“The Washington Post Has a Fever, and the Only Cure is More Ted Cruz Birtherism,” Ace writes at the Breitbart.com group blog. “It’s breathtaking,” he notes, and really, you do have to see the post to believe it, since it features screen shots of over a dozen Ted Cruz birther-related stories, which if I’m looking at the date stamps correctly, all ran over the course of only one or two days at the Post.
Jim Geraghty of NRO estimated that in 2006, the Washington Post ran “approximately 100 articles, op-eds, [and] editorials” spotlighting Republican George Allen’s moronic “macaca” gaffe involving his botched effort at calling out a mohawk-wearing video tagger hired by his opponent, Democrat Jim Webb, to stalk the Allen campaign. The paper’s efforts helped Webb, the Post’s preferred candidate, narrowly win the election, which helped to tip the Senate into Democrat hands. It also derailed a potential Allen bid for the White House in 2008 — all of which were desired goals by the admittedly left-leaning newspaper.
Three years later, the Post tried the same tactics against Republican Bob McDonnell, running to become governor of Virginia, this time focusing on McDonnell’s college thesis. As Jennifer Rubin wrote in November of 2009 at the Weekly Standard, before she herself eventually became a Post employee, McDonnell’s winning campaign successfully rebutted the “dozens of stories” the paper ran in the fall of 2009, as part of its Alinsky/Raines-style “flood the zone” tactics:
The McDonnell camp quickly made some critical tactical decisions. First, the Monday after the story broke McDonnell held a 90-minute media call to explain his views, and answer all questions. Second, rather than respond to every potential allegation they focused on the most potent one–that McDonnell was hostile to working women. His TV ads focused heavily on this issue, featuring testimonials by his daughters and women who had worked for him.
Larry J. Sabato explains that “the thesis story actually helped Deeds at first. For nearly a month the contents of McDonnell’s thesis closed the gap to a near-tie.” But then Deeds went, as one party insider says, “bonkers” over the issue, badly overplaying his hand. McDonnell communications director Tucker Martin says, “It was like someone threw a tennis ball over the fence and we all watched the Labrador Retriever race after it, leaving the whole yard to us.” Deeds rolled out TV ads and a Twitter feed devoted to the thesis and even organized book clubs to conduct “readings” of the thesis.
One McDonnell adviser says that it took a “lot of discipline” both to narrow the focus and to continue to stick to his positive, issue-oriented message.
“One day no fewer than 11 Post editors and reporters peppered the campaign with thesis queries,” Jennifer wrote. We’ll look at the Post’s next two rounds of macaca-inspired malarkey after the page break.