- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 12, 2006

On June 30, we scolded The Washington Post for a blatantly partisan story about a fundraiser for Lt. Gov. Michael Steele of Maryland, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, alleged to have been organized by Floyd Brown, the persistent fly in the ointment the liberals keep trying to apply to the unsuspecting body politic. As it turns out, we were misinformed.

In his June 26 article in The Post, reporter Matthew Mosk wrote, “Unlike the dozens of high-dollar events across the country in [Mr. Steele’s] U.S. Senate bid, this event was thrown by the producer [Mr. Brown] of the famous ‘Willie Horton’ ad, the 1988 commercial that came to symbolize the cynical use of skin color as a political wedge.” Mr. Mosk wrote that Mr. Brown’s support of a black candidate like Mr. Steele, as well as the support of other well-known “racists” like radio-host William Bennett and former First Lady Barbara Bush, had angered Maryland’s black community. It was this accusation that aroused our ire — Mr. Mosk’s inflammatory characterization of the Willie Horton commercial, and particularly the smarmy and absurd implication that Floyd Brown, Bill Bennett and Barbara Bush are racists.

There was a lot wrong with the Post story, beginning with the fact that Mr. Brown did not throw the June 22 fundraiser for Mr. Steele. In fact, he wasn’t even there. The fundraiser was held at the home of David Bossie, the president of Citizens United, in Ashton, Md. Mr. Brown is chairman of the board at Citizens United, but had nothing to do with the fundraiser.

Another person who was not there was the Post’s Mr. Mosk, which could account for getting things wrong, particularly his recollection of the attendees. Mr. Bossie tells us that Mr. Mosk did not even call him to confirm elementary facts of the event — such as whether Floyd Brown had a role in the fundraiser. If he had, Mr. Bossie says, “he would have found out that Floyd had nothing to do with this fundraiser. Floyd is on the board of directors, but like the day-to-day operations at Citizens United … Floyd and the rest of the board had no direct involvement in this event, including the fact of hosting the event in the first place.”

The Maryland Democratic Party naturally used Mr. Mosk’s article as an occasion to demand Mr. Steele return the money or be seen accepting the support of “racist Republicans.” We don’t know who’s using whom, but it seems clear enough that Mr. Mosk was spoonfed by somebody with a partisan chopping ax. His article was published four days after the event.

We regret relying on The Post’s reporting. We hope The Post does, too, but we’re not holding our breath.

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