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Superbowl XLVIII | Main | Actor Phillip Seymore Hoffman Dead After Apparent Drug Overdose (According to Police)
February 02, 2014

Guess the Party

While you're waiting for Dave's official Cavalcade of Elbows, you might want to check this out. This is more egregious than the usual Guess the Party situation.

As Newsbusters tells the tale, within the short space of 40 seconds, (MS)NBC's Brian Williams reported on two politicians caught up in scandal -- Tray Radel, the Florida Congressman who was busted with cocaine and who just resigned over that infraction, and former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, on trial for 21 counts of bribery in accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars for awarding city contracts to companies that bought his favor.

Within 40 seconds, these two stories were reported (briefly). The party affiliation of one of the men was reported, but not the other.

Can you guess the party which was prominently mentioned in this story, and which party went entirely unmentioned?

Spoiler Alert: Yes, you can guess. More specifically, you can guess with 100% accuracy.

For years, I have made this point: This persistent bias in reporting can be almost entirely cured by simply writing, into each news organization's style book, a directive as to when to report a misbehaving politician's partisan affiliation (always) and where in the story to do so (the headline, always).

There is one simple reason the media does not include such an unbiased rule in their stylebooks: They wish to be biased. To make an even-handed rule would limit their ability to do just what Brian Williams did last night -- to use their own partisan leanings to decide if they should note the political affiliation of a corrupt or embarrassing politician -- and they do not wish to be even-handed.

They want to keep on doing this, forever, and forever, and forever more.

By the way: Also note that Tray Radel's infraction can be characterized as "personal misbehavior" (a la Clinton) whereas Nagin's trespass -- bribery -- gets right to the heart of job performance, that is, his position within the political structure.

Thus, Nagin's misbehavior is more political and has more to do with actual political outcomes than Radel's, which is more personal, and has almost nothing to do with political issues our outcomes.

And yet, and yet. Brian Williams wanted you to know Radel is a Republican, and he wished desperately to make you forget that Nagin is a Democrat.

At the link, Newsbusters recounts some recent media refusals to label Democrats as such (for example, Bob Filner, the 20 year Congressman and progressive wingman to Nancy Pelosi, turns out to not belong to any political party, in the media's reportage at least). Video at the link too.

Via Instapundit.

digg this
posted by Ace at 01:25 PM

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