ShareThis Page

The Macaca Post

| Sunday, Nov. 19, 2006

In mid-August, Virginia Sen. George Allen used the word "Macaca" to describe an Indian-American staffer for his Democrat opponent who'd been filming his campaign appearances. Little did he realize that this would cost him his Senate seat and any hopes for the presidency in 2008.

Local liberal elites long have believed The Washington Times to be an oafishly right-wing rag while viewing The Washington Post as the dictionary definition of detachment and straightforward reporting. The 2006 campaign proves this to be nonsense.

When it came to Allen, The Post completely lost its bearings, treating him with left-wing aggression and loathing, as if he ripped out the fingernails of small children every night as a giggly hobby. Today, Allen's political scalp hangs on their newsroom wall.

Now, The Post would have us believe it had nothing to do with his defeat. With a shockingly false faux-objective voice, The Post printed a headline on Nov. 10 declaring it was a "stunning breakdown," as if it was uninvolved. Reporter Michael Shear declared that Allen's jovial farewells were odd because "the relentlessly cheery politician who was an up-and-comer in the national GOP spent most of the fall during his campaign against challenger James Webb in a defensive crouch, trying to deflect accusations that, down deep, he is a bully or a racist."

What Shear failed to mention was that it was a defensive crouch against relentless bullying by The Post. They beat him up, stole his lunch money and now are pretending they were little angels who had nothing to do with the assault.

The Post quoted local academic Robert Holsworth declaring that the power of "macaca" shows how dramatically politics can change in 24 hours. But nothing happened in 24 hours. The Post invested weeks building up Allen's negatives, pounding away day after day from August to November, front page after front page, editorial after editorial, story after story, hinting heavily that Allen had a long, dark history of hating dark-skinned people, blacks, Indians, whatever; fearing his Jewish heritage; bullying his classmates -- you name it, he did it.

You think I exaggerate• How's this for exaggeration: By Election Day, 112 Post news stories and editorials had used the word "macaca." But that wasn't enough. Then came the truly shaky allegations that Allen used the "N-word" during his college days in the 1970s. Still, that wasn't enough. Stories that young Allen stuffed deer heads into the mailboxes of black folks for laughs were deemed as newsworthy history and not merely as hearsay. Reporters like Shear acknowledged that the accusers were Democrat partisans, but that didn't stop them from spreading them around. Rumors were king -- and the "defensive crouch" was established.

Allen was questioned for every allegedly racist bone in his body (including wearing a Confederate flag pin when he was a high school kid -- horrors!). He was even pounded in The Post news columns for stealing another kid's bike in high school and not returning it until the next day -- double horrors!

Then Allen gave an interview and complained about the treatment of "his people," the Scotch-Irish rednecks: "Towel-heads and rednecks became the easy villains in so many movies out there." Towel-heads• Clearly this was another Macaca moment, more evidence of Allen's racist proclivities.

But wait a moment. It wasn't Allen. The man who made those comments was his opponent, Jim Webb. So how did our objective, fair-minded Washington Post react?

Reporter Libby Copeland quickly related that Webb called later to lament: "I used the words that are used to stereotype them. ... I'm really upset if this is going to end up being the guppy that eats the whale here." And that was that. The Post's treatment of Jim Webb was so favorable you wondered how the reporters could finish their articles on time after all the fainting spells of awe.

The most transparently ridiculous Webb-lackey story The Post published in the entire Virginia race came on Oct. 19 with the headline, "Webb Is Reluctant to Advertise Duty: Veteran Blasts Allen's Public Comments." In a display of utter shamelessness, reporters Shear and Tim Craig reported, "Webb said it is improper to use military service in an overtly political way." Webb complained that Allen was touting some medals given to him by the mother of a fallen soldier: "I don't think it's right to use someone's service directly for a political reason."

This was ridiculous and the height of hypocrisy, and The Post knew it. Webb's TV ads relentlessly mentioned his service in Vietnam and his son's service in Iraq.

Webb constantly touted his military service on the campaign trail. It was John Kerry on steroids -- and The Post dutifully covered it.

In the end, The Post so co-managed the Webb campaign that we ought to consider identifying Sen. Webb not as "D-Va.," but perhaps as "D-Washington Post."

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.