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Doing a ‘Holsworth’


Washington Post reporter Rosalind Helderman wrote a snotty article today taking exception to Michael Barone and others suggesting the Post is out to do a “macaca” on GOP gubernatorial nominee Robert McDonnell. (It was all Sen. George Allen’s own bungling in 2006, she wrote, not the Post ruthlessly flooding the zone with trashy allegations like young Allen stuffing severed deer heads in the mailboxes of black people.) But there may be another neologism: to “do a Holsworth.”

This is what happens when a selfish political scientist eager to be used and honored regularly as an expert source by a newspaper acts to defend the honor and nonpartisanship of said newspaper (no matter how unscientific or ridiculous) against charges of overt and shameless bias. Helderman ends her story with the retired professor’s Post defense:

Hitting the media in general and The Post in particular has long been a campaign tactic in Virginia, said political commentator Bob Holsworth. He recalled an Oliver North stump speech line during the 1994 campaign for Senate in which North talked about getting up each morning and reading the Bible for 10 minutes a day — and then going outside to pick up his Post to get the other side.

The tactic might have particular resonance this year because The Post editorial board’s endorsement of Deeds during the Democratic primary was widely seen as the key to his victory in that three-way race, Holsworth said.

“It’s become almost ritualistic to hit The Post,” he said. “They’re going to do everything they can to minimize the impact of this story — including shooting the messenger, if need be.”

Memo to Holsworth: the Post is not a “messenger.” They are not delivering a neutral message. They are often delivering an advertisement disguised as a newspaper article. So the GOP would be “thumping the advertiser,” not “shooting the messenger.”


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