Another day, another lazy, sloppy, inaccurate, create-a-(false)-narrative article about Virginia politics in the Washington (Com)Post. This time, it’s “Challenge from the left: Moderate Democrats in Va. under fire from liberals,” by Antonio Olivo, and it’s a real piece of work. Here a few “highlights” (in air quotes), with my comments in bold.
- “In what political analysts say is a growing rift among Democrats in Virginia and nationwide, Saslaw is among 10 incumbent lawmakers in the commonwealth facing challengers in the June 11 Democratic primary.” (Is there any evidence of a “growing rift among Democrats in Virginia and nationwide,” or is this simply the corporate media’s most beloved/favorite, go-to faux narrative – DEMS IN DISARRAY! DOOMED!!!! – in order to create “conflict, to “hippy bash” and to draw “eyeballs?”)
- “…the challenges add further turmoil at a time when Democrats are trying to move past scandals over blackface photos and sexual assault allegations in Richmond and flip enough seats to take control of the General Assembly next year” (No, actually, they really don’t. In fact, what primaries are also known as is “democracy.” They don’t mean we’re all in “turmoil,” and in fact they are totally normal in a functioning democracy, which apparently the ComPost would prefer we don’t have.)
- “In Northern Virginia, Sen. Barbara A. Favola (D-Arlington), Del. Kaye Kory (D-Fairfax) and Del. Alfonso H. Lopez (D-Arlington) also face challenges from more left-leaning candidates” (OK, this is just complete bullshit – “fake news,” as Trump would say, but in this case it really is. Let’s start with Alfonso Lopez, who last year was ranked by VAPLAN as THE MOST PROGRESSIVE member of the Virginia House of Delegates, and this year as the 5th-most progressive member. Yet somehow he’s being challenged from the “left?” How’s that? As for Barbara Favola, her challenger has specifically stated that she is *not* challenging Favola from the “left.” Instead, if you actually take a few minutes and look at Nicole Merlene’s website – or attend her kickoff event/ACDC announcement, as I did, or sit down with her for a couple hours, as I did – you’ll see that her main critique of Favola is on ETHICS, which last I checked is not a left-right issue. Merlene’s also running as someone who has been involved in “organizing support for local small business permit approvals, to helping plan community engagement processes for feedback on policy proposals, to planning transportation patterns in my neighborhood, my roots are firmly intertwined in the community and I would be a true servant to the residents of the district.” Does any of that sound like a challenge to Favola – who, by the way, ranks at the 8th most progressive State Senator, according to VAPLAN – from the “left” to you? As for Kaye Kory, VAPLAN rated her the 3rd-most-progressive member of the VA House of Delegates this year, which would make it pretty hard for her primary challenger, Andres Felipe Jimenez – who no doubt is a strong progressive and environmentalist – to challenge her from the “left.”)
- “Newly elected progressive Sen. Jennifer B. Boysko (D-Fairfax), longtime liberal Del. Vivian E. Watts (D-Fairfax) and self-proclaimed socialist Del. Lee J. Carter (D-Manassas), meanwhile, are in primary races against more moderate candidates.” (OK, I’ll grant that in the case of Democratic Socialist Lee Carter’s challenger, Mark Wolfe, he’s more “moderate.” As for Vivian Watts, I’m not sure how the WaPo concludes that her challenger, Florine Murphy, is “more moderate” than she is, as there’s minimal information about her candidacy. I’d also note that, according to VAPLAN, Watts is one of the LEAST progressive Democrats in the House of Delegates. So…again, who knows what the heck the WaPo is talking about, except that they’re hell-bent on creating a narrative, even if they have to invent it out of whole cloth and/or pull it out of their hindquarters. By the way, this whole part about how at least two liberal Democrats are supposedly being challenged by “more moderate candidates” completely contradicts the story’s own headline!)
- “[Saslaw’s] opponents say he is too closely linked to Dominion” (This is classic, lazy corporate media-style “reporting,” in which the formulation is “opponents say” or “people say,” instead of actually looking into it and determining what the FACTS are, which in this case would be that Saslaw is absolutely super-tight with Dominion. But that would take actual work and stuff…)
- Finally, throw in a quote about how the Saslaw race is similar to Joseph Crowley vs. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, even though there are tons of differences. But whatever…anything to use AOC in an article – clickbait anyone?
Bottom line: if you want serious coverage of Virginia politics, the Washington Post is almost certainly not the place to go. If, instead, you want lazy “reporting,” corporate media “Dems in disarray!!!” narratives and other idiocy, then by all means check out the (Com)Post’s Virginia political coverage.