Friday, 26 March 2010

Mainstream Media's Double Standard

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Recent events have conservative viewers once again questioning the double standard and left-wing bias of the mainstream media.

It begins with the actions and comments of Vice President Joe Biden in the past few weeks. Shortly after President Obama signed the health care reform bill into law, Biden embraced Obama and “whispered”: “This is a big f*****g deal” — not considering the nearby open microphone.

Biden has committed so many of these verbal slips that they have now been dubbed “Bidenisms” by a select few who have given any attention to these errors.

According to University of Memphis political science professor Robert Blanton, Biden’s “gaffes are relatively harmless. They are just innocent mistakes that people can identify with.”

Kind of like accidently misspelling the word “potato,” right? Wrong! When Dan Quayle made this innocent mistake in 1992, the mainstream media made it a talking point for weeks, months, even years. In fact, The New York Times published an article called “How do you spell regret? One Man’s Take on It” in 2004, detailing a point by point account of the events involving the infamous misspelling of the word “potato.” The backlash against the Vice President after this blunder was so severe it prompted Quayle to appear in a 1993 Superbowl Ad for Frito-Lay, where he made a joke about his inability to spell “potato.” Believe it or not, if you google the words “Dan Quayle,” one of the first items that appears as a recommended search is “Dan Quayle potato.”

On the other hand, when President Obama selected his basketball choices for his March Madness brackets, he misspelled the word Syracuse by leaving out the “r,” an incident that went wholly unnoticed by the mainstream media. Good spelling is apparently an attribute that is required solely of GOP politicians.

In September 2008, then-Senator Biden, in a television appearance with Katie Couric, said, “When the stock market crashed (in 1929), Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.’ ”

Here’s the problem: Roosevelt was not president during the 1929 stock market crash, nor was commercial television broadcasting at that time!

The point is that all of these incidents have been “innocent mistakes.” However, the mainstream media manages to turn one man’s “innocent mistake” into another man’s catastrophic blunder. Dan Quayle will never shake his reputation as the laughing stock of politics, but Biden manages to remain unscathed. It is the unbalanced, biased representation of these individuals in the media that has conservatives angry.

Now the mainstream media has turned its attention to the Tea Party movement. It has been a coordinated effort by the media to paint the Tea Party movement as racist, heartless, maniacal, etc, particularly in its protests against the healthcare reform bill. Michelle Malkin writes, “Unpopular Beltway Democrats and their media water-carriers now claim there’s a tea party epidemic of racism, harassment, and violence against them.”

On Sunday, March 21, the day healthcare legislation was passed, it appeared that the Democrats attempted to exacerbate an already heated atmosphere. Nancy Pelosi, bearing an oversized gavel, and her cohorts, walked through the angry crowd of citizens belonging to a wide-range of political parties. Congressmen walked through the crowds on more than one occasion, though tunnels were available for use, seemingly in the hopes of provoking the audience to spew controversial language.

Their attempts were unsuccessful, however. In a crowd surrounded by news cameras and reporters, not a slur was recorded. In fact, nothing was caught on tape except one person calling Barney Frank a name. And claims that tea party members shouted the despicable racial epithet “nigger” at black Democrats have been unconfirmed.

Missouri Democrat Emanuel Cleaver claimed that a protestor intentionally spit in his face, though videotapes of the event indicated no such thing. Days after he made the accusation, Cleaver backtracked his claims by describing the heckler as “the man who allowed his saliva to hit my face.”

Outside of the home of Missouri Democratic congressman Russ Carnahan, protestors placed a coffin to mark a prayer vigil for the unborn, who are unprotected by the new health care law. The event was staged to show the protestors’ outrage against the Democrats who cut a phony deal with Obama when he signed the executive order. Not surprisingly, Democrats and the media treated the presence of the coffin as a nonverbal threat.

Despite the lack of evidence or proof of threatening behavior, House Majority Whip James Clyburn has accused the GOP of “aiding and abetting terrorism.”

The Tea Party has been branded by accusations that they were responsible for a cut gas line at the home of Democratic representative Tom Perriello’s brother. Without so much as a hint of evidence, the media has jumped on this accusatory bandwagon.

Finally, news stations like ABC and CBS have capitalized on claims that House Democrats have faced violent threats after the health care vote. Immediately, the blame was placed on Tea Party members and Republicans, when the outcry against this vote has been from members of the Republican, Democrat, and Independent party.

Meanwhile, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor was allegedly shot at when at his campaign office in Richmond, Virginia, an act that far surpasses telephone threats. Yet the coverage of this event has been minimal.

Alaska’s Republican Governor Sarah Palin has recently received death threats against herself and her family on Twitter by a man who calls himself Jason Brown, another incident against a Republican that has been strategically underreported.

No one in their right mind would defend any of these violent acts or threats, but the issue to be addressed here is the lack of fairness and the presence of bias that characterizes the mainstream media and their presentation of these events. Demonstrative actions by leftists are considered passionate while similar actions by conservatives are seen as acts of terror. Accusations against the right are greeted by a media frenzy, while apologies for those same false accusations are quietly covered.

Issues like these have viewers longing for the days of Dragnet, whose title chacter Sgt. Joe Friday kept matters straight and simple when he said, “Just the facts, ma’am.” 

Photo: CBS News anchor Katie Couric and Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports, in Pasadena, Calif., in 2006: AP Images

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