WashPost Goes Deep Into The Weeds to Find Federal Grants to Conservatives

Washington Post reporter Thomas B. Edsall hits the front page today with a story headlined "Grants Flow to Bush Allies On Social Issues." Edsall reports that a bevy of tiny crisis pregnancy centers and abstinence groups have seen their budgets double and triple through federal grants from groups established as part of President Bush's faith-based initiatives.

Edsall briefly refers to the left in his opening: "For years, conservatives have complained about what they saw as the liberal tilt of federal grant money." What they saw as liberal? And yet,  Edsall can't use the C-word enough in this story, about 13 times. It was especially overdone in this late passage:

The Education Department awarded a $750,000 discretionary grant to the GEO Foundation, run by Kevin Teasley, a former staffer at the libertarian Reason Foundation and conservative Heritage Foundation, and conservative Center for the Study of Popular Culture, to "provide outreach and information" on public-school choice. The department also awarded $1.5 million over three years to the conservative Black Alliance for Educational Options, which was created in 2000 with support from such funders on the right as the Bradley, John M. Olin and Walton Family foundations...

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is merely an "abortion rights group," and when complaints surface in the story from the Sexuality Education and Information Council of the United States (SIECUS), they are not liberal, merely "one of the most outspoken critics of abstinence-only sex education programs."

How deep in the weeds does Edsall go? You can also tell in paragraphs like this:

The Door of Hope Pregnancy Care Center in Madisonville, Ky., a small outfit of four part-time employees committed "to the belief in the sanctity of human life, primarily as it relates to the protection of the unborn," operated on an annual budget of $75,000 to $79,000, most of it raised from an annual banquet and a "walk for life." Last year, Door of Hope got an abstinence education grant of $317,017, allowing it to hire staff and expand.

The dollar amounts are miniscule by Trillion-Dollar Washington standards, but it is an interesting story. Is it biased to write a story like this? No. It is biased to write this story -- but not display an interest in writing a similar story on subsidizing liberal and libertine groups years ago, when the Clinton administration was handing out money to NOW and its social-issues allies.

You can bet that liberal groups (especially anti-religion groups) helped Edsall with his research. Edsall's first example of a newly funded conservative group is Heritage Community Services of Charleston, South Carolina. How would he get to know this group? Here's one possible way: SIECUS wrote it up last year.

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