On the front page of today’s Washington Post, the lead article was on the Senate’s rejection of the auto bailout bill. Next to the article was a section titled “The Players in the Senate” and it showed pictures of Senators Bob Corker (the one who offered an alternative bill), Mitch McConnell, and Harry Reid. What I found interesting was the caption for Sen. Corker: “a first-term Republican senator from Tennessee and millionaire real estate developer.”
Why did the Post feel it necessary to include he was a millionaire? It had nothing to do with the basis of the article. The Post never includes captions like “Sen. Kennedy, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts who inherited millions of dollars from his father, who made his fortune through bootlegging and insider trading on Wall Street.” Or “Sen. Rockefeller, a Democratic senator from West Virginia, who inherited millions of dollars from his father, who inturn inherited it from his grandfather who made it through anti-trust business practices in the oil industry.” Or, “Sen. Kerry, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts, a millionaire because he married a widow who inherited millions from her first husband.”
I know they did this because Sen. Corker’s bill called for autoworkers to take a pay cut and they wanted to portray his as some evil business man out to screw the common man. If I wasn’t so cynical I would say they included it because they wanted to show that Sen. Corker is one of the few members of the Senate with any actual real-world business experience and he offered a plan that make economic sense.
It reminded me of another story a few years ago in The Washington Post, where the president of the Heritage Foundation, Ed Feulner, hit a bike rider near Union Station (the biker rider was not hurt). What made the story somewhat unique was he drove away before the police arrived–but returned a little while later. What stood out to me was in the first paragraph where it said the driver was Dr. Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation–a conservativethink tank. I never understood why such a story would warrant placement on the front page of the Metro section. But more so, the article was about a minor traffic accident, yet the writer (and editors) felt the need to include where he worked and that it was a conservative organization–I guess because only evil conservatives leave the scene of an accident.