As the political soap opera in Virginia rolls on and on and on, I think it’s important to pause and remind journalists where all of this started — with an argument about religion, science and philosophy.
I am referring, of course, to Gov. Ralph Northam’s comments about the proposed Virginia legislation that included controversial language about late-term abortions.
In this firestorm about race — a totally valid story, of course — it has been easy to forget the role that abortion played in this equation.
I say this because of a story that ran the other day at The Washington Post that, in my opinion, should have received more attention. Here’s the bland headline from that: “A tip from a ‘concerned citizen’ helps a reporter land the scoop of a lifetime about Northam.” Let’s walk through this, starting with the overture:
The reporter who exposed the racist photo on Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook page said a “concerned citizen” led him to the story that has prompted widespread outrage and calls for the Democrat’s resignation.
Patrick Howley, editor in chief of the website Big League Politics, first reported … the existence of a photo on Northam’s page of his medical school yearbook depicting a figure in blackface standing next to another person in a Ku Klux Klan hood.
“It’s very easy to explain,” Howley, 29, said in an interview. …. “A concerned citizen, not a political opponent, came to us and pointed this out. I was very offended [by the photo] because I don’t like racism.”
Ah, but why was the “concerned citizen” acting? Isn’t that the big idea here, perhaps worthy of mentioning in the lede and the headline?
The Big League Politics editor, naturally, wanted to talk about politics. However, to its credit, the Post team dug deeper and hit this:
The source of the tip appears to have been a medical school classmate or classmates of Northam who acted as a direct result of the abortion controversy that erupted earlier in the week, according to two people at Big League Politics, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
“The revelations about Ralph Northam’s racist past were absolutely driven by his medical school classmate’s anger over his recent very public support for infanticide,” one of the two said.
Now, why was the “concerned citizen” so angry about the abortion debate, going so far as to use the “infanticide” language of Northam’s critics?