Washington Post Columnists Ignore Facts About Palin, Reagan

Less than a week after Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell said the newspaper had an "Obama tilt," we were reminded again today of the paper's institutional bias against conservatives. Two columnists, Howard Kurtz and Joe Davidson, are guilty.

Kurtz analyzes whether Sarah Palin has gone overboard in her attempt to dispel leaks from bitter McCain campaign staffers. He counters Palin's criticism of "the rumors, the speculation, even in mainstream media, that Trig wasn't actually my child." Kurtz says that's not true:

In fact, no mainstream outlet published the Internet rumors until the McCain campaign issued a statement, during the GOP convention, that Palin's teenage daughter Bristol was pregnant.

I don't know what Kurtz considers a "mainstream outlet," but let's just assume we include the 151-year-old Atlantic, which Kurtz wrote about with great fanfare in August 2007. The magazine's most prominent contributor, Andrew Sullivan, was among the most rapid rumormongers about Trig Palin. There's plenty of evidence (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here) Sullivan was spreading "the Internet rumors" before the campaign released its Sept. 1 statement.

Has Andrew Sullivan done so much damage to The Atlantic's journalistic standards that's it's no longer considered a "mainstream outlet"? Please tell us, Howie.

The second offense comes from Davidson's drivel about how Barack Obama is making it "cool" again to work for the government. Davidson's one-sided article includes this cheap shot at "bureaucrat bashing" former President Ronald Reagan:

Much of the bashing started with President Reagan, said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) who represents many federal workers.

"In fact, beginning with Ronald Reagan, people beat up on government so bad that it was enough to even chase people away from government," she said at the Trotter meeting.

Davidson, of course, doesn't actually talk to anyone who worked for Reagan or cite any evidence besides the partisan rant by Holmes Norton. He also fails to explain how this "bureaucrat bashing" corresponds to the increase in Americans' confidence in government under Reagan, which rose to its highest non-war levels in decades. The view of government dropped under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Today it is around 30% for the executive branch and in the teens for Congress.

For a guy who writes the "Federal Diary" column, it's naturally in Davidson's interest to like government. It's just too bad he allows his bias show so clearly on the news pages.
2008 Presidential Bias by Omission Washington Post Government & Press Joe Davidson