09.08.10 Post Ignores Sharon Dooley

Cross-posted with the Washington Post’s All Opinions Are Local.

On Tuesday, The Post ran a front-page Metro story about the contest for Montgomery County Council in District 2 – or rather its version of that contest. A reader could be forgiven for concluding that the only viable Democratic candidates in the race are Royce Hanson and Craig Rice, who get all the attention for 30 of the article’s 31 paragraphs. Not until – and only in – paragraph 22 do any other candidates get mentioned. This is the token paragraph reserved for the clowns and perennial nut-jobs whom no one is taking seriously.

Lumped into that paragraph is community activist Sharon Dooley. What’s wrong with the decision to ignore her? Well, consider the 36.2 percent of the vote she won in 2006 against incumbent Mike Knapp, who is not seeking re-election this year. If Dooley does that well in a three-way race this time, she’s likely to be the winner! What, you still don’t think she’s worth mentioning by The Post? How about the fact that she has been endorsed by the Montgomery Gazette?

On my blog, I have previously written about how The Post’s pro-development editorial policy seemed to lead its reporters to avoid mentioning Marc Elrich’s name in 2006. Those editors must have been rather surprised when Elrich placed second in the race for four seats. Apparently, Dooley is this year’s persona non grata.

This behavior by a major newspaper is downright anti-democratic. Here we have a vehicle that – apart from its editorial page – claims to be an objective observer. An article like today’s gives lie to that claim. By ignoring a candidate who could well win Tuesday’s election, The Post has declared her unacceptable, thereby skewing the outcome.

The Post can make amends by giving Dooley her 30 paragraphs before Election Day.

Full disclosure: I have contributed to Marc Elrich’s and Sharon Dooley’s campaigns and serve on the steering committee of Progressive Neighbors, which has endorsed both of them.

©2010 Keith Berner

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