WashPost Devotes Seven Whole Pages (with Paintings) to Glorifying Three Anti-Nuke Kooks

The Washington Post can sometimes sound like a pamphlet for the “servants of God.” Who knew? The Post  jumped completely off the deep end of liberal bias on Tuesday with an enormous 10,000-word story taking up seven full pages of the Style section. For what? For three radical leftist protesters destroying property to sneak into the Oak Ridge nuclear security complex. It was titled “The Prophets of Oak Ridge,” and broken in 14 “Chapters” like it was a novel. Five paintings illustrated and glorified the tale, in addition to photos and charts.

Post reporter Dan Zak boldly and repeatedly used religious lingo, proclaiming the leftists were the “servants of God” and America’s national-security installations were “the devil.” It began:

“THE DEVIL WAS JUST OVER PINE RIDGE. From the deserted parking lot on the edge of town, the three servants of God looked into darkness.”

The religious talk continued:

They crept across the marshy field, led by some combination of God and Google Maps. Behind them was the city of Oak Ridge, Tenn., 30 minutes west of Knoxville. On the other side of Pine Ridge was Bear Creek Valley — cradle of the Y-12 National Security Complex, the “Fort Knox of Uranium,” birthplace of the heart of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima 67 years earlier.

It was, the house painter would later recall, as if the Almighty were guiding each step, across 1,000 feet of open field and up an embankment.

On the interior pages, there were pull-quotes with more God talk:

“It’s idolatry, putting trust in weapons. And weapons are made like gods...Weapons are always false gods because they make money. It’s profiteering.” – Sister Megan Rice, 83. 

“In heaven, Jesus has no arsenal of nuclear weapons. And as we pray the Our Father prayer: ‘Here on Earth as it is in heaven’...Nuclear weapons are a product of hell, and we need to send them back there.” – Michael Walli, 64.

Zak also warned the reader that Walli “though fiercely intelligent, often departs on tirades about the Antichrist.” 

Chapter 5 began: “All of the relevant information on Y-12’s layout was available online. All of the relevant motivation was available in the books of Psalms, Proverbs and Isaiah”.

Zak also wrote as they broke in, “The crime had started, which meant they were one step closer to justice.” The protesters clearly went further than they expected, which created quite a scandal inside the government. Zak glamorized the danger:

The house painter began cutting links in the first fence near a sign that said "Danger: Halt! Deadly force is authorized beyond this point."

Somewhere on the site, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel's nuclear reporter Frank Munger, were Gatling guns capable of firing 3,000 rounds per minute -- a fusillade that could reduce a trespasser to pink mist.

There was very little criticism of the trio for this vandalism stunt. The wife of a security guard who was fired for treating them as harmless took issue with the notion they were God’s servants: “The joke of it is they came in God’s name. God does not say to break laws. Sorry. God does not say that.”

There was one quote of Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) asking why they could attend a hearing on their break-in, when should be in jail somewhere. Some government officials in charge of the nuclear facility offered mild rebuttals. And then it concluded with the “servants of God” lingo again, as the security guard stood with them:

But for those next five minutes the scene was simple, almost sacramental.

Four servants of God, drawn together by conviction and coincidence, regarded each other as dawn approached.

The Lord may have been there.

The devil, too.

Or maybe human beings colliding in the quantum theory of physics was almighty enough.

The Post has offered far less coverage to far larger protests -- like the March for Life. Now imagine if three "servants of God" did exactly this to a large Planned  Parenthood clinic -- breached the security system, poured blood on the walls, painted political slogans, and hammered chunks out of the walls.  If the Post covered that, the three would be painted as destructive bullies and thugs. But they certainly wouldn't find it momentous enough to give a reporter  license to write a gooey, novelistic tribute that lasted for 10,000 words.

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