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“Don’t Blame Liberal Media For Giuliani Gaffe”: The Go-To Explanation Among Conservatives For Almost Everything That Happens

We’ve had a terrific demonstration over the last week or so of why the belief in liberal media bias is so strong.

It isn’t because of actual liberal media bias. Academic research finds plenty of ways the press gets things wrong, but an ideological slant isn’t one of them.

Most bias has to do with the industry’s norms (stories involving the president get more play than articles about governors, and so on). In some cases, the self-interest of the media plays a role, whether it’s promoting freedom of the press, for example, or building up anyone who might take on Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination as a way to build interest in that snooze fest.

What sustains the belief in liberal bias? It’s the go-to explanation among conservatives for almost everything that happens, and has been for at least four decades. Repeat something long enough, without strong opposition, and people will accept it.

So the reaction to the Rudy Giuliani story, in which the former New York mayor claimed Barack Obama didn’t “love” America, invoked howls of media bias from conservatives. Some said it wasn’t a story at all — Giuliani hasn’t been in office for years, so who cares what he says? Isn’t there real news out there? Others were upset that Republican candidates were pressed to agree or disagree with Giuliani — look, the liberal media is trying to make conservative politicians look stupid!

But we had an almost perfect parallel in the coverage of Howard Dean’s complaint that Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin shouldn’t be president because he didn’t graduate from college.

Giuliani left office in 2001, ran for president in 2008, has since been out of active politics but shows up on TV all the time. Dean left office a year after Giuliani did, ran for president in 2004, was Democratic National Committee chairman through 2008, has since been out of active politics but shows up on TV all the time.

Republicans were forced to take a stand on whether Obama loves America; Democrats were pressed to say if they thought a college dropout was unqualified to be president.

The Giuliani story was bigger only because attacking the president is a bigger deal than attacking one of many Republican presidential candidates, and New York (where much of the national media is based) trumps Vermont.

Both accusations were pretty much denounced by everyone; both sparked predictable partisan bashing and a few interesting reflections.

But liberals didn’t go crying about conservative media bias in the Dean-Walker case because they don’t see every news story as an example of prejudice against them. Conservatives do.

For example, they screamed that the media ignored the scandal ending the career of Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon, but as Philip Bump explained, this too was caused by ordinary press norms, not ideological bias. Kitzhaber’s scandals were undercovered (at least in the national media) compared with those of Republican Chris Christie because Christie is running for president and he’s a governor in the New York area. Think about it. The press hardly ignored scandals costing Democratic Governors Rod Blagojevich or Eliot Spitzer their jobs. It’s just that Democrats never interpreted those firestorms as examples of Republican media bias.

There’s nothing wrong with pointing out when news coverage is wrong or wrong-headed. But ideology isn’t at the root of those mistakes and biases.

 

By: Jonathan Bernstein, Columnist for Bloomberg View; The National Memo, February 25, 2015

February 28, 2015 Posted by | Conservatives, Media, Rudy Giuliani | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Forgiveness, Unless You’re A Democrat”: Anthony Weiner Is No Bill Clinton Or David Vitter

Republicans, the party of forgiveness … unless you’re a Democrat.

Anthony Weiner ain’t no Bill Clinton, although many Republicans consider them one and the same, which is why many on the right are perplexed about Weiner’s popularity rapidly dropping in the polls this week in his bid to become mayor of New York. Democrats have pulled their support from him and, so it would seem, have the Clintons.

Weiner’s problem isn’t that Democrats can’t be forgiving. Weiner’s problem is that he continued his inappropriate behavior after stepping down from Congress. The Weiners like to compare themselves to the Clintons, but the situations are not the same, though many of my Republican friends love the comparison. Let me break it down as to why the situations are quite different:

Weiner isn’t, nor ever will be, president. Weiner was a congressman, and not a popular one. Bill Clinton was a popular president, the economy was good and we were at peace. In other words, Bill Clinton was doing his job, despite his behavior, and a good job at that. Weiner on the other hand, it could be argued was distracted by his…umm…hobby.

Hilary wasn’t pregnant. As a woman, I think it was even more reprehensible to many of us ladies that Anthony Weiner was having cybersex, if you will, while his wife was pregnant with his child.

Weiner’s marriage was new. Hilary and Bill have been together a lifetime. Hilary had already suffered through Bill’s indiscretions. She had forgiven him and decided long ago to stand by her man. Although I am sure this was quite painful for her, she was used to forgiving him, and I am sure his behavior was not shocking to her as it was a pattern of behavior.

The “affair” of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky was behind closed doors, albeit those doors were that of the oval office. They were not out for the public to see. On the other hand, Weiner’s penchant for taking photos of his own body parts is, well….a bit perverted. And putting it out there, online for all the world to see, makes it public and a public embarrassment for his wife as well.

I also find it odd that Republicans couldn’t wrap their heads around Democrats forgiving Bill Clinton, and for a time, Anthony Weiner. Isn’t David Vitter still in his political seat after soliciting a prostitute? Not only engaging in adultery, but breaking the law? And how about Mark Sanford? A guy who lied not only to his wife and kids, but to his state when he fled to South America to see his mistress?

So when Anthony Weiner stepped down and, at first, New Yorkers forgave him and gave him a chance, why were Republicans so harsh to judge when their own “sinners” had been forgiven? And what about Eliot Spitzer, who did the same thing as David Vitter, but had the decency to step down, get help, work on his marriage and come back, perhaps soon to be a winner again?

It’s obvious. You can hire prostitutes, play footsies with guys under a bathroom stall, run off from your post, commit adultery and use tax dollars to fly to South America to visit your mistress, and it will be forgiven … unless, you’re a Democrat.

 

By: Leslie Marshall, U. S. News and World Report, July 31, 2013

August 1, 2013 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“It’s Not The Sex, It’s The Stupidity”: Anthony Weiner, Bob Filner And Eliot Spitzer Are Too Stupid For Politics

For a moment, leave aside your emotions. Forget the disgusting character of New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s sexting. Ignore the maddening hypocrisies attending New York City comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer’s “Client 9” moniker. Dismiss the arrogance revealed in San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s alleged sexual harassment.

Clearly, these men seem to have behaved deplorably – possibly even criminally. It’s perfectly fine to be angry, repulsed, and even transfixed by these outrageous scandals. Public servants are not supposed to do these types of things.

And while the media are not wrong for focusing on the shock-value side of these elected officials’ transgressions, the most relevant question to the public tends not to get answered: are these politicians just too dumb to be good at their jobs?

Politics requires perception and forethought. One must know the likely repercussions of one’s actions before doing them. One must know how others’ will receive their words before saying them. Understanding “cause and effect” is a necessary political skill.

Yet as someone who has spent more than a decade scientifically researching and writing on the electoral consequences of scandal, I’m still shocked by the glaring lack of judgment displayed by the politicians at the center of these ethical storms. It’s not just their immorality (infidelity, etc.), which most of them apologize for and suggest occurred because they were experiencing something akin to temporary insanity. It’s the fact that most of these politicians don’t even seem to notice that along with their flagrantly bad behavior, they’re also making such unbelievably stupid choices.

For instance, inventing the name Carlos Danger (Weiner’s alternate identity). Or George Fox (Spitzer’s alternate identity). Or allegedly requesting that a colleague “get naked” at work without wearing panties.

Really? Danger? Fox? Naked? These words alone should have clued these politicians into the possibility that they were engaging in activities that might have negative consequences.

And if they weren’t perceptive enough to realize this or they were too amused with their own assumed cleverness, then they’re too dense to be good politicians. Forgiving a moral failing is one thing, discounting political ineptitude is another thing entirely.

It’s the stupidity that’s scandalous and the most elementary reason why these politicians should not hold public office.

 

By: Lara Brown, U. S. News and World Report, July 24, 2013

July 25, 2013 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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