I am appalled, angry and disappointed in The Post's coverage of Gary Hart since his reentry into the presidential race. If I were his campaign manager, I could not have orchestrated a better series of articles than those you have printed.
You have managed to herald his loyal wife's support with a front-page headline and praise his daughter's devotion to him with a Style section front-page article on her tireless efforts on his behalf. The same Style article contributed beautifully to his self-portrayal as the underdog long shot working out of a shoestring office with little money but lots of enthusiasm. You have trumpeted his new lead in the polls with a front-page article, while granting him free space on the Outlook front page to promote his grievances against the press. You headlined his "dream of a different way to win" with a Sunday front-page story and managed to keep his name in the news with a Style section front-page article on the "rumors" that he plagiarized his novel. Funny, I recently heard a rumor that there were still six other candidates in the Democratic race.
All of this was topped off Dec. 24 by a Style section front page article on Donna Rice, along with a page-four article, "Hart Employing the Silent Treatment." Well, it certainly does not seem to be working. The less he says, the more you are determined to print about him.
Even more than the inequity of coverage, its shallowness is what disturbs me. A newspaper that is supposed to be a cut above all the rest, and which editorially calls for intelligent discussion of the issues among the candidates, should help its readers explore the complex domestic and foreign policy views that each candidate brings to the race, instead of wasting space, especially front-page space and headlines, on gossipy stories about wife, daughter and mistress.
I do recognize this is a big story, and that the circumstances of his withdrawal make his wife's support for him critical and, therefore, newsworthy. Those issues, however, should have been taken care of with three or four paragraphs in a longer analysis of his reentry.
Paul J. Benkert Jr.