an issue of primary or even secondary concern to likely 2012 presidential voters.
ObamaCare's individual mandate is perfectly constitutional, arguments to the contrary are nonsensical "tea party stuff," and Chief Justice John Roberts shouldn't be counted as a solid vote against the health care purchase mandate when the case comes before the Supreme Court.
That's the perspective of former Reagan solicitor general Charles Fried.
In a February 14 story, Washington Post Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes cited Fried as a scholar with no dog in the ObamaCare fight:
On the front of Sunday's Washington Post, Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes unfurled the first liberal spin line of the battle over a new Supreme Court justice: that there's no way whoever Obama nominates will be more liberal than retiring John Paul Stevens. Barnes said "almost certainly" the court will be more conservative after Obama's second nominee is confirmed.
Can anyone imagine the media buying that spin for a second after, say, Chief Justice Rehnquist passed away? Oh, Bush can't possibly make the court more conservative. "Almost certainly," the court will be more liberal now.
Barnes completely accepted Justice Stevens laying down a marker for his half of the court, and made it the newspaper's own front-page spin:
The Washington Post and The New York Times published similar Supreme Court "analysis" pieces on their front pages Wednesday offering the theme that the court under Chief Justice John Roberts is moving boldly to the right, and the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor will have no effect on this bold shift. It sounded like two newspapers trying to cool down the controversy over judicial liberalism as the Sotomayor hearings approach.
The Post headline was "Term Saw High Court Move to the Right: Roberts-Led March Likely to Continue." Reporter Robert Barnes argued:
The court's term avoided the blockbuster decisions that at one point seemed inevitable. But its path was clear: a patient and steady move to the right led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., one that is likely to continue even if President Obama is successful in adding Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the high court -- and perhaps two others like her.
While conservatives were unhappy with the incrementalism of some Roberts opinions, Barnes wrote:
In an otherwise unbiased article on Justice Anthony Kennedy, Washington Post staffer Robert Barnes seemed to dismiss the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in last June's District of Columbia v. Heller case as one in which the Court "found" gun rights in the text of the amendment, as though the notion that the Second Amendment protected an individual's right to keep and bear arms was somehow novel revisionism ungrounded in the plain text of the document.:
Kennedy was the only justice in each majority as the divided court ruled out the death penalty for child-rapists, found in the Second Amendment the individual right to a firearm and provided constitutional protections to the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Barnes's language calls to mind how critics of Roe v. Wade and similar cases slam the Court for "finding" a right to an abortion in the Constitution where no such guarantee exists in plain English. Of course the Second Amendment itself is quite plain its its language:
The District of Columbia is going to the Supreme Court to protect its 1976 law that effectively disarmed its crime-plagued law-abiding civilian populace. In addition to an editorial cheering on the appeal, Washington's largest broadsheet is all to happy to skew its front-page coverage accordingly.
In their September 5 article "D.C. Case Could Shape Gun Laws," reporters Robert Barnes and David Nakamura quoted from gun ban proponents Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) and D.C. Attorney General Linda Singer as they laid out their arguments for the gun ban. Only one opponent of the gun ban was quoted, and even then his ink was wasted on explaining his next move: