Last month, CNN spent several days attacking a freshman Republican Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois for saying this about his Democratic opponent:
“She is a hero, and that demands our respect, but it doesn’t demand our vote. All she does, guys, is talk about her service,” Walsh said on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”
Trying to figure out why such an innocuous statement merited any coverage at all, given that Mr. Walsh is not a particularly prominent Republican. And he never slurred his opponent’s service.
His comments, according to CNN’s Ashley Killough, “soon generated buzz online, prompting several groups, including VoteVets.org and Emily’s List, an organization dedicated to helping Democratic women get elected to office, to condemn the congressman’s remarks.” “Although organized as nonpartisan,” Wikipedia reports that VoteVets.org is
“closely aligned with Congressional Democrats,” and “liberal” in news stories. In a June 2011 press release, the organization specifically identified itself as the “largest progressive group of veterans in America.”
Like Emily’s List, VoteVets supports Democrats, having run ads in 2010, backing Harry Reid and attacking Missouri Republican Roy Blunt. In 2008, billing itself as a “liberal group“, it attacked John McCain.
So, when two Democratic groups find a comment that a Republican legislator’s comment generates buzz, CNN stays with the story for days, with coverage largely critical of the Congressman.* Yet, they — and other “news” outlets — don’t devote nearly as much coverage to the House Democratic Leader’s statement comparing her ideological adversaries to a bacterium causing food poisoning.
A minor Republican Congressman generates wall-to-wall coverage for an innocuous (but ill-advised) comment about his opponent. The Democratic leader is all but ignored when she compares conservatives to a bacterium.
Commenting on the blasé media reaction to Mrs. Pelosi’s comment and other similar outlandish statements made by top Democrats, Jim Geraghty observes:
But Reid, Pelosi, the president, his campaign, and his allies continue to throw out weapons-grade nonsense into the media environment with absolutely no consequence whatsoever.
There was a time, not long ago, when if the Senate Majority Leader was going to accuse his opponents of a crime, he had to at least point to some evidence, lest he be derided as a McCarthyite, a demagogue, a liar and a toxic influence to public discourse. There was a time when presidential campaigns did not casually accuse their opponent of murder. There was a time when not every criticism of an opponent’s policy triggered a knee-jerk accusation of “racism!”
No one wonders why our political class is so disappointing. It’s because no sane person would want to step into the BS maelstrom that is modern politics. No one wants to deal with a world where people believe that having the right view entitles you to berate restaurant drive-through attendants. Why participate in public debate, if you’re guaranteed to be demonized and denounced as among the worst of humanity?
Read the whole thing. Until our friends in the legacy media start taking these Democrats to task for their unfounded accusations and they over-the-top rhetoric, they really won’t have much grounds to complain about the coarsening of our political discourse.
Instead of focusing on outrageous statements made by Democrats, seems that some journalists, like those at CNN, would rather attempt to spin an innocuous Republican remark as an outrageous one.
And perhaps in the way they cover the news, they hold at least some responsibility for that coarsening.
*Do wonder if CNN ever ran about a Democrat’s comments when partisan Republican organizations contended it generated buzz.