West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin’s Washington boat, the Almost Heaven, has become a media darling, a place that corporate news outlets describe as a folksy political hideaway filled with pizza, beer, and unpretentious vibes. As a recent Washington Post puff piece put it, the vessel, which has become a key meeting place of beltway VIPs, is “somewhere between a trawler and a yacht” and “a place for Hawaiian shirts and shorts… instead of suits and ties.”
But before Manchin purchased it in 2013, the Post described this vessel very differently.
Find out how it did so and much more in today’s Midday Poster below.
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As corporate West Virginian Democrat Joe Manchin leans into his role as one of his party’s most craven spoilers, Almost Heaven, the 65-by-20-foot boat he lives in on the Potomac when he’s in Washington has become a star.
A recent Washington Post puff piece declared, “Washington’s hottest club is Joe Manchin’s houseboat,” and went on to describe it as “a crucial destination for members of Official Washington” and the site of core group dealings on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tested positive for COVID-19 after a weekend cruise on the vessel, and a recent video captured Manchin lecturing on the importance of fiscal responsibility to a group of protesters who had kayaked up to the boat to demand he support a reconciliation bill that makes a transformative investment in the lives of most Americans.
Recent corporate media descriptions of Almost Heaven have framed it as a quirky, homey houseboat. The Washington Post story described it as “somewhere between a trawler and a yacht” and “a place for Hawaiian shirts and shorts (Manchin’s go-to boat attire) instead of suits and ties, where senators dine on pizza from Harris Teeter or pasta platters from Nostra Cocina.” A 2014 Time magazine piece agreed, depicting it as an informal space of pizza, beer, and the occasional merlot. And a June New Yorker Manchin profile said “it resembles a small ferry” that “provides an offshore venue for the kind of casual evening that Manchin considers vital to politics.”
Most of these articles mention that while a 2018 Republican attack ad called the vessel a “$700,000 D.C. luxury yacht,” Manchin’s office reported he bought it used for $220,000.
But before Manchin purchased the vessel in 2013, corporate media described it very differently. According to a 2004 Washington Post article on the boat, then called the Jennifer Anne, “You could call it a houseboat, but that would be like calling Air Force One a plane.”
The rest of the piece reads like a Robin Leach voiceover from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous: “The 1,500 square feet of interior living space embrace 3 1/2 bedrooms (including a 14-by-20-foot master suite), 3 1/2 bathrooms, and a bright and open living/dining area (complete with a granite dining table) where the DeLanceys have comfortably entertained as many as 50 people to watch a Blue Angels air show or the colorful start of major yacht races on the bay.”
And that anecdote about how Manchin only spent $220,000 on the vessel? He clearly knew he had scored a good deal on the ship, since he has it insured at a market value of $700,000.
Such misleading descriptions of Manchin’s floating mansion are par for the course for the corporate media, which has long mischaracterized the coal baron from West Virginia. Take how the Time piece on the Almost Heaven described the senator, who has now stalled the Biden administration’s $3.5 trillion social safety net legislation amid false platitudes about the risks of “moving towards an entitlement mentality.” According to that article, Manchin has “a bias toward action rather than rhetoric.”
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