WaPo called on Coverage Hypocrisy

The complete lack of disinterest and journalistic  ethics by the Wapo in the Allen-Webb campaign is noted in today’s WaPo LTE section. Scott Michael of Arlington notes that last June Democratic Senator and announced candidate for president Joe Biden said:

“You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts [in Delaware] unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”

Michael then contrasts the near non-coverage of that moment with the Post coverage of the Virginia Senate Campaign:

“The contrast with constant coverage of former senator George Allen’s “macaca” incident is glaring. The absence of an aggressive opponent in a critical near-term election campaign may explain The Post’s non-coverage of Biden’s June remarks, but it hardly justifies this paper’s starkly disparate treatment of Allen.”

Indeed.

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4 thoughts on “WaPo called on Coverage Hypocrisy

  1. Okay, I sincerely want to know if you guys don’t understand the difference between Senator Biden’s comment (lots of Indians in convenience stores) and Senator Allen’s comment (welcome to American, Macaca).

    Senator Biden uttered an awkward statement based on social stereotyping. We don’t particularly like that kind of stereotyping, because it groups people by their cultural similarities and denies their individuality. Such stereotypes generally have some basis for truth, though. Anybody who’s ever watched The Simpsons knows that convenience stores provide a source of income for many Indian-Americans. And while pointing out this tendency is not culturaly sensitive, it doesn’t indicate malice.

    Senator Allen’s statement directed towards an individual was one that was filled with sarcasm. “Welcome to America” wasn’t meant to say “we’re happy to have you with us”; the message was that “you’re different from the rest of us and the are lots more of us than there are of you”. It belittled an individual and encouraged derision towards that individual.

    I suppose we could live in a world where we could all adopt some sort of “correct speech” code and we would identify speech criminals as those who violate that code. But, I’m not buying into that. I know the difference between the utterance of forbidden code words and racial/ethnic/religious attacks. So my question is, do others really perceive any distinction? Or is it all just a game of gotcha politics?

  2. Fair enough, and it is my preference that there not be speech codes…and I sincerely want to know if “you guys” don’t know the difference between reporting a news story or reporting that same story and then spending the next six weeks reporting every story, regardless of angle, in such a way as to highlight the word “macaca”.

    The point of this letter to the editor was that the WaPo coverage of the matter was over the top. The WaPo Ombdudsman long ago admitted the coverage was excessive. I brought up the letter because it shows that some elements of the public may be waking up to the WaPo’s hypocrisy in how it covers politics.

    I don’t like the idea of speech codes, but that is the legacy of the Webb campaign. It was great tactics, but I think it is a double edged sword that will strike candidates on both sides of the aisle. In winning it’s great victory the Webb campaign took us one step closer to the speech codes and the gotcha politics you profess to despise.

    Enjoy the irony.

  3. Ummm, was Biden running for the U.S. Senate from Virginia in 2006? Why would the press give equal time to an out of state senator who wasn’t running for anything that year?

    You better believe this will come up now that he’s running for president, but let’s face it: his presidential race ended the day he launched it with that remark about Obama.

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