To its credit, the Washington Post this morning is reporting an intramural spat roiling inside the Democratic Party in the Old Dominion. Turns out gay rights groups are livid that Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) has nominated Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones to chair the state's Democratic Party. Jones, who happens to be African-American and is a Baptist pastor, "has not endorsed same-sex marriage," the Post's Laura Vozzella noted, even though he has a strong record on other issues of import to the gay-rights movement.
"Activists are working to thwart Jones's election at the party's central committee meeting March 15 -- setting up a highly unusual battle for a sitting governor, whose choice for party chairman is rarely challenged," Vozzella noted in the fourth paragraph of her March 7 front-page story. While the Post deserves kudos for noting the rancorous division within the Democratic ranks, it remains to be seen if MSNBC -- which revels in portraying Republicans as bearing antipathy towards African-Americans -- will dare to cover the story at all.
Judging by the coverage, the Washington Post thinks a pro-life Republican state senator's sharply-worded rebuke of abortion-rights absolutists is twice as newsworthy as an ethically-challenged nominee to the Democratic governor's Cabinet.
How else do you explain the 16 paragraphs which Post staffer Rachel Weiner devoted to Virginia State Sen. Stephen Martin (R) compared with a mere eight paragraphs to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's (D) pick to head the state commerce department, Maurice Jones? Mr. Jones, Weiner noted citing an inspector general's report, "appears to have violated anti-lobbying law as well as internal HUD policy" when he was the deputy secretary for the federal department of Housing and Urban Development.
Appearing as a guest on Tuesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, New York magazine's John Heilemann described Virginia GOP gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli as a "horrible candidate" as he cautioned Democrats that Cuccinelli still might have triumphed over Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe if the Virginia Republican had had more money and if the government shutdown had not occurred. Heilemann began his analysis:
There may be no more misleading newspaper sentence in the Virginia governor’s race than this one from reporter Carol Morello in the October 26 Washington Post: “The two major-party candidates running for governor of Virginia are both practicing Catholics.”
The Post did not ask McAuliffe where near his home in Fairfax County he attends church every Sunday and holy day of obligation, which is part of the definition of a “practicing Catholic.” When radio show host Hugh Hewitt pressed him in 2007 about his church attendance after McAuliffe repeatedly cited his “Irish Catholic” bona fides in his autobiography “What a Party,” McAuliffe shot back “I don’t pretend to be a priest, and I don’t pretend to be citing…I don’t cite the Bible once in the book.”
The only competitive gubernatorial race this year is in Virginia, where the state's newspapers have demonstrated a viciously negative bias against conservative Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
One expert who is seeing all of this on the ground is Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which has been the pro-life counterpoint to Emily's List for more than 20 years. They're attacked by the Left as "the NRA of the anti-choice movement." When I asked her about the media's performance in this race, she began by explaining how pro-abortion reporters are extremely weak in asking the Democrat, Terry McAuliffe, to clarify where he stands on the extreme end of the abortion lobby's demands:
We've seen it with how the liberal media treats Joe Biden. The vice president's gaffes and erroneous statements are legendary, yet the press give ol' Uncle Joe gauzy treatment, celebrating rather than mocking him for his foibles and admiring his penchant for "retail politics." It's arguable that the Washington Post's Laura Vozzella did much the same for the Democrats' gubernatorial candidate in Virginia in her Metro section front-pager today, "When McAuliffe speaks, facts may take a back seat."*
Sure, the Post staffer noted, "McAuliffe's tendency to stretch the truth stands out even by the standards of politicians," but the Chicago-born Democratic politician owns it, by golly!
It's Science 101 time for the editorialists at the Washington Post, whose opposition to Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli is so fierce that they will literally twist the facts of life to fit their agenda.
As Steve Ertelt at Life News noted Tuesday afternoon, the editorial involved includes "a rather un-scientific claim," namely that "an unborn baby shortly after conception" doesn't achieve status as a "living being" until implantation in the mother's womb.
Another left-wing scribe on the Post payroll? Actually, no, that's all from the pen of Jennifer Rubin, who's supposed to be the paper's conservative opinion blogger, but who often takes to her blog to slam other conservatives. Rubin's second charge, that Cuccinelli is absurdly playing the victim, illustrates that she may not really read that much of the newspaper which employs her. As I noted yesterday, Terry McAuliffe did NOT come off smelling likes roses in the Post's page B1 story about McAuliffe-supporting Democrats pushing TechPAC to reverse their endorsement of Cuccinelli for Virginia governor.
As the Virginia governor's race heats up in the Washington Post's backyard, the liberal broadsheet is doing its best to skew coverage in a favorable manner for liberal Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former DNC chief and longtime friend of the Clintons.
An excellent contrast that illustrate's the paper's bias is how it has handled the back-to-back defections of Republican strategist Boyd Marcus and Democratic activist David "Mudcat" Saunders. The former is backing McAuliffe and the latter is endorsing Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The Post devoted stories to both men's decisions to buck the party line, but staff writer Laura Vozzella had a considerably longer piece on the front page of Metro which painted Marcus's move as a harbinger of a deeper GOP party split. [RELATED: check out my colleague Rich Noyes's study on Virginia newspapers slanting towards McAuliffe]
Last year, the national media spent the campaign highlighting (or inventing) problems for the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, while downplaying or ignoring the shortcomings in Barack Obama’s record as President. Next year, we’ll find out if the media will be more successful than they were in 2010, when they attempted to marginalize and discredit conservative Tea Party candidates in a campaign that turned out to be a crushing defeat for liberals.
This year, however, there’s really only one major political race on the political radar: the Virginia governor’s race between former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe (a longtime associate of Bill and Hillary Clinton) and Republican Ken Cuccinelli, currently the state’s attorney general. And a new MRC study of major newspapers in the state finds the GOP candidate is receiving far more negative coverage than his Democratic counterpart — just four positive stories vs. 95 negative ones, a whopping 24-to-1 margin.
The Washington Post ran its second tough front-pager in recent days on Terry McAuliffe, running for governor this fall in Virginia. But the headline at the very bottom of Page One was incredibly bland and weak: “McAuliffe enterprise off to slow start.”
The headline inside on A-12 was more accurate about Fredrick Kunkle’s story: “Venture haunts McAuliffe’s run for Va. Governor.” The venture is GreenTech, a “green” car company that McAuliffe first pitched as a job-creating business for Virginia – until Mississippi offered more subsidies. The worst part for Democrats came from guess who? An auto worker who grew frustrated over their “dysfunctional” attempt at its Mississippi assembly line:
The paper that gave you an obsessive focus on George Allen's "macaca" gaffe and Bob McDonnell's master's thesis is doing its best to run block for Terry McAuliffe. Just take today's front-pager by staff writer Paul Schwartzman, "Va. governor's race drips with venom," which amounts to 44 paragraphs of concern trolling about mean-spirited, partisan sniping in the Virginia governor's race between Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Democratic challenger Terry McAuliffe.
Of course, Schwartzman opened his story with and seemed chiefly concerned about the Cuccinelli camp's creative swipes at McAuliffe, whom, you may recall Schwartzman portrayed as "laid back" and "easygoing" in a puffy July 29 article:
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus is doing the right thing. He’s making the national media’s blatant partisan bias a prominent issue right out of the gate to Campaign 2016. Priebus sent a letter to CNN president Jeff Zucker and NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt demanding they cease efforts to air promotional Hillary Clinton films on their airwaves, or he’ll seek to stop any effort to allow presidential debates on their networks.
“It’s appalling to know executives at major networks like NBC and CNN who have donated to Democrats and Hillary Clinton have taken it upon themselves to be Hillary Clinton’s campaign operatives,” the RNC chair declared. “Their actions to promote Secretary Clinton are disturbing and disappointing. I hope Americans will question the credibility of these networks and that NBC and CNN will reconsider their partisan actions and cancel these political ads masked as unbiased entertainment.”
The Washington Post seems alarmed at the feel of Terry McAuliffe’s Democratic campaign for governor of Virginia, with its reporter writing “the most striking feature at many of McAuliffe’s appearances may be the almost studied absence of a campaign.”
So you have to laugh when the headline on Page One is “As politicians go, McAuliffe is laid-back on Va. bid.” Inside the paper, the headline was “With easy-going attitude, McAuliffle criss-crosses Va.” What’s funny about this article is there is no “news” in it. It’s just following McAuliffe around assessing his “game” on the campaign trail (and finding it lacking). When the Post had real “news” last week on McAuliffe, it buried it.
Appearing as a guest on Sunday's Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, PBS's Christina Bellantoni labeled Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli as "very conservative," but, when discussing presumptive Democratic nominee and former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe, the PBS NewsHour political editor did not include a liberal ideological label.
Additionally, as she recounted Cuccinelli's history of opposing abortion, she euphemistically inserted the word "freedoms" as being what the Virginia attorney general and former state senator has a record of "fighting against." Discussing Cuccinelli and GOP lieutenant govenor nominee E. W. Jackson, Bellantoni asserted:
The Washington Post put a poll it doesn’t like on the front of Sunday’s paper: Six months before Election Day in the Virginia gubernatorial race, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli “has a slender 46 to 41 percent edge over [Terry] McAuliffe (D) among all Virginia voters and a significant 51 to 41 percent lead among those who say they’re certain to cast ballots in November.”
The Post has tried for years to demonize Cuccinelli, so it can’t quite believe it. “But those numbers may change before then: The poll found that barely 10 percent say they are following the campaign ‘very closely’ and that nearly half of the electorate says they’re either undecided or could change their minds.” But Republicans are hardly undecided:
In this year's Virginia governor’s race, both party nominees are airing warm ads about family right now. GOP Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has been accused of lacking warmth. But that’s nothing next to what Buzzfeed dug up in former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe’s 2007 memoir “What A Party!”
Andrew Kaczynski offered a story where McAuliffe went to a Washington Post party while his wife was in the hospital preparing to have a baby. Somehow, this slipped past the Post itself when it reviewed the book in 2007:
The liberal media love to chastise Republicans for writing off minorities and urban voters, insisting that the GOP is becoming a regional and largely rural party. But that concern trolling doesn't cut both ways. The liberal media never seem to care that Democrats are losing rural, blue collar workers or that the party's failure to be competitive in the rural heartland is an indictment of their ability to bring the country together.
On Thursday, The Washington Post's Metro section put the Democrats' choice of “news” on the front page. “Democrats keep focus on abortion in Va. Race.” Post reporter Laura Vozzella relayed their outrage that GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli was caught by a Democrat tracker describing abortion as a moral evil like slavery, as did one of his big financial backers, the Susan B. Anthony List.
In "G.O.P.'s Ideological Split Appears in Virginia Governor's Race," New York Times reporter Trip Gabriel saw a controversial candidate on one side of the Virginia governor's race -- Republican candidate Kenneth Cuccinelli, Virginia's attorney general, who has support in the Tea Party and social conservative wings of the party.
His likely Democratic opponent? Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and controversial fundraiser for the Clinton administration. But judging by the paper's lack of coverage so far, only Republicans have a problem. Gabriel doesn't even mention Democrat McAuliffe until paragraph 12, and in an odd omission, calls him only "a businessman and former political operative."
As the 2013 Virginia governor's race is already underway, the Washington Post is determined to set the narrative early on for its readers, and it goes a little something like this: Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is a hard-right conservative who's too extreme for the Old Dominion, especially in contrast to job-creating businessman Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe, you may recall, served as Democratic National Committee chairman from 2001 to 2005. [Read related posts here and here]
In the December 6 paper, Post staff writer Ben Pershing continued the narrative with his treatment of liberal former congressman Tom Perriello's announcement the day prior that he would not run for governor and that he backs McAuliffe, giving the former DNC chief a virtual lock on the nomination next June. The race is now between "Cuccinelli, a conservative who is loved by his party base, and McAuliffe," a "businessman" who "previously ran the Democratic National Committee," Pershing noted. The term "liberal" was used twice in Pershing's 17-paragraph story, in relation to Perriello. There was no exploration of the question of McAuliffe's ideological leanings:
The 2013 gubernatorial races may be in many ways a prelude of the 2014 congressional midterms. That certainly was the case in 1993 and 2009. So it's no surprise that the liberal media are doing their best to start writing the narrative about presumptive Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli, who presently serves as the commonwealth's attorney general.
In a December 4 Swampland blog post, Time's Alex Altman exemplified the boilerplate comparison we're already seeing in other outlets like the Washington Post: Republican Ken Cuccinelli is a "controversial by design," staunch Tea Party conservative who could be a risky bet for the governor's mansion while his likely Democratic sparring partner, Terry McAuliffe is an ideologically nondescript inside-the-Beltway mover and shaker (emphasis mine):
The same newspaper that succeeded in felling Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) with its constant drumbeat of the "macaca" kerfuffle and which tried but failed to scuttle Bob McDonnell's 2009 run for Virginia governor with Thesisgate is ginning up its spin operation in service of the Democrats once again, looking forward 11 months into the future with the 2013 gubernatorial election in the Old Dominion.
Witness the November 29 front-pager by Errin Haines and Laura Vozzella entitled "Choice for governor of Va. may be stark." Right off the bat, we have bias by labeling which casts the Republican as an ideologue and the Democrat as a pragmatist.
An MSNBC host and the Chair of the Democratic National Committee walk into a bar . . . Al Sharpton, uttering one of the more absurd laugh lines of this political season, actually claimed on his MSNBC show this evening that his campaign in Florida against voter ID laws is "non-partisan."
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz apparently hadn't gotten the memo about pretending Sharpton was non-partisan. The Chair of the DNC, also a Dem Florida congresswoman, after delivering a super-partisan diatribe on the issue, giddily thanked Sharpton for his work--before the Reverend hastened to remind viewers that his campaign was "non-partisan." You're killing us, Al! View the video after the jump.
Walter Cronkite's longtime producer Leslie Midgley once wrote that "News is what an editor decides it is." News today is what TV producers decide can help President Obama. News that hurts isn't news at all.
In the last week, network anchors like Brian Williams repeated endlessly that the "Occupy Wall Street" protests are "increasingly resonating." It’s the story reporters will declare "isn’t going away" -- and they're going to see to it. They are using their microphones like yellow Hi-Liter pens to draw attention to it.
Appearing on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele criticized potential Democratic efforts to delay seating Republican Scott Brown as the Senator from Massachusetts as “unseemly,” but co-host Maggie Rodriguez replied: “Is that fair? Because wouldn’t your party do the exact same thing?”
Rodriguez went on to argue: “Isn’t it true that when the GOP had the majority and the Democrats would filibuster something, you know, you didn’t like that....They’re trying to keep you from doing the same thing to them that you did when you were – had the majority.” Steele began to reply: “You’re mixing an apple and an orange here.” Rodriguez interrupted: “No, no, I’m really not.”
Steele explained: “To filibuster on an issue is not the same as seating a member in the United States Senate regardless of what’s going on in the Senate. There is a process that unfolds....[Democrats] made it very clear that [they] will obstruct this process...will change the rules in order for [them] to get [their] way in the Senate.” A shocked Rodriguez asked: “So you’re implying that they would do something illegal?” Steele replied: “I’m not – illegal is left for lawyers to decide. What I’m saying is that there is a process.”
Normally I wouldn't find a local market television reporter joining a gubernatorial campaign worth a post on a national blog like NewsBusters, but in this case the candidate is a very well-known national figure: Terry McAuliffe, the former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee who also chaired Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year and is a long-time Friend of Bill.
Dave Hughes reported Monday, on his DCRTV blog, that Allyson Wilson, a reporter and sometime anchor on Washington, DC's Fox-owned WTTG-TV/DT, “is leaving to join Democrat Terry McAuliffe's campaign for governor of Virginia. She'll be his deputy press secretary. Wilson is a native Washingtonian and a graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.”