Media Bias and the Obama Scandals

We live in a strange time. Historically, reporters and editors have believed that their job is to disseminate news. That is no longer true. Now, most reporters and editors believe that their principal function is to prevent people from learning things they are better off not knowing. Day after day, they run interference for their party, the Democrats. Blockading inconvenient stories from making the news is job number one.

Consider Fast and Furious. The Obama administration deliberately encouraged guns to be sold illegally and transferred to Mexican drug lords, for reasons that have never been explained. Hundreds of Mexicans and least one or two Americans died as a result. Was that a news story? In Mexico, yes; here in the U.S., it was generally greeted with yawns.

Benghazi: four dead Americans, including an ambassador who had pleaded with his own State Department–run at the time by a prominent presidential contender–for security that never came. Mysteries abound: what was the ambassador doing in Benghazi anyway? Why did the CIA have an “annex” nearby? Why did one of the alleged ringleaders of the attack give one interview after another to American news outlets while the Obama administration did nothing to apprehend him, or any other participant in the attack, for nearly two years? Why didn’t the administration even attempt to send help to the Americans while they were under attack? Where were Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as the disaster unfolded, and what instructions–if any–did they give? Was Obama too concerned with his fundraising trip to Las Vegas to pay any attention to the Americans who were besieged in Benghazi? And where did the crazy story of the internet video come from, anyway? Why weren’t we told that on the night of the attack, our intelligence agencies reported that the terrorist attackers were using State Department cell phones to report to their superiors?

On the VA, don’t get me started. Just today, more details about the scandal emerged–secret waiting lists, altered records, dying veterans. A year or two ago, leftists like Paul Krugman were touting the VA as evidence that socialized medicine is a smashing success. Mightn’t the current scandal tell us something about the desirability of government-administered medicine? Our reporters and editors won’t touch that angle with a stick.

Then we have the burgeoning IRS scandal. If you are a New York Times reader, let me bring you up to date: the IRS, urged on by Democratic Party politicians, has gone to considerable lengths to suppress conservative-oriented nonprofit organizations. Among many other things, it sent 1.1 million pages of documents, some of them confidential materials that it is a felony to disclose, to the FBI, encouraging the FBI to stir up criminal prosecutions of conservative donors. When its activities came to light, the IRS stonewalled and likely destroyed incriminating documents, while its key employee refused to testify under oath, relying on her privilege against self-incrimination. Scandal, anyone?

It is impossible to understand our press’s supine performance without acknowledging that most reporters and editors are Democratic Party operatives who would rather conceal the news than report it. Pete Wehner writes:

Here’s a thought experiment. Assume during the George W. Bush administration the IRS had targeted, Planned Parenthood, the Center for American Progress, and a slew of other liberal groups. Assume, too, that no conservative groups were the subject of harassment and intimidation. And just for the fun of it, assume that press secretary Ari Fleischer had misled the press and the public by saying the scandal was confined to two rogue IRS agents in Cincinnati and that President Bush had declared that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” that had occurred.

Let’s go a step further. Assume that the IRS Commissioner, in testifying before Congress, admitted that the emails of the person at the heart of the abuse of power scandal were gone, that the backup tapes have been erased and that her hard drive was destroyed. For good measure, assume that the person who was intimately involved in targeting liberal groups took the Fifth Amendment.

Given all this, boys and girls, do you think the elite media–the New York Times, Washington Post, The News Hour, and the news networks for ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN–would pay much attention to it?

Answer: They wouldn’t just cover the story; they would fixate on it. It would be a crazed obsession. Journalists up and down the Acela Corridor would be experiencing dangerously rapid pulse rates. The gleam in their eye and the spring in their step would be impossible to miss. You couldn’t escape the coverage even if you wanted to. The story would sear itself into your imagination.

That is true, obviously. Look what the so-called “mainstream media” did with an inconsequential lane closure on a bridge! The one place where I part company with Wehner is his reference to “the elite media.” There is nothing “elite” about the New York Times or the Washington Post, although the Post’s editorial board is actually pretty good. I can’t imagine anyone claiming that the CBS, ABC or NBC evening news shows are “elite.” All of these news outlets are, in fact, low-grade and partisan. They are entitled to no deference and should be accorded none.

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