The Washington Post came under fire for apparently backtracking on its call for Gov. Ralph Northam to resign following his handling of a blackface scandal.
The newspaper faced criticism after praising the Virginia Democrat and declaring it was “wrong” to demand he step down.
“The history of U.S. politics is full of second chances- of scandal-scarred, disgraced and irredeemable public figures staging improbable comebacks – but few back-from-the-dead narratives have been as swift and sure-footed as the one Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has managed this year,” the Washington Post editorial board wrote on Friday.
The Democrat was lauded for “refocusing” his office “on racial equity and reconciliation in what amounted to an extended act of public contrition and atonement,” the Post continued, adding that it was “astonishingly effective.”
Northam’s legislative efforts were hailed as signs of his rehabilitation as well as his visiting “racially significant” sites, and “seeking out counsel from black leaders.”
“Throughout, Mr. Northam, a self-effacing pediatric neurologist, has expressed remorse and projected what many Virginians regard as genuine humility,” the editorial declared. “‘I’ve had to confront some painful truths,” he said in August at an event commemorating the arrival 400 years ago of the first African slaves in North America, where Hampton, Va., is today. ‘Among those truths was my own incomplete understanding involving race and equity.’”
“That speech earned Mr. Northam a standing ovation from a crowd that was heavily African American. Quite a comeback, and a hard-earned one, for a governor who could scarcely show his face in public in February,” the piece went on, and on.
Northam came under fire earlier this year when he was identified as the man in blackface, along with another man in a Ku Klux Klan robe, in a photo printed in his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook. After apologizing, the Democrat then backtracked and said he was actually not in the photograph.
The Washington Post joined other media outlets as well as Democrats calling for Northam to resign.
“The explanations Mr. Northam has proffered are vague and unconvincing. Virginians deserve better. Mr. Northam’s time is up,” an editorial announced back in February.
“We were wrong,” Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty announced Saturday as she shared the op-ed.
Back when a racist photo first surfaced in his medical school yearbook, most Va lawmakers, our editorial page (and yours truly) said @GovernorVA should resign. We were wrong. https://t.co/bA25YpnWbk
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) December 28, 2019
But the about-face only served to make the newspaper the target of ridicule and backlash.
“Redemption can only be found in faithful devotion to the Democratic Party agenda. They make no distinction between virtue and partisanship,” National Review senior writer David Harsanyi wrote.
Redemption can only be found in faithful devotion to the Democratic Party agenda. They make no distinction between virtue and partisanship. https://t.co/LvBlhPysim
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) December 28, 2019
“Here is a perfect example of the huge advantage Democrats have with the media’s bias in their favor,” former Virginia GOP chairman John Whitbeck tweeted.
Here is a perfect example of the huge advantage Democrats have with the media’s bias in their favor. https://t.co/9OHbhIgNpG
— John Whitbeck (@JohnWhitbeck) December 28, 2019
Many others piled on and slammed the Washington Post for its defense of Northam,
Apparently it’s okay to be racist if you’re in the right party.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) December 28, 2019
I’m just here for the ratio that you deserve.
— Boomer (@BlaineKAyers) December 28, 2019
I guess you can say that, much like Northam, WaPo is being
two-faced about this.
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) December 28, 2019
“It’s ok when our side does it.”
— TRon SwansonBarker (@wrongnowshutup2) December 28, 2019
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