Any fair-minded and honest observer of political events knows that neither major party has cornered the market on scandals. Public officials elected both as Republicans and Democrats have been exposed for various types of corruption, malfeasance, and other prominent moral failings. So why are major media outlets so unbalanced in their presentation?
Sure, anytime there is a salacious scandal or other revelation that results in the resignation of a big-city mayor, governor, or member of Congress, the news has to talk about it. But there has been a clear and measurable tendency on the media’s part to ignore the party label far more when the story is about a Democrat.
More proof emerges today: My Independence Institute colleague David Kopel compares the reporting of the Denver newspapers on the respective scandals surrounding Republican Congressman Mark Foley and Democrat New York Governor Eliot Spitzer:
In the Post, 25 stories revealed Foley’s party, and eight did not. So both papers mentioned Foley’s party more often than not, while the Post did so at a higher rate.
For coverage of Spitzer last week, the difference between the papers was astonishing. Seven stories in the Post (including print and online) said that Spitzer was a Democrat, and 15 did not.
In the Rocky last week, only three stories noted Spitzer’s party, and 24 did not. Spitzer’s party didn’t make it into the print edition of the Rocky until the Thursday story covering his resignation the day before.
So during the scandal coverage, both papers mentioned Spitzer’s party at a rate far below the rate of mentioning Foley’s party. [emphasis added]
And another item from Newsbusters begins:
The week after it took the NBC Nightly News until the fourth day of coverage to inform viewers that disgraced then-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is a Democrat, Friday’s NBC Nightly News ran a full story on the scandalous behavior surrounding Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, but never identified his political party.
Of course, the Motor City hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1961. So NBC was just assuming its viewers knew Kilpatrick, the son of Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, wasn’t a member of the Grand Old Party … Right? That would be a generous interpretation.
Grand Junction’s Gene Kinsey made the same catch about the NBC broadcast, beginning his post with the colorful remark:
Like the evil name of “Voldemort”, the name Democrat must not be spoken. That seems to be the subtext of many main stream media reports when it comes to the misdeeds of the chosen party.
Indeed. But who that makes Harry Potter, I don’t know.