Unfair and Unbalanced: ‘The Washington Post’

by | Feb 8, 2010 | Frontline

HarryJacksonI was not surprised that a recent Washington
Post
article gleefully asserted that D.C.’s left leanings were confirmed in a poll. 
I was surprised at the seeming air of objectivity that the writers
attempted to project.  I was skeptical of the article and its conclusions
for several reasons. First it was commissioned and paid for by the Post
(not to impugn the work of the research company, SRBI, Inc of New York).
Second a poll could yield very skewed results by focusing on selected
wards. Third private polling obtained by Stand For Marriage D.C. shows very
different results.

The writers asserted that their
telephone survey of just over 1,135 participants showed that the majority of
the city’s citizens were pro same-sex marriage, for the legalization of medical
marijuana and desired the creation of an elected attorney general’s post.
Surprisingly, in order to lend credence to their poll, Post writers
acknowledged that 60 percent of D.C. residents would like to vote on the issue
of same-sex marriage.

Before I take a moment to explain my
skepticism about the Washington Post‘s poll, I would like to make
a brief statement about other marriage battles. In California, Florida and
Maine opponents of traditional marriage boasted that they would achieve their
first wins. Ironically, support for traditional marriage is historically under
polled as the vote against same-sex marriage in these states has shown.

I wish the Post would
stop writing sophisticated trash talk and encourage the D.C. City Council, the
U.S. Congress and the courts to let the people vote. Since their own polls
suggest that most Washingtonians would like to vote on this issue, we should
let the people vote.

Let’s return for a moment to the
incredibly slanted article. The writers boast that the average voter is in
synch with the city’s “progressive, activist social agenda.” Although it is no
secret that the Post has generally supported this liberal political
direction, I would at least like to see a semblance of objectivity. Objectivity
simply means that news is reported without bias. Further, objectivity would
call opinion or advocacy pieces exactly what they are. 

Yes, the paper is considered one of the most liberal or
“Left leaning” papers in the nation. Nonetheless, that’s no excuse for yellow
journalism. Many of the residents of the District, like myself, would like to
see the Post report the news instead of creating the news. This article,
which appeared in the “style” section of the paper, seems to be much
more editorial than objectively news-based on a reportedly impartial poll. The
article was a “tissue paper thin” attempt to defend the city council’s actions
on a number of issues and to promote its own “Left-leaning” worldview. 

From every conceivable vantage point, the
Post seems to be committed to spending barrels of ink attempting to sell
the citizens that a host of other issues are their ideas. The newspaper has
been especially biased with regard to same-sex marriage. I could point to any
number of instances in which this pro same-sex marriage bias has reared its
manipulative head. Let me cite just one example.

D.C. metro residents noted the vitriol
exchanged in the last Virginia election. Most of us will not fail to remember
an unsigned editorial that called Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli a
“bigot” because of his traditional views on marriage. The editorial, which
appeared just days before last November’s election, was a clear “swift boating”
attempt by the paper. 

Why did the Post commission the
poll and place the article in one of the most prominent locations in the paper?
 First these and other Washington Post writers want to sell the
average citizen of the District on the liberal agenda of the city council and
other power brokers in the region.  Despite the council and Eleanor Holmes
Norton’s wheeling and dealing behind the scenes, the cry, “Let the People
Vote!” has reached the ears of many on the Hill. 

The second reason for the article seems
to be the Post‘s need to announce to representatives on the Hill (both
the Congress and the Senate) that they should not exercise their oversight
responsibility concerning D.C. laws. As much as most D.C. residents want home
rule, Congress still has say in the city’s affairs until statehood or another
governing arrangement is reached. 

 

Every D.C. resident should be outraged by the
paternalistic attitude of the Washington Post. They act like they know
us better than we know ourselves. Their writers repeatedly allude to the race
and wealth divides in the city without building racial bridges. For the Post,
it would be more prudent if they would follow President Obama’s recent example
of reaching across the aisle. Instead the writers make this revealing
statement,  “When the GOP was in
control, Congress prevented the District from setting drug laws, blocked
taxpayer-financed abortions for low income women, and would not allow the
city’s needle exchange program to proceed … the Democratic-controlled
Congress lifted those restrictions.” 

Articles like these attempt to pit the
people of the District against the GOP and encourage them to align with the
Left. The result is unfair and unbalanced articles and reporting. Instead
ideological battles, all citizens should be actively involved in creative
problem solving. 

All over the nation there is a growing
sentiment that people want to be given proper attention by lawmakers. Whether
in Massachusetts or with the Tea Party Movement in Nashville this past weekend,
citizens are demanding their voices be heard. Washington, D.C. is no different
than any other region.  Last Tuesday Senator Robert Bennett took a bold
step towards Senatorial intervention on the matter of same-sex marriage. He and
eight co-sponsors introduced a bill that would stop same-sex marriages from
becoming legal in the city unless approved by a referendum or vote by citizens
of the District. Bennett’s stand for marriage mirrors the work of GOP
Congressmen Jason Chaffetz of Utah, and Jim Jordan of Ohio. These congressmen
are boldly declaring the same message as their counterparts in the Senate …Let
the people vote!

No matter where you live in America,
you can ensure the right of District citizens to voice their opinions through
the vote.  Contact your Senator and say, “I am with Senator Bennett! Let
the people of D.C. vote on marriage.”

Also, let biased media sources know
that they are not representing the issues fairly. Letters to the editor, blogs,
and opinion postings are all easy ways to promote democracy within the District
and around the country. 

Make your voice heard today! 

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