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Pete Tucker, a freelance journalist in D.C., is puzzled by the Washington Post’s spin on the Maryland Governor’s Race.
He amply documents the Post’s friendly coverage of Republican Governor Larry Hogan, and its consistently unfriendly treatment of his Democratic opponent, Ben Jealous.
Hogan supports school choice. Hogan appointed Checker Finn and Andy Smarick, two hard-line advocates of school choice, to the State Board of Education. Ben Jealous supports public schools and was endorsed by the Network for Public Education Action Fund.
“In 1966 Ann Todd and Fred Jealous couldn’t get married in their home state of Maryland because they were an interracial couple. Five decades later their son Ben Jealous is the Democratic nominee for Maryland governor.
“If Jealous wins in November he will become Maryland’s first African-American governor, and the nation’s third-ever elected black governor. (Jealous hopes to share this latter distinction with two fellow Democrats also endorsed by Bernie Sanders: Andrew Gillum of Florida and Stacey Abrams of Georgia, who would also be the first-ever black woman governor.) There are presently no black governors in office.
“Jealous, the former and youngest-ever head of the NAACP, faces stiff competition, and not just from incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. The Washington Post – which dominates D.C.’s media landscape, including vote-rich Maryland suburbs in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties – has set its sights on defeating Jealous.
“This may seem bizarre. Why would the Post throw its weight behind a Republican instead of an historic candidate like Jealous? Especially when the Post’s aggressive reporting on President Trump has led to record-breaking readership and heaps of praise from Democrats.
“But the Post’s resistance to Trump is a mirage, and the paper’s politics remain far from progressive.
“Once Trump isn’t around, what will be left for the Post to resist? Surely not war, the Post supports all of them. Not climate change, where the paper’s record is mixed at best and includes support for both fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline. And not inequality, as the Post is owned by the richest man alive, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Like Amazon, the Post is anti-union – that is, against workers collectively organizing to improve their lot, an essential tool in addressing inequality.
“It’s these stances – along with the Post’s record of targeting candidates with strong African-American and progressive support – that help explain the paper’s backing of Hogan and over-the-top opposition to Jealous (who I am supporting). Still, the extent to which the Post is willing to go to sway the election is surprising.”
The Post coverage emphasizes how “popular” Hogan is.
“Maryland has twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans, so Hogan needs strong Democratic support to win reelection; and the Post is determined to see that he gets it.
“Hogan, the Post explains, is widely admired for his “winning personality” and “personal appeal.” He’s just a regular guy who is “real down-to-earth,” “follows his gut” and “knows his way around a barroom.”
LWith fawning coverage like this it’s unsurprising that Hogan is “astonishingly,” “stunningly” and “hugely” popular, as the Post tells it. (The word “popular” is used so much one reader asked if the Post had exchanged it for Hogan’s first name.)”
But when the Post covers Jealous, it paints him as a leftist who wants to “soak the rich” to pay for his expensive ideas.
“Ben Jealous’s platform – which includes a $15 an hour minimum wage, single-payer health care and free state college tuition – is liked by Marylanders. So the Post downplays these policies (which it opposes), and paints Jealous as a “coup leader” who is too radical to vote for.
“Jealous’s “left-wing advance” is “irresponsible” and “anything but… centrist,” the Post tells readers. His “craven,” “reckless” “left-wing platform” will “blow a Chesapeake Bay-sized hole in the state budget.””
All the more reason for the voters of Maryland to ignore the Post and vote for Ben Jealous and begin to repair the state.