In Tuesday’s Washington Post, political reporter Aaron C. Davis promoted radical Iraqi-American Muslim restaurant owner Anas “Andy” Shallal in his dark-horse campaign for mayor of Washington. The headline on the front page of Metro for this “scientist turned poet, painter, activist, and multi-millionaire restaurateur” was simply “Novice making unconventional bid.”
Shallal wasn’t a radical, apparently, but is “pushing a resolutely populist agenda, promising to close the gap between the District’s rich and poor in terms that echo the winning pitch of recently elected New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.” They barely put the word “liberal” into the story.
Notice how the Post page designers made sure the L-word was pushed off the front-page of the Metro section, where the article began:
More than his policies, however, it’s Shallal’s personal story that has given him gravitas, at least with a swath of voters long uninspired by D.C. politics — its [TURN to page 2] hipsters, artists, Bohos and liberal intelligentsia.
If you’ve ever attended the Capital Fringe Festival , joined the drumming circles at Malcolm X Park (also known by the less revolutionary moniker of Meridian Hill Park) or thought that Howard Zinn ’s “A People’s History of the United States ” should be required reading for high-schoolers, you probably know who Shallal is and would consider voting for him.
Davis and the Post made no attempt to explain that Shallal was the enthusiastic sponsor of Weather Underground bomber Bill Ayers when he made a somewhat triumphant D.C. appearance days after his friend Obama’s election in 2008. Instead, he just sponsors discussion:
In a city long divided by race and class, Busboys and Poets became a multicultural hub for discussion, then a brand, then a mini-empire, with four restaurants and two more on the way.
And it blossomed as Shallal paid his now 500-plus staff of waiters, cooks and janitors more than the minimum wage and provided them with health insurance.
A hint of Shallal’s radicalism finally surfaced in paragraph 33, to demonstrate how his Jewish friends temporarily backed away from him in 2007 over a statement about Israel. The “U.S. and its allies sit on the side, getting their marching orders from Tel Aviv,” Shallal said near the U.S. Capitol, warning of a “a new Israeli-American century, where those who dare to speak out will be squashed.”
Davis never noted that Shallal apologized for the comment or backed away from it. But his Jewish friend in the article recently donated to his campaign and said he was an "authentic human being."