For a newspaper that’s accused (falsely, by right wingnuts) of having a liberal “bias, the Washington Post sure does a heckuva job using even its supposedly “objective” “news” articles to relentlessly push an anti-progressive agenda. The latest case in point? This article, in today’s Washington Post, on Fairfax County Board Chair Sharon Bulova, who is retiring after a long career in politics/public service. The problems just leapt out as I read it:
- Almost immediately, this “objective” news article frames things as Sharon Bulova having been a “moderately liberal influence” and a “pragmatist” who “takes pains to weigh all sides of an issue before landing on a decision” vs. the apparent bogeyman of “some liberals in Fairfax” who “argue that despite the strong Democratic majority under Bulova’s leadership, the wealthy county has fallen behind in key areas, such as battling the effects of climate change or adding affordable homes.” Now, this is a classic case of lazy newspaper reporters, stuck in their both-sides/false equivalency modus operandus, hiding behind “so-and-so claimed” or “so-and-so argued” whatever, instead of actually doing some research and finding out if those things are objectively true. Thus, it is actually possible to investigate whether Fairfax County has, indeed, “fallen behind in…battling the effects of climate change” or not. That shouldn’t be a “he said/she said” thing, it should be verifiable by an “objective” journalist, no?
- Let’s be clear: Sharon Bulova is a good person who was an effective leader of Fairfax County in many ways. But it’s also a verifiable fact that Fairfax County has not been particularly aggressive in terms of combating the climate crisis, working to make housing more affordable, promoting a true “One Fairfax,” fully funding education, etc. How wanting any of those things means you’re somehow not a “pragmatist,” by the way, which is what the Washington Post article strongly implies, is beyond me. What, it’s “pragmatic” to watch the planet burn up? It’s “pragmatic” to not do things like encouraging more affordable housing options? Alrighty…
- [In fairness, the article does quote Sen. Scott Surovell, who notes, “The District of Columbia is currently spending $100 million on affordable housing. Right now, Fairfax County, which is twice as big, is talking about spending one fourth of that”]
- Perhaps most egregiously, the article falsely claims that “the state legislature as well as neighboring Prince William and Loudoun counties all lurched leftward in the election.” That’s way beyond ridiculous – and certainly NOT “objective journalism.” In fact, what happened in November is that the Prince William County Board and Loudoun County Board went Democratic, from the right-wing Republican control they’ve had for years now. How exactly is that a “lurch leftward?” Wouldn’t that actually be moving from hard-right figures like neo-Confederate Corey Stewart to mainstream Democrats like Ann Wheeler (PW County) and Phyllis Randall (Loudoun County), whose views correspond with the majority (aka, the “center”) of their counties’ voters on issue after issue after issue? As for the legislature, Democrats picked up two seats (John Bell and Ghazala Hashmi) in the State Senate to take a narrow, 21-19, majority. How is that a “lurch leftward?” And in the House of Delegates, unless the Washington Post actually believes that people like Eileen Filler-Corn, Charniele Herring, etc. are left-wing revolutionaries or something, in fact what happened there is that we’ve now moved from gerrymandered, hard-right Republican control to…again, exactly where the vast majority of Virginians are, on issue after issue, which by definition means the “center.”
- Bottom line question: What’s with this highly subjective, false-narrative-creating, heavily biased (against progressives) framing by the Washington Post?!? How about, instead of erroneously “reporting” that voting Democratic is the same as having “lurched leftward,” why not write about what’s *actually* been happening in this country for years, which is that the Republican Party has lurched *rightward* and into “fake news” la-la land, while Democrats remain a normal, sane, reality-based political party??? Oh wait, that’s right, this is the false equivalence, “both-sidesism” corporate media we’re talking about, and this is unfortunately what they do. And we wonder how we ended up with Trump?!?