Home 2018 Elections The WaPo Endorsed Jennifer Wexton, but Its News Coverage of VA-10 Has...

The WaPo Endorsed Jennifer Wexton, but Its News Coverage of VA-10 Has Been Appallingly Bad

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I’m glad to see the Washington Post editorial board finally pull their collective heads out of their collective butts and endorse a Democrat (Jennifer Wexton) in VA-10 for the first time in decades (they always endorsed Frank Wolf, for whatever crazy reason, and also endorsed Barbara Comstock in 2016 in one of the most moronic editorials I’ve ever read). But unfortunately, the WaPo’s appallingly bad, heavily-biased-towards-Comstock “news” coverage of the VA-10 race has somewhat compensated for its editorial page coming to its senses. Cases in point?

First, check out In a Northern Va. swing district, will Trump be enough for Democrats to unseat Rep. Comstock? (11/1), which bizarrely claims that Comstock – who has refused to do town hall meetings – is “ubiquitous” (WTF???) in her district. The article then essentially proceeds to regurgitate Comstock propaganda/talking points, such as about how “if anyone can withstand a blue wave, it’s Comstock”; how Comstock supposedly “has stayed closely connected to community groups throughout her sprawling district and is a tenacious campaigner”; blah blah blah.

The article then editorializes, basically – it’s certainly NOT “straight,” “objective” reporting here – that Wexton “has run a cautious campaign” and has had “a lack of a bold message.” Huh? Those claims are based on what exactly???

Then, the article repeats Comstock’s Big Lie about “running as an independent who breaks with Trump when necessary” – without informing readers that it IS a Big Lie, that Comstock is a lockstep Republican who has voted 98% of the time with Trump – and how supposedly “the vast majority of votes she has cast also had support of at least a few Democrats.” Right, uh huh.

The article also falsely claims that former Rep. Frank Wolf (R), for whom Comstock worked, was a “moderate Republican,” when in fact Wolf’s Project Vote Smart ratings have him with a ZERO on a woman’s right to choose, a ZERO from the Human Rights Campaign, a ZERO from the ACLU, a pathetic 20% lifetime score from the Alliance for Retired Americans, a ZERO from Environment America, etc, etc. In short, Wolf was NOT a “moderate Republican,” certainly not in his final decade or so in the House of Representatives.

OK, enough of that article. Blech. Next, there’s the WaPo’s godawful pre-election primer, Still undecided in Northern Virginia? Here’s your Election Day primer: Rep. Comstock and Jennifer Wexton on the issues. See below for the comment I left on the Post’s website about this dreck:

This article is appallingly bad/biased.  For starters, it takes Comstock‘s false/misleading statements at face value, simply repeats them without doing…you know, journalism. For instance, under the economy section, this (“which she credits with jump-starting a booming economy and creating near-record-low unemployment.”) is flat-out (demonstrably, verifiably) FALSE. Not accurate. A lie. So why repeat it? Same thing with Comstock‘s healthcare claims (e.g., she really believes it’s a “right not a privilege?” “Comstock has said she did not support the House GOP bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act because it did not sufficiently protect people with preexisting conditions” – really???).

As for “The National Republican Congressional Committee has released several ads blaming Wexton for rush-hour tolls up to $47 on Interstate 66,” that’s a wild lie, verifiably so (see https://bluevirginia.us/2018/10/youve-been-comstocked-rep-barbara-comstock-r-va10-and-her-republican-allies-are-lying-like-rugs-on-i-66-tolling for a lot more on that); again, why repeat it without informing readers that it’s NOT TRUE???  I really don’t get this kind of “journalism” – what constructive function does it serve? any added value (or more likely, subtracted value)? Seems like it does a lot more harm than good, frankly…

I’d add that the WaPo article also gives a LOT more ink to Comstock then to Wexton: under “economy,” the first four of five paragraphs are about Comstock while only the last one is about Wexton; under “federal employees,” Comstock gets two of three paragraphs; under “transportation,” the whole thing’s basically about Comstock, while Wexton is mostly mentioned only in the context of Comstock’s/the Republicans’ lies about her record (without letting readers know that they’re lies). You can’t get much more biased than this, in other words. Or lazy, really, as all it would take would be to check with the WaPo’s internal fact checkers, like Glenn Kessler, and ask them to simply flag what’s 1-5 “Pinocchios.” The incorporate that into the article. Would that really be so difficult? Yeah, apparently so!

In fairness, it’s not just the WaPo that’s been problematic this election season with regard to VA-10 coverage and calling out of Comstock’s many, many lies; it’s pretty much the entire corporate media. That’s why, I’m told, there are actually a bunch of Dem-leaning voters in the 10th CD who have seen Comstock’s demonstrably false ads (e.g., the one about being “Wexton’d” over I-66 tolls) and BELIEVED them. For the record, I completely debunked that weeks ago, noting that “Senator Wexton opposed the I-66 Tolls Plan,” that “Senator Wexton cosponsored legislation against tolling on I-66,” and that “Senator Wexton spoke out against the rollout of the tolling plan in December 2017, calling the plan ‘highway robbery’ and the tolls ‘outrageous’.” 

Yet the corporate media has not only allowed Comstock’s and her allies’ VERIFIABLY FALSE ads to run on the idiot box/boob tube, they’ve also not corrected her when she appears on their shows, whether the Politics Hour on WAMU or wherever. That’s doing a YUGE disservice to voters, of course, as the media allowing Comstock to lie through her teeth probably makes a lot (most?) listeners/readers believe that it must be true (if not, wouldn’t the reporters have pointed that out, after all?).

Anyway, I know the corporate media isn’t going to change, as they’re incapable of it and/or unwilling to do it, possibly because they’re terrified of criticism from the right, possibly because they are incompetent, possibly a combo of things. So take this mostly as venting, the day before the election, about all of us getting…I dunno, WaPo’ed?