TV networks and other mainstream news sources hardly ever mention that Democrats embroiled in sex scandals are Democrats, but they always, emphatically identify the party affiliation of Republicans that get into such trouble.
My colleague Brent Baker has painstakingly documented how the big three broadcast networks have gone out of their way to avoid labeling scandal-scarred New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a “Democrat.” An examination of the fifteen ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows through Wednesday night finds Spitzer was called a Democrat just 20% of the time — twice on CBS, once on ABC, and never on NBC.
So how do the networks treat Republicans involved in sex scandals? Always, always as Republicans, and as problems for their party.
The Newsbusters item goes on to document the phenomenon thoroughly. It is indeed more evidence of media bias against the right and for the left:
The list of examples goes on, but the bottom line is that in the early days of their scandals, Vitter and Craig were labeled as Republicans on every broadcast news program—100%—that mentioned their wrongdoing. For Democrat Spitzer, four out of five news programs (80%) have skipped his label. On NBC’s Today and Nightly News through Wednesday night, reporters never once acknowledged that Spitzer was a Democrat.
The media’s message: Republicans enmeshed in personal scandal are a moral stain on their entire party; Democrats in similar circumstances are just individuals, not “Democrats”—and certainly not representatives of the liberal cause.
The continual complaint that the mainstream media are biased lost its piquancy long ago—but it’s still accurate and still very much needed. We must keep it up as a service to the mainstream media, lest they continue to drive their audiences away and force their viewers, readers, and listeners to move to alternative sources of news and analysis, such as The American Culture.
Hey, wait a minute . . .