After failing completely to offer one headline covering some liberal guy named Ralph Northam for most of 2013 -- he's the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia -- The Washington Post on Wednesday noticed "Northam targets Jackson's rhetoric." Because the Post wants absolutely every story on this campaign to be about Rev. E.W. Jackson's rhetoric. They put the ball on the tee and nudged Northam to cream it.
Reporters Michael Laris and Antonio Olivo announced “Northam cast his opponent as dangerously divisive and personally irresponsible -- someone who would hurt the state both economically and with his social values if elected. In his closing statement, Northam condemned Jackson's rhetoric.” Laris explained Jackson had a "national" reputation as a "flamethrower" of rhetoric:
If Republican E.W. Jackson's critics were hoping for an explosive verbal performance at an Arlington lieutenant governor's debate Tuesday, they were probably disappointed.
Instead, the Chesapeake minister, who has made a national name with sharp-tongued comments on gays, Planned Parenthood and President Obama, sought to rise above his reputation as a flamethrower by talking in soaring terms about returning the country to a place of dignity and Virginia to a sense of unity.
In a debate that touched on issues including abortion, home-schooling and tax cuts, the role of reminding viewers of Jackson's more incendiary ways fell to Ralph Northam (D), the pediatric neurologist and state senator from Norfolk running against Jackson.
Oh, it didn’t “fall” to Northam, and it also didn’t fall to debate moderator Peggy Fox, who also brought up “incendiary” Jackson comments. The Post has been trying to make this the dominant issue of the race for months, and then it quoted Northam on the front page of the Metro section restating its argument:
"What I do in church translates to what I do in everyday life," Northam said. "Whether it's said in my church or whether it's said in my medical clinic or whether it's said before the Senate, it's on me and it's what I believe in. Our job as lieutenant governor is going to be to unite people and to move Virginia in a positive direction. Making statements against LGBT individuals, making statements against Democrats, that they're anti-God, that they're anti-life - those kinds of statements, they're all offensive. We're all Virginians."
Without the slightest bit of irony about their complete inattention toward covering Northam, the Post reporter declared “The two candidates were hungry for the opportunity to introduce themselves. In Virginia's off-year elections, getting attention on down-ballot races is tough, and the campaigns hoped communicating even the most basic biographical outlines could boost their candidate.”
While Jackson has been repeatedly painted as “incendiary,” Laris and Olivo introduced Northam like they Xeroxed a campaign brochure:
Northam, the son of a judge and a nurse who grew up on Virginia's Eastern Shore, attended the Virginia Military Institute. He went to medical school on an Army scholarship before serving in the military for eight years. He was stationed in Germany during Operation Desert Storm, helping triage and treat injured service members. He then returned home to work as a pediatric neurologist.
The Democrat's tight relationship with the abortion industry -- NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia calls him a "strong pro-choice leader" -- is attributed only as emerging from Northam's background in pediatrics:
In Virginia's General Assembly, Northam's highest-profile fights have been influenced by his medical background. During the debate he touted a successful bipartisan effort to ban smoking in Virginia restaurants and noted his vigorous opposition to a Republican bill last year that would have required a transvaginal ultrasound before some abortions.
Northam wasn't "incendiary" for suggesting Jackson was "personally irresponsible," suggesting he was a mess with his own personal finances: "I have run a successful business. I have never been in bankruptcy. I have never had liens placed against my property. I have been responsible, and I have never been sued by my home town for not paying my taxes. It is a tremendous responsibility running an $80 billion budget."
Laris and Olivo gently added: "Some of those legal actions against Jackson were later dismissed." But the Post has also focused on those issues more than once -- because they're Democrats first, and journalists somewhere down the list.
Journalists wouldn't wait months to do a story on Ralph Northam.