Saturday, November 3, 2012

WaPo insults its readers

The Washington Post's Editorial Board yesterday published a piece entitled Mitt Romney’s campaign insults voters. The piece is largely a rehash of Obama Campaign and DNC talking points, resting on the idea that the WaPo Editorial Board is, itself, capable of discerning fact from fiction. But the Board's analysis of the Benghazi attack demonstrates that it is largely clueless in this regard, more than willing to swallow whatever slop it is fed by the Administration. From it's editorial on September 12th, unsurprisingly entitled Mr. Romney’s rhetoric on embassy attacks is a discredit to his campaign (my boldface):
Mr. Romney did not then know the extent of the Benghazi incident — his statement referred only to “the death of an American consulate worker.” So it was stunning to see the GOP nominee renew his verbal offensive Wednesday morning, when the country was still absorbing the news of the first death in service of a U.S. ambassador since 1988. Though reports were still sketchy, it appeared that a militant jihadist group, Ansar al-Sharia, took advantage of the Benghazi protest to stage an armed assault that overwhelmed the Libyan security force at the consulate.
Of course, we know now what the Administration knew on September 12th: there was no Benghazi protest about a nothing YouTube video. It was a coordinated, pre-planned attack. But the Board keeps at it, intent on comparing Romney and Obama with regard to their initial responses:
The movie that provoked the protests, which mocks the prophet Muhammad and portrays Muslims as immoral and violent, is a despicable piece of bigotry; it was striking that Mr. Romney had nothing to say about such hatred directed at a major religious faith.

Mr. Obama struck the right tone on Wednesday, saying that “we reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others” but that “there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence.”
Romney correctly ignored the video, while Obama clung to it as a means of obfuscating the reality of events in Benghazi. And in the weeks after, as the American populace learned more details, Obama's response made him look smaller and weaker. Thus, the WaPo editorial board played the part--like so many in the media--of a witless patsy, complimenting the President on the basis of what were untruths, something that was gleaned at the time by others not so handicapped by ideology.

The body of criticisms against Romney in yesterday's piece are based on an understanding of fact and not-fact by a group whose history shows it to be incapable if such discernment.

But let's look at the opening of the piece and the attempt to interject two pseudo-stories into the discussion as evidence for the piece's title:
THROUGH ALL THE flip-flops, there has been one consistency in the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney: a contempt for the electorate.  
How else to explain his refusal to disclose essential information? Defying recent bipartisan tradition, he failed to release the names of his bundlers — the high rollers who collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations. He never provided sufficient tax returns to show voters how he became rich.
The two complaints: Romney hasn't released names of bundlers and Romney didn't release "sufficient" tax returns. Not doing these two things is evidence of Romney's "contempt" for the voters, according to the Board.

First, the bundlers: the Board acknowledged back in June that the Romney Campaign has fulfilled its obligations with regard to bundlers. The names of all bundlers who are registered lobbyists have been released, per election law requirements. But the Board wants more, it wants the names of private citizens who support Romney. Perhaps those citizens don't want their names released, perhaps for fear of being slimed by the Obama "Truth Team." Seems like this is less about contempt for voters and more about protecting private citizens from hit pieces. And of course, that's the real issue here: the Board wanted the information so it--and other news orgs--could make hay with it.

Which brings us to the second complaint: Romney not releasing more tax returns. The "sufficient" label is entirely fabricated, as I have explained previously. Still, Romney eventually capitulated--wrongly, in my opinion--to the calls for more information by releasing tax data going back to 1990, along with all returns from 2010 and 2011. Romney's returns are hardly simple things. Pages totals for each year number in the hundreds. Ten years worth of returns--the supposed "standard," even though Obama released only seven in 2008--would be thousands and thousands of pages. What voter is going to go through such data? And to what end?

The Board imagines voters need the information so they can learn how Romney became rich, but they--we--already know that story. The Obama Campaign and its water-carriers in the media have beat it into our heads: Bain Capital. No, the tax return issue is another set-up for a fishing expedition, the hope that in the reams of documents there would be some tidbit to use as a firestarter.

These complaints aren't evidence of Romney's contempt for voters, they are evidence of past naked attempts at extortion, searches for dirt on a Presidential candidate by demanding information no one is entitled to, as a matter of law.

Cheers, all.

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