Washington Post Bombards Craig, Shelters Hillary

The Washington Post needs to send Idaho Senator Larry Craig a dozen roses.  They're obviously obsessed with the man.  In the August 30 edition there are five – FIVE – stories on the Craig sex scandal.  Craig makes page A-1, the front page of the Style section (twice), page C-5, and the lead editorial. 

Should the Post also send an apology card for shortchanging old flame Hillary Clinton? Her latest Chinese money laundering scandal (remember John Huang and the Buddhist Temple?) got buried on page A-5, deep in “The Trail,” a regular column following the presidential campaign, under the subhead “A Fundraiser Shunned.”

Clinton is obviously a bigger fish than Craig.  Hers is obviously the more significant story, because it reveals the strong possibility that a Hillary presidency would return the nation to the good old Bill Clinton days of surreptitious Chinese government funding of Democratic candidates, and America feeding sensitive military technology to China.  Maybe that's why the Post swept the story under the rug.

In any case, a Republican sex-hypocrisy story is just too delectable for the Post to ignore.  In Craig coverage, the Post front page presents a hard news story reporting that Republican leaders have stripped the Senator of his committee assignments. The editorial page features the paper's gay-rights agenda in editorial form, ending with the unbelievable assessment that Craig's votes against gay “marriage” in Idaho and for the Defense of Marriage Act in Congress make him “yet another willing accomplice in the machinery of intolerance that has stunted the lives of many gay men and lesbians. Maybe even his own.”

But it is the Style section where the fun really begins.  Two front page stories and a third on page C-5. 

The top of the Style section carries a feature by media reporter Howard Kurtz profiling the reporter for the Idaho Statesman who investigated Senator Craig for eight months.  In framing Dan Popkey as “hardly the type to try to ruin someone's career,” Kurtz seems to be trying to inoculate the reporter against media watchdog criticism.   

Kurtz also defends the mainstream media, which, he maintains, “generally do not publish stories about private sexual conduct based solely on unnamed sources. And despite 'outing' campaigns by some gay activists, news outlets are particularly reluctant to accuse a public figure who says he is heterosexual of engaging in gay sexual acts without definitive proof.”


Beneath Kurtz's story on page C-1 is a second Craig piece, “Tapping Into The Secrets of the Stall,” which takes a tongue in cheek approach: 

“Consider the bathroom stall, that utilitarian public enclosure of cold steel and drab hue.

It can be a world of untold secrets, codes and signals as invitations to partake. Like foot-tapping: Who knew?

Let us peer in, shall we? Let us peer into the stall as intently as Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) allegedly did in a bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in June, when his searching blue eyes were visible to an undercover cop, who would later title his police report on Craig's arrest “Lewd Conduct” and write that police had made “numerous arrests regarding sexual activity in the public restroom.”

The piece ends with yet another liberal media kiss to the homosexual community, quoting a defender of sex in public places. David Smith of the "gay rights" group Human Rights Campaign says, “I think that the closet is a product of discrimination and prejudice against gay people. And because of that prejudice, people can't be open and honest about who they are and have to go to extreme measures to hide it.”

Finally, the editors of the Post conclude their love affair with Craig by including a silly article by TV writer John Maynard who wonders via headline, “The Craig Case: Ripe for Law and Order?”  Sure, it's a fair question, given the NBC series' penchant for “stories ripped from the headlines.” But the article seems merely a vehicle for the writer to include the following quote from Democratic strategist Tad Devine.

“If there were to be a 'Law & Order' episode, Devine said he'd be more interested in the show's depiction of the backroom, rather than the bathroom. 'The most interesting parts would be the meeting with his political consultants or other advisers where they concocted the wide-stance story,' Devine said. 'I would like to be a fly on the wall for that meeting because that is about as clever as it gets.'”

Let's sum up:  five pieces in one day – 4,700-plus words -- all stemming from an encounter in an airport bathroom.  Arguably two of the five pieces – the hard news story and the Kurtz piece – add something to the public's knowledge and understanding of the story.  Editorials, no matter how biased, are a paper's “right,”  but the rest are just a poor excuse to add salacious commentary on a topic while still keeping the “scandal” in the forefront of readers' minds. 

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.  Brian Fitzpatrick is CMI's senior editor.