Dana Milbank, opinion writer for The Washington Post and shill of all things "left-of-center," eases into the coveted spot of TruthRevolt's Media Hall of Shame this week. If for nothing else, this honor is bestowed for his inability to hide his liberal bias exhibited in a string of recent columns bashing Republican presidential candidates.
Milbank describes himself as "left-of-center" (proof: he voted for John McCain) but is easily picked out of the lineup as leaning further than that. Even progressive outlet Salon recognizes that fact.
But the term "liberal" is a label Milbank believes can be ascribed with immense pride. Earlier this year, he wrote a column, covered here at TR, all about how the term is no longer a "dirty word" and liberalism's flag once again waves majestic:
It’s healthy that the liberal flag, hidden for a generation, flies proudly again. If those who have been calling themselves progressives use their growing numbers as a counterweight to the other side but don’t imitate its excesses, they can keep the liberal label from again becoming an epithet.
But more recently, his columns have been havens for hits on the 2016 Republican field with little exception. He goes after Jeb Bush's "foot-in-mouth problem," trying to link a "family trait" of misspeak that he believes may have passed from George H.W. Bush, through older brother George W., and down to Jeb. Though it's not the same "malapropism" art his brother displayed, Milbank describes Jeb's gaffes as "Freudian slips" and "accidental truths." As a respectable journalist, surely Milbank has never misspoken.
During the Kim Davis debacle, Milbank targeted Ted Cruz for standing up for the embattled county clerk in Kentucky. He said what Cruz did "was downright alarming" for saying, "Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith… I stand with Kim Davis unequivocally.” Milbank leveled accusations of lawlessness against Cruz for encouraging her to break a federal law, and for that matter Bobby Jindal and Rand Paul, who did the same. It is this same "lawlessness" Milbank argues is a thread that runs through the Republican Party of championing uprisings against federal law. (See the Clive Bundy ranch standoff.)
This week, Milbank joined the chorus of those that took offense to Ben Carson's remarks about the U.S. electing a Muslim president. Carson said he doesn't believe a strict adherence to Islamic law is compatible with the Constitution. Instead of using his journalistic prowess to uncover what Carson could have possibly meant by that, Milbank only picked up on the trigger words "Muslim" and "I don't agree" and ran with that. His conclusion: Carson is just another example of the intolerance and bigotry that is so prevalent among conservatives. Trump, too, who has said, "We have a problem in this country -- it's called Muslims." Milbank provided "proof" of this bigotry with the following anecdotal evidence: reimagining what both candidate's statements would look like if only slightly changed:
“We have a problem in this country — it’s called blacks.”
“I would not advocate that we put a Jew in charge of this nation.”
Since the second GOP debate, the number of Carly Fiorina supporters has surged. But to Milbank, that wouldn't be because of her voice as a confident women -- a trait liberals usually love -- or her conservative ideals. No, it was manufactured by CNN. In his most recent column, Milbank sealed the coffin on Fiorina's campaign saying she peaked too early and will simply go the way of Herman Cain. In his infinite wisdom, Milbank wrote:
"CNN shoehorns her into debate; CNN puffs her up during debate; CNN praises her debate performance; CNN trumpets poll showing debate gained her support: In the corporate world Fiorina comes from, this is known as vertical integration. The Fiorina rise is, most likely, a fresh-face phenomenon; she’s the flavor of the week.
With all of this Republican bashing, Milbank only had time enough to do exactly ONE hit-piece on Hillary Clinton, "The Clinton campaign puts the ‘moron’ into oxymoron." Yet, he still managed to gush, giving her campaign advice so she doesn't come across as "a phony:"
She has an inner circle of loyalists who can’t, or won’t, tell her when she’s making a bad decision, as with her initial grudging response to the e-mail controversy. And she has a group of hired guns, imported from the Obama campaign, who sell her as if she were a new formula of detergent each week.
What if Clinton were to chuck all that? What would remain is this: a lifelong advocate for children who worked for the Children’s Defense Fund rather than taking a high-paying job after law school; a woman who cares more about those in need than her husband ever did; a policy nerd who believes government can be a force for good.
If Clinton ditches the constant makeovers and still loses, she at least will have the dignity of knowing she was her own person.
But perhaps Milbank's most obvious moment of media bias surfaced in 2006 when he appeared on MSNBC as a WaPo reporter to cover the Dick Cheney hunting accident wearing an orange hunting vest and cap. I think we have a picture:
Hard to be the model of journalistic integrity dressed like that! At least now you have the appropriate title of "opinion writer."
Congratulations, Dana! You've earned it.