Paper or PR Firm? WashPost Gurgles About 'The Cachet of Having Jill Biden as a Customer'

March 2nd, 2021 7:15 PM

Outgoing Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron claimed the Post has no “ideological attachment” to the Democrats. But the front of Tuesday’s Style section had a splashy article headlined “The cachet of having Jill Biden as a customer.”

The paper that now touts merchants getting thrills up their leg for a Jill Biden visit is the same paper where the "gender and society" columnist compared Melania Trump to a "garage-sale lampshade."

Above the large color photo of Dr. Biden was the words “On recent trips, the first lady had made stops at Black- and immigrant-owned businesses”. Post reporter Jada Yuan began with the thrills up the leg at Brewer’s Café in Richmond, run by Ajay Brewer: 

It was such a surprise that no one in his family even thought to get a picture with her. “We were so caught off guard, we did not do probably what we should have done in that regard,” he says, laughing. It was just one of an emerging pattern of unannounced drop-bys at small businesses that the first lady has been making that seem anything but random. The stop on Wednesday was the third in recent weeks at a Black- or immigrant-owned small business.

The story also ended with Brewer being dazzled: 

Brewer, meanwhile, is still reeling — and grateful.

“I mean, hell, that probably will never happen again,” he says. Biden’s visit may mean that people who’d never venture to his neighborhood will now seek out his coffee shop. “And as a business owner,” he says, “that’s all you want, for people to know that you’re there.”

The Post also returned to The Sweet Lobby bakery. Two weeks ago, Post reporter Jacqueline Alemany gushed over Mrs. Biden’s visit there under the headline “Scrunchies and dog walking: the country gets a taste of Jill Biden's radical normalcy.” Whatever that means.

The Sweet Lobby on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, is still feeling the bump two weeks after Biden’s visit. She came by in the morning two days before Valentine’s Day, on her way to Camp David for the weekend and ordered one of everything — more than $100 worth of cupcakes and macarons. “I was literally shaking,” says Donique Gentles, the manager who was working the register.

Yuan even touted Dr. Jill hitting a local news shop and buying magazines and newspapers....all about the Bidens and the vice president. Buying commemorative copies of the Post, smart suck-up move! Synergy! 

Ana Maria and Stephen Bota laminated the photo they took with the first lady in their Dupont Circle shop, the Newsroom, and keep it on a shelf behind the register for everyone to see.

It was Jan. 29 when the Secret Service, and then Jill Biden, came in and spent $95.23 on newspapers and magazines. Stephen Bota points out that she easily could have sent an aide on the errand but chose to come herself. The first lady wanted multiple copies of Time magazine with the Bidens on the cover, the Vogue magazine with two different, controversial covers featuring Vice President Harris, back issues of The Washington Post from the inauguration, plus several other women’s magazines, apparently for casual reading.

“It’s like I won the lottery, to have someone that important come into our store,” Ana Maria says.

Baron boasts the paper is "independent," but you can even get the scent of partisan coordination with the photo credits. The large front-page picture of Jill Biden in Richmond is credited as a White House photo. The large picture of the Botas "winning the lottery" with Jill is credited to Anthony Bernal, the first lady's senior adviser. Yuan noted Bernal advised her about the Bota visit, since he goes to that shop.