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The Washington Post Faces A Steep Learning Curve

By Greg L | 17 June 2013 | Local Media, Virginia Politics | 4 Comments

If you’re depending on the Washington Post for factual information about elections in Virginia, you’re looking in the wrong place.  Case in point: this weekend the WashPo ran this article about E. W. Jackson.

In the mindset of the WashPo editorial board what Virginians are most concerned with is how reporters feel about the voicemail greetings on candidate’s cell phones.  It plays right into the meme that the Washington Post is trying to manufacture about E. W. Jackson (not “Johnson, by the way) that he’s a “newcomer” facing “steep learning curves,” questions about his “preparedness” and navigating “unfamiliar territory.”  Heck even his first press conference (that the Washington Post didn’t bother to show up at) was overshadowed by “technical problems” — at the State Board of Elections conducting a primary that didn’t relate in any way to Jackson, but it still was a nice way to imply chaos and confusion about a campaign before the article wraps up with a quote from an “unnamed source” that talks about how the campaign and the candidate are still “learning”.

It’s actually hard to dig through all the editorial content to find such things as “facts” and even when you find them they tend to be wrong.  The Washington Post quite arguably is the one facing a steep learning curve here.  Headlines where they can’t get the name of the subject in the article right?  Headlines based entirely on the editorial slant of the article, not the facts presented in it?  Photo captions that misrepresent the circumstances the pictures were taken?  When truthfulness is evidently “unfamiliar territory” for a newspaper, for it to start casting stones at campaigns that have been stunning the political establishment with their unexpected talent is ridiculous.  The Washington Post should be interviewing E. W. Jackson about how to build an organization that actually performs above expectations, as the Washington Post clearly is in need of some help.

This photo wasn’t actually from a “meet and greet event” for E. W. Jackson, but was taken at Senator Dick Black’s fundraiser a two weeks before.  Oops.  Can the Washington Post be counted on to report accurately given this clearly steep learning curve about the newspaper business that they’re obviously confronted with?  It’s hard to tell.

The challenges the Washington Post faces probably has something to do with the way their reporters work their stories.  It’s not so much an exercise in showing up and asking questions of people who might have answers, but spying on people in hopes they reveal something that might help the paper advance their pre-conceived narrative.  One of the attendees at the fundraiser found the behavior of this reporter to be rather strange - hardly what the practice of journalism usually calls for:

Errin Whack is a black woman who was at the event for at least 2 hours, along with the photographer. Errin stood around groups of people, eavesdropping on conversations, hoping to catch EW saying something that he shouldn’t say. She never said anything, until someone asked her who she was. She just stood very close to EW, lurking and eavesdropping. With over 300 people in attendance, she was there for quite a while before we began to ask each other who the heck she was and why was she sitting and standing so close to people who were obviously in somewhat private conversations? For instance, Eve Gleason was just out of the hospital and couldn’t move around much. She and Ryan were sitting in a small group that EW pulled up a chair and joined. I’m sure they were partly discussing Eve’s recent hospital stay. Errin Whack joined that small group.

I wonder how Washington Post reporters behave at Democratic fundraisers.  I bet it’s a lot different.  The learning curve for Washington Post reporters in that kind of venue probably is a lot less steep since they at least seem to get the names right on a consistent basis. 

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  1. Anonymous said on 17 Jun 2013 at 12:10 pm:
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    WashPo reporters at Democratic fundraisers are called “donors.”

  2. Jeanine Martin said on 18 Jun 2013 at 2:32 am:
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    Errin was standing so close to E. W. Jackson that people begin to think she was either with the campaign, or a close relative.

    After 2 hours, she still didn’t know who she was following around, or what event she had attended.

  3. Jack Slimp said on 18 Jun 2013 at 9:06 am:
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    When it comes to reporting on conservatives, their actions, their achievements, their plans, their positions, and their events, the Washington Post has been duplicitous for decades. I experienced it first-hand back in the ’80’s. If only people really understood the nature of their info sources…..but then would a greater % really pick the better sources? Now The Washington Times, IMHO, is one of the best “straight-shooting” big city papers in the nation.

  4. The Bulletproof Monk said on 23 Jun 2013 at 8:18 pm:
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    Once I had figured she wasn’t with the Campaign at the Black’s Party…I started blocking her with my back to her…..in part to keep conversations a bit more intimate and out of her prying ears range.

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