Now there’s a campaign on for governor of Virginia, and the news editors of the Post seem to be using their front page once again to defeat the Republican candidate, Bob McDonnell, and elect Democrat Creigh Deeds. To provide a fair perspective, we’ll start a Macaca watch, to list stories which make the front page of the Post not on the basis of news value but solely and obviously to defeat the Republican candidate.
Item number one on the Macaca Watch is the Sunday front page story on the thesis Bob McDonnell wrote in 1989 at Regent University where he obtained a masters degree in public policy and a law degree. This is, as the story acknowledged, a publicly available document and its contents would certainly be a legitimate part of an article on McDonnell’s background and the evolution of his political views. But the first paragraph of the story, prominently on the front page, sends the culturally liberal voters of Northern Virginia in the Post’s local circulation area a pretty clear message: you better not vote for this guy. He went to an “evangelical” school (Regent University Law School), described feminists as “detrimental” and “said government policy should favor married couples over ‘cohabitors, homosexuals or fornicators.’”
Item number two on the Macaca watch is Tuesday’s front page story headlined “Governor’s Race Erupts Over McDonnell’s Past View.” The “eruption” consists of a bunch of emails sent out by Democrats quoting from McDonnell’s thesis and a McDonnell conference call with reporters answering questions—pretty routine campaign stuff, hardly front page material. Interestingly, on the jump page one finds the following two paragraphs:
The obvious agenda here is to raise the specter that if McDonnell is elected, all women in Virginia will be fired from their jobs and forced to stay home knitting or driving car pool. We’ll see how much longer the Post can keep this story on the front page.
Update: The Washington Post published two more stories about McDonnell's thesis on Wednesday. Read the update here.