David R. Henderson  

Media Bias Yet Again

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Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds called attention to a case of media bias. One of his readers noted that Politico reporter Elizabeth Titus, in a piece on how there seem to be no scandals in Republican governor Scott Walker's background, identified these politicians as follows:

Anthony Weiner: "The former congressman"
Rep. Chris Lee: "married New York Republican"
Mark Sanford: "The Republican"

Notice something? Reader Jeffrey Kirshner did. The one person whose party was not identified was Democrat Anthony Weiner. I've noticed that a lot. Republicans who do something scandalous are identified as Republicans. Democrats who do something scandalous apparently have no party affiliation.

I was planning to blog on this this morning but I always believe in going to the source to make sure. So I did. And I read the following in the Politico article:

In other words, it can't measure up to Anthony Weiner. The former Democratic congressman's errantly tweeted crotch photo and subsequent online antics cost him his House seat and a shot at being New York City mayor.

So what gives? I contacted Reynolds, pointing it out and writing:
This contradicts the claim of your reader Jeffrey Kirshner.

Reynolds replied within minutes:
I checked it before posting and it was as he said. They've edited.

I did notice something else interesting also. Ms. Titus writes:
No crotch shots. No mistress in Argentina. And no political vendettas featuring a bridge.
Scott Walker is one lucky guy.

So, in Ms. Titus's view, Walker's decisions not to take pictures of his crotch, not to have a mistress in Argentina, and not to carry on a political vendetta about a bridge are instances of luck. I do not think that word means what she thinks it means.


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COMMENTS (5 to date)
AMW writes:
So, in Ms. Titus's view, Walker's decisions not to take pictures of his crotch, not to have a mistress in Argentina, and not to carry on a political vendetta about a bridge are instances of luck.

Maybe she thinks he just hasn't gotten caught yet.

Yancey Ward writes:

Reynolds is correct- the story was edited after someone pointed out the omission of Weiner's party affiliation.

R Richard Schweitzer writes:

Jesse Jackson Jr.
The most recent deposed governor of Illinois.
The congressman with the freezer full of cash.
The current sitting Congressman who was impeached from the federal bench.
Numerous political notables from the legislature in Massachusetts.
Former legislative leaders of Illinois.
The past mayor of New Orleans.
Etc., etc.

But of course, those were all "Populists."

Hana writes:

An equally interesting approach is to check how often political party identification is included in positive stories (although positive through the media lens is a biased viewpoint, as a libertarian there is nothing more annoying than the gushing enthusiasm of newscaster on the expansion of some government program).

On a somewhat related side note, I arrived in the US in the mid-70's with limited English comprehension abilities. As my skills improved, I remember watching the network newscasts in the late 70's and early 80's. One of the major stories at the time was "Panamanian Strongman" Manuel Norriega. It took me a while to figure out that "Panamanian Stongman" was not his actual title, but the propaganda drumbeat of all the networks. He may have been a truly evil man, but that realization altered my opinion of the objectiveness of US media forever.

MingoV writes:

The media bias of not reporting party affiliation of politicians when they are involved in scandals goes back decades. I remember the "Keating Five" banking scandal 25 years ago. McCain was the only republican involved, and his party affiliation was reported. The four democrats had unreported party affiliations. McCain and John Glenn were cleared; the other three democrats were not.

Whenever I read an unfavorable news story about a politician, I automatically assume the politician is a democrat unless the story explicitly states the party affiliation (which is republican 99% of the time).

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