Page 1 of the Washington Post this morning has a story on it authored by Ms. Amy Gardner, a “journalist” who continues to bend every effort she’s got to skewing the reality of Virginia politics to meet the Post’s clear objectives: help out the candidate they endorsed during the primaries. Exhibit A is comprised of the 1st two paragraphs of Gardner’s story:
In January 2003, then-Del. Robert F. McDonnell helped gavel in one of the most extraordinary judicial reappointment hearings in Virginia history: a seven-hour, trial-like affair that led to questions about whether the future Republican gubernatorial candidate thought gays were fit to serve on the bench.
As chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee, McDonnell sat at the head of the proceedings, with his Senate counterpart next to him and committee members on both sides. Facing them was Verbena M. Askew of Newport News, the state’s first black female Circuit Court judge, whose reappointment was in jeopardy because of allegations that she had sexually harassed a female colleague.
Wrong and wrong. And as you’ll see as you read further down the story, Gardner already knows that her opening paragraphs are wrong. Knowingly asserting something you know is false, especially to give others a mistaken impression of the truth, has a well-known name. The questions raised by the 2003 hearing references had nothing whatsoever to do with with whether someone was gay at all, let alone a broad-reaching assessment of the suitability of gays to serve as judges. The hearing involved then-Judge Verbena Askew and sought to determine whether her failure to disclose that she had been a principal named in a lawsuit – as required by law – was sufficient grounds to deny her reappointment. Of course, reading both the headlines and the leading paragraphs wouldn’t tell you any of that. The Post made quite certain to put that information well down in the story – a position they know full well will reduce the readership. As noted several paragraphs later, McDonnell said quite clearly at the time that the only relevance to a person’s homosexual conduct would be where that conduct was specifically and explicitly illegal and that engaging in illegal actions could disqualify a judge. Taken directly from Gardner’s story:
“There is certain homosexual conduct that is in violation of the law,” McDonnell added. “I‘m not telling you I would disqualify a judge per se if he said he was gay. I’m talking about their actions.”
Emphasis mine. Gardner wrote this and she and her editor saw this long before it hit the presses. They know it’s not about being gay, it’s about engaging in illegal behavior. (Consider the law to be good or bad at your discretion but it’s still the law.) It is that action – engaging in illegal behavior – that Bob McDonnell was talking about and efforts like the Post’s are clearly attempts to cloud the issue. That’s not what I thought the mission of newspapers was.
I have no issue with people looking into the official actions of lawmakers, past or present, I just want them to represent the facts as they were and not try to skew them into something they were most explicitly not. Of course, I’m unsurprised that the Post and their operatives, like Gardner, the Deeds campaign, Gov. Kaine, and the rest of the Democrat apparatus are trying to throw as much chaff into the air as they can. They desperately need something to distract people from the fact that Deeds hasn’t advanced a thing to support the notion that he’s got a clue, let alone a plan, on how to address Virginia’s pressing problems. Energy, jobs, transportation, education, public safety – these are all matters of great importance to Virginians and Bob McDonnell has put forward detailed position papers on what he intends to do about all of them. Deeds? Nothing.
The Washington Post needs to cover this race based on the issues Virginia voters are facing and leave the smear jobs to those other, so-called supermarket rags. Unless the Post is interested in being considered one of their number.