THE OVERWHELMING BIAS OF THE MEDIA IS DANGEROUS TO DEMOCRACY
As their wagon train passed through southern Utah in 1857, settlers bound for California were attacked by a Mormon militia. Last Sunday (5/20) the Washington Post published a lengthy article on the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The New York Times ran a story Wednesday on: "Black Mormons and the Politics of Identity."
Mitt Romney, you see, is a Mormon.
On Tuesday (5/22), the Los Angeles Times published a 1,300 word story on Ann Romney’s fondness for horseback riding, emphasizing how expensive is the sport of dressage. Ms. Romney spent nearly $1,000 on a designer blouse, ABC News reported May 2.
As a high school student in 1965, Mitt Romney played a nasty prank, the Washington Post reported in a 5,400 word story May 16. The story isn’t accurate, said the sisters of the target of the prank, who died in 2004.
For the "mainstream" media, nothing is too insignificant to report — if they think it reflects poorly on Mr. Romney. But if it reflects poorly on President Barack Obama, no story is so big it can’t be downplayed, dismissed or ignored.
*In Democratic primaries Tuesday, a nobody got 41 percent of the vote against President Obama in Arkansas; "uncommitted" drew 42 percent in Kentucky. This is a big deal. When Sen. Eugene McCarthy (no nobody) got 42 percent in the New Hampshire primary in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for re-election.
On the Washington Post’s website Wednesday, the primaries ranked below a story on how foreign students are getting summer jobs that once went to Americans. The network morning shows that day didn’t mention the primaries.
*He was offered $150,000 by a close associate of the Obamas if he would keep his mouth shut until after the 2008 election, Mr. Obama’s pastor told author Edward Klein in an interview Mr. Klein taped.
Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is on trial chiefly because of third party payments to his mistress to buy her silence. Ted Frank at the Point of Law blog wonders how what the Rev. Jeremiah Wright alleges is different. But the LA Times has published 1,300 more words on Ann Romney’s dressage than it has on this.
Rev. Wright frequently has expressed hatred of America, and for whites. Many journalists were indignant when they learned a conservative PAC was contemplating an ad about Mr. Obama’s relationship with him. So Mr. Obama’s relationship with his pastor is off limits, but it’s kosher to link Mr. Romney to a bad act by co-religionists 155 years ago?
*On Monday, a dozen lawsuits were filed accusing the Obama administration of violating the religious liberty of Roman Catholic institutions by forcing them to provide birth control and abortion-inducing drugs in their health insurance policies.
There never has been such a church-state confrontation before. Yet CBS devoted just 19 seconds to it on its evening newscast Monday. NBC and ABC made no mention of it at all that night.
*Barack Obama was born in Kenya, his literary agency said between 1991 and 2007.
"This was nothing more than a fact-checking error by me," said Miriam Goderich, then an editorial assistant, now a partner. Her "fact checking error" went undetected until Mr. Obama began his campaign for president.
During the interim, there were three substantial revisions of the biography. The policy at Dystel and Goderich, as at most literary agencies, is that the authors provide the biographical briefs. How plausible is it that Mr. Obama failed to notice for 17 years that his birthplace was listed incorrectly?
It’s more likely Mr. Obama was lying then than lying now. Why would he say he was born in Kenya? A clue is his refusal to release his college transcripts, thinks Roger Simon, author of 11 detective novels. Did Mr. Obama claim to be a foreign student?
The "mainstream" media are incurious. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Media bias typically gives Democrats an 8 to 10 percentage point advantage, according to a formula for measuring the "political quotient" of news developed by UCLA Prof. Tim Groseclose.
Perhaps because that bias is now so obvious — and often so comical — it will have less effect this time. Let’s hope so, because this blatant bias is deadly to democracy.
Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. He is national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.