The Blog

Media Circles the Wagons Amid Accusations of Bias Against Romney

Politico may have ulterior motives for accusing the Washington Post and New York Times of bias against Romney. But they also have a point.

5:30 PM, May 31, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

This morning Politico made the worst mistake a mainstream media outlet can make—acknowledging the blindingly obvious truth there is a pronounced media bias against Republicans, specifically Mitt Romney. Predictably, there has been some circling of the wagons. Woe be unto us if the the defenseless Washington Post and New York Times credibility erodes to the point where the center-left has less of an information stranglehold.

Oddly, GQ is the publication defending the sacred honor of America's two most influential media outlets with a piece titled, "Five Points About Politico's Hatchet Job On NYT and WaPo" by Devin Gordon. Before I start piling on, let me say that I read GQ and have liked Gordon's writing in the past. But, alas, this piece merits some special attention. From the first paragraph:

The evidence: The Times wrote a mean story about Ann Romney's equestrian hobby! And The Post wrote a mean story about Mitt Romney's teenage bullying of a maybe-gay kid! And they both ignored all those juicy weed-smoking details from the new David Maraniss biography! (Never mind that Maraniss works for the Post, and the Times did cover it...) GOP operatives smell bias, and goshdarnit, they're right!

If Maraniss works for the Postthen why didn't his own paper cover Obama's pot-smoking high school days? (I can only find the Post mentioning it in this blog post on their website.) Considering the fact they didn't highlight his reporting, isn't the fact Maraniss works for the Post even more damning? Especially in light of the Post front-paging a story on Romney's hazing of other kids in prep school nearly 50 years ago? As for mentioning that the Times did cover Obama's years as a stoner, you have to make a pretty concerted effort to dismiss the actual point Politico made in their article, which is that not all coverage is created equal:

On the front page of its Sunday edition, the New York Times gave a big spread to Ann Romney spending lots of time and tons of money on an exotic genre of horse-riding. The clear implication: The Romneys are silly rich, move in rarefied and exotic circles, and are perhaps a tad shady.

Only days earlier, news surfaced that author David Maraniss had unearthed new details about Barack Obama’s prolific, college-age dope-smoking for his new book, “Barack Obama: The Story” — and the Times made it a brief on A15.

So a front page story equals a brief on page A15. Never mind that Ann Romney's hobby is perhaps even less relevant to the election than Obama's high school days (though I don't think the fact Obama was a huge stoner in high school is all that big a deal to begin with). Moving on to point number one of five in the piece:

Any story about the relative fairness of candidate vetting that doesn't mention, even once, Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers (or even Obama's shady real estate pal Tony Rezco[sic]--remember him? Read all about him in The Times in March 2008!) cannot and should not be taken seriously. It displays right off the bat that its authors have fully swallowed the GOP meme that Obama's past wasn't sufficiently examined in 2008. So insufficiently, in fact, that even before Obama was his party's nominee he had to give a nationally televised speech disowning his former pastor. (Incidentially, The Times's Jodi Kantor wrote a long story about Obama's relationship with Wright in April 2007! A search of the Times's archives for Wright yields more than 2950 results.)

When GQ writes "Tony Rezco[sic]--remember him?" that's unintentionally revealing. I bet a lot of people do need a refresh on Rezko. In all the hyperventilating about Romney's wealth--Dressage! Car elevators!--how often does the media point out Obama's not only not poor, but that he lives in a $1.6 million house that he got through a series of really shady deals with a guy convicted on numerous charges of public corruption?

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers