When asked during a short phone interview Thursday if Columba Bush’s Hispanic heritage had anything to do with an investigative report into her 15 year-old jewelry purchases, The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty told Breitbart News, “The piece speaks for itself.”
“The piece also details purchases made by Democrats,” Tumulty added, before requesting we direct any further questions to her editor, Steven Ginsberg.
While it’s true that Tumulty’s piece mentions John Edwards’ and Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees, and Bill Clinton’s famous $400 haircut, these hardly make up a full paragraph in a 1600-plus word investigative report detailing the two decade-old, legal and private jewelry purchases made by a political spouse.
One reason the Post piece is raising questions about a racial motive is because the target is a Hispanic, and the piece is unprecedented. Breitbart News has repeatedly asked Tumulty and her Post colleague Glenn Kessler for an example of the Post investigating the private, legal luxury purchases of any Democrat, much less the spouse of a Democrat. Nothing has been forthcoming. A good faith search of the Post archives by Breitbart News also found nothing.
Tumulty did send us (via Twitter) a link to a 50 year-old story about Jackie Kennedy that wasn’t even published in the Post. She also sent a Post story from the 2012 presidential campaign that viciously attacked a Mitt Romney surrogate for bringing up the cost of First Lady Michelle Obama’s dress. The article also took a gratuitous shot at Ann Romney’s intelligence. Tumulty simply could not have found a worse example.
The questions about Tumulty and the Post employing a racial dogwhistle against Columba Bush doesn’t just come from the that fact that in the history of the Post no one has ever before faced this kind of scrutiny. There is also the matter of the disturbing behavior the political media has engaged in when dealing with right-of-center women, gays and minorities.
Starting with the media’s 1991 demonization of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as a black sexual predator, straight through to the media’s recent political death hunts for Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Ted Cruz, and Herman Cain, many conservatives believe the left-of-center mainstream media intentionally targets those they see as political apostates.
There appears to be a special price to pay in the media — a unique punishment whenever an “uppity” minority dares challenge the status quo that says Democrats should have a monopoly on anyone who is not a white male.
One way the media appears to keep minorities in line is to “other” those who stray from the Democrat Party. Democrats are worried Jeb Bush could win the White House by siphoning off Hispanic votes. The fact that he is married to the Mexican-born Columba is part of his appeal to that voting group. A bizarre and unprecedented investigation into Columba Bush’s legal jewelry purchases from 1999 has no news value. It does, though, polarize and paint her as a plutocrat and dilettante — as an “other” in the Hispanic community.
The use of racial dogwhistles or a subversive racial code in politics is something Tumulty herself is well familiar with. In 2008, as a political correspondent for Time Magazine, Tumulty wrote of John McCain“:
When politicians interject race into a campaign, they seldom do it directly. Consider McCain’s new ad, which the campaign says it will be airing nationally[.]
This is hardly subtle: Sinister images of two black men, followed by one of a vulnerable-looking elderly white woman. …
[I]t relies on a fleeting and tenuous reference in a Washington Post Style section story to suggest that Obama’s principal economic adviser is former Fannie Mae Chairman Frank Raines. Why? One reason might be that Johnson is white; Raines is black.
And the image of the victim doesn’t seem accidental either, given the fact that older white women are a key swing constituency in this election.
Tumulty’s editor Steven Ginsberg did not reply to our email query.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC