Vol. 4, Issue 6, July 11, 2006
Washington Post Under Fire For Leaking Results Of 2008 Presidential Election
Criticism of the media reached new highs yesterday when the results of the 2008 presidential elections were released prematurely by the Washington Post. Democrat Barack Obama will apparently edge out Republican candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger in a surprise upset that will hinge on vote recounts in South Dakota.
"This is just going too far," said Senator Jim Bunning (R - KY). "It's as if the media is thumbing its nose at this Administration, and worse, the nation as a whole. Do these people at the Post realize how much damage they've done to Republican fundraising efforts over the next year and a half? Who's going to contribute to a losing campaign?"
Senator Bunning has been a vocal critic of the media recently, calling a recent story broken by the New York Times revealing the existence of an anti-terrorism program that monitors international bank accounts "treasonous". The media has also come under fire for revealing the National Security Agency's widespread monitoring of phone records, and most recently, for revealing to President Bush that he was going to receive a belt buckle for his birthday before he got the gift.
"Messing with a man's birthday present, that's lower than a snake's belly," said Bunning. "If CNN could find a way to get ratings out of taking candy from a baby, it would."
The Post defended its phenomenal scoop on the grounds that it has an obligation to the American public to be "truthful and daring".
"We strive to provide information in as timely a fashion as possible," said Post editor Leonard Downie. "I can assure you that our sources are unimpeachable on this one, though I cannot, of course, reveal what those sources are."
Obama, who has not even announced his candidacy, responded to the news with cautious optimism.
"Boy, that would be a nice surprise, wouldn't it," he said with a smile. "But I think we ought to at least go through the motions of voting before calling it final. Otherwise people might forget how."
Schwarzenegger, currently serving as California governor, declined to comment either on the results reported by the Post or on the clear implication that sometime between now and 2008 a Constitutional amendment is likely to be passed enabling naturalized citizens to run for the presidency. The Fox News network, however, issued a strong statement promising that it would never engage in the premature release of such information to the public. "In fact, we promise from now on to run every one of our stories through the White House press secretary for approval, instead of just the ones about the President," said Fox vice president Joe Broz.
Downie admitted that breaking the results of a presidential election so far in advance had some potentially negative consequences. However, he reiterated that he feels it was the right move for the paper to make.
"The truth is," he said, "the way things have been going lately for the media, we figure we need to publish as much as possible while we still can."