WaPo Puffs College President Who 'Snarled' at Pro-Life Obama Protesters

Last May, The Washington Post highlighted Patricia McGuire, the president of Trinity Washington University, for a speech lashing out at the "snarl of hatred" of pro-life protesters of President Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame. McGuire is the cover girl of Sunday’s Washington Post Magazine, and her vicious liberal speech is a mere footnote in a puff piece by education reporter Daniel de Vise.

The cover said "The soul of Trinity: For two decades, Pat McGuire has been consumed by turning a Catholic college into a model for urban higher ed." [Italics theirs.] As is typical in the Post, McGuire is a raging liberal, but the reporter never uses the L word. They simply suggest that at some point, she found the "right" side of history:

She enrolled in fall 1970, "a conservative kid from a Nixon household," still wearing skirts and knee socks. She didn't own a single pair of blue jeans. A faculty member gave her until the end of her first semester to "get radicalized." It didn't take that long: By the second month of school, she was buying her clothes at Sunny's Surplus, and by November she had joined the antiwar movement.

In paragraph 9, after celebrating her showing up at every Trinity basketball game, taking photographs, de Vise briefly and incidentally touched on her pro-Obama speech:

She is an introvert at heart and had had to learn to cope with the very public demands of the job. Yet, publicly, she is outspoken -- lashing out last May in a commencement address at the "religious vigilantism" of fellow Catholics who had tried to disrupt President Obama's speech at Notre Dame, and pushing the limits of what a university president is permitted to say in blog postings and op-ed pieces about such delicate matters as collegiate rankings and graduation rates.

For an "introvert at heart," McGuire displayed a very extroverted style of political attack against pro-lifers last year:

The real scandal is the spectacle of ostensibly Catholic mobs camping out at Notre Dame for the specific purpose of disrupting the commencement address of the nation's first African American president. This ugly spectacle is an embarrassment to all Catholics. The face that Catholicism shows to our new president should be one marked with the sign of peace, not distorted in the snarl of hatred."

What the Post really had no interest in addressing was at the very heart of McGuire’s impassioned pro-Obama speech: what is a Catholic college? Does it have a Catholic identity? Does it have to feel some sense of unity with the church, or can it become the very "radicalized" opposite of church teaching....that is only "ostensibly Catholic"?

The Post also published McGuire's liberal broadside around Pope Benedict's visit to Washington in 2008, denouncing the "mindless dogmatism" of the orthodox, threatening to demonstrate a caricature of "mindless adherence to theocratic rulers."

It could be easily guessed that the Post is much fonder of this liberal college president than whatever religious ideals the college once had. Near the end of the story, we see the Post’s boss offering his endorsement of the Post’s subject:

She received the coveted Leader of the Years award from the Greater Washington Board of Trade. At that 2007 ceremony, Washington Post Chairman Donald Graham offered this tribute: "How often can you say of a president: 'Without her, that college probably wouldn't be there at all'?"

To merge classroom and journalism metaphors, Patricia McGuire is clearly the publisher's pet.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis