When’s the last time a journalist referred to Barack Obama as a former “small-time agitator?” That’s exactly how the Washington Post described Republican Nikki Haley in a profile piece on Saturday. A headline for the article by political reporter Philip Rucker critiqued, “Nikki Haley goes from small-time agitator to credible candidate for S.C. governor.”
The piece on the conservative politician also offered this back-handed compliment: “Haley is friendly, and funny in a generic way; yet she keeps her politics from becoming too personal.”
When describing the state legislator’s crusade to force elected officials to publicly disclose their votes, Rucker skeptically explained:
There may have been more than an element of calculation in her effort. She traveled all over the state slamming fellow Republicans for their lack of transparency, and drawing plenty of attention to herself along the way.
To be fair, the Post piece does offer some positive, humanizing details about Haley. Readers learn:
She puts big decisions on hold for 24 hours, she said, "to take the emotion out of it." Her inner circle includes only two campaign advisers and her husband, Michael, a full-time National Guardsman. She still handles many of the details of her schedule, sleeps just a few hours a night and clicks out torrents of e-mail on her BlackBerry at all hours.
However, a Nexis search of Washington Post stories featuring Barack Obama and the phrase “small-time agitator” finds no matches. Perhaps if Haley had been a “community organizer,” she wouldn’t have received such cynical treatment.
In contrast, as the MRC’s Ken Shepherd reported on Thursday, Rucker and Ann Gerhart offered a fawning 60 paragraph piece on liberal Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. The Post co-writers enthused, “She made her life the law and became consumed by it -- and happily so, by all accounts.” The article also highlighted Kagan’s love for poker and the opera.
For more examples of the biased coverage Nikki Haley has recieved, see these NewBusters accounts.
Rucker can be reached on Twitter here.