Washington Post And Readers Seize Opportunity to Show Their Colors

A Washington Post headline, on March 3, 2011, read “Frederick official’s comment that a woman’s place is in the home creates uproar.” I read the article, and some of the hundreds of comments on the article. What I found, and what I did not find, was very interesting. What I found was a lot of name calling (“hate speech” as the left likes to call it) directed towards Frederick County Commissioners Paul Smith and Kirby Delauter. But what I did not find was the quote from the Frederick officials where they said a woman’s place is in the home, nor exactly what Smith and Delauter said to set off the so-called controversy.

According to the Post, Mr. Smith “told a TV station and intimated at a public hearing before voting to slash half the funding for the county’s Head Start program, [that] a woman’s place is in the home” (emphasis added). So in stead of relying what what a Washington Post reporter thinks Mr. Smith implied, I decided to see what he told the TV station and I also dug up the transcript from the public hearing on Head Start to read exactly what Smith and Delauter said that started this uproar. I hope you find this as enlightening as I did.

Public Hearing on Head Start

According to the Frederick News Post, this is what Paul Smith said in a February 8, 2011 Commissioner’s meeting:

“I am very sensitive to the importance of the 3- and 4-year-old age for children … and there’s no question that our community needs to continue to be committed in this area and watch out for and help the families. I think it’s … very significant that we did make this … marriage week announcement today because that is the best long-term … way to help our children, as marriage is strengthened in our community … because, I mean, I know — as many of you know — I had a lot of kids … and my wife stayed home — a significant sacrifice — during those early years, because she knew she had to be with those kids at that critical age, and I know everybody isn’t able to survive doing that, but clearly … as we can strengthen marriage we can decrease the children that we [the governement] have to reach, and I think the best approach … ultimately, will be through the private sector, churches.”

Mr. Smith went on to talk about the electoral mandate from the fall of 2010 to get spending under control and to not raise taxes. He further talked about the need for the public to wean themselves from entitlement programs like Head Start and the need for families, churches, and the private sector to step up in their place. Read the full transcript from Feb. 8 Commissioner’s meeting on the Frederick News Post website. Mr. Delauter  agreed with Mr. Smith and added:

“I do think the private sector’s got to take up some of the slack. We … ran on the platform like Commissioner Smith said: no new taxes, no tax increases. That was a mandate. … We’ve been very clear that we take that seriously. Again, my wife, college-educated, could go out and get a very good job. She gave that up for 18 years so she could stay home with our kids. We gave up a lot to do that. … I agree again with Commissioner Smith: The marriage thing is very important. I mean, the education of your kids starts at home, OK. I never relied on anyone else to guarantee the education of my kids. … So, again, the (Head Start) program’s not going away. Will it be affected? That’s possible. Will the quality be affected? That’s possible, but with the budget that we’ve been dealt — and we knew that coming in; that’s what we ran on; that’s what we talked about all through the campaign — but the cards we’ve been dealt — we have to deal with that, and raising taxes on people that don’t have work is not an option. So we’ve got to start living more within our means.”

Nothing from Smith and Delauter’s seems as incendiary as The Washington Post makes it out to seem. And in fact, the bulk of Smith and Delauter’s comments were regarding fiscal responsibility, rather than women’s, mother’s, and family responsibilities. One thing is clear though, contrary to the Post’s assertion, Mr. Smith never said a woman’s place is in the home. According to ABC 7 News in the Washington D.C. area, Mr. Smith did say that a mother’s primary responsibility is the care and nurture of her children (see ABC 7’s video: Comments spark vigil in Frederick.) But, perhaps this distinction between a woman’s role and a mother’s role will do little to appease Mr. Smith’s detractors.

More Common Ground Than You Think

Few people would disagree that stronger marriages and families is one of the best thing we can do for children. Few people would disagree that a mother of small children has as her first and primary responsibility to care for those kids and provide the best home life possible. And I hope there would not be many people that would argue with the premise that a child’s mother, without discounting the role of the father, is the ideal person to provide that love, nurture, and education early in life. Of course that ideal will not always be achieved, due to various circumstances in life, but just because the ideal cannot always be achieved doesn’t change the fact that it is ideal.

Washington Post and Readers Show Their True Colors

Of course, rather than focusing on this common ground, the Washington Post and ABC 7, for the sake of sensational news and perhaps due to other motives, have portrayed the comments of Mr. Smith and Mr. Delauter as incendiary and provocative. Instead of quoting Mr. Smith and giving the story proper context, the Washington Post intimates and implies things that aren’t true in order to satisfy their own agenda, which appears to be to portray Republicans and Christians as backwards and evil.

Well, based on the comments of the Washington Post readership (below), to a large extent, they have succeeded. But in the process, the Post and their friends on the liberal left, have shown their true colors. They are deceptive, mean-spirited, and intolerant of other people’s views. Here is a sampling of the things Washington Post readers are saying about Smith and Delauter. They…

  • Want women to be “household slaves”
  • Want “Sharia Law in the USA”
  • Are “like the Taliban”
  • “Should be put into a home”
  • “Pretend to be pro-family”
  • Are “anti-education”
  • Want a “theocracy like Iran”
  • Are “un-Christian”
  • “Never had to struggle for anything”
  • Should “leave the religion at home”
  • “Don’t belong holding public office”
  • Are “trashy”, “stupid”, “Rednecks”, “idiots”, “Crackpots”, “schmucks”, “morons”, “religious nutcakes”, “fools”, “religious extremists”, and “ignorant.”

All this comes from the kind-hearted, always tolerant left-wing liberals in this country. Perhaps with this additional light shed on subject, those people will reach out and apologize to Mr. Smith and Mr. Delauter. But I’m not holding my breath.

Admittedly Conservative Talk Radio is More Fair than So-Called Unbiased Main Stream Media

I recently read a very interesting study from the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard University called A First Look at Coverage of the 2008 Presidential Campaign. The study looked at the political leanings of different media outlets including Network Television, Cable News, Internet, Talk Radio and Newspapers.

Here are some of their overall findings:

  • “A new poll by The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press conducted for this report finds that about eight-in-ten of Americans say they want more coverage of the candidates’ stances on issues
  • Yet, “just 1% of stories examined the candidates’ records or past public performance, the study found”
  • “Just 12% of stories examined were presented in a way that explained how citizens might be affected by the election, while nearly nine-out-of-ten stories (86%) focused on matters that largely impacted only the parties and the candidates.”
  • “Democrats generally got more coverage than Republicans, (49% of stories vs. 31%.)”
  • “Overall, Democrats also have received more positive coverage than Republicans (35% of stories vs. 26%),”
  • “Republicans received more negative coverage than Democrats (35% vs. 26%).”Now, taking the data in this study, I did my own analysis and the findings were quite informative. Just take a look at the chart below.

  • Coverage of Republicans is slanted to the negative in every outlet except talk radio and NPR.
  • Coverage of Democrats is slanted to positive in every outlet except PBS and talk radio.
  • Talk radio gives Republicans the fairest treatment of all outlets with roughly equal positive and negative stories.
  • Cable news give Democrats the fairest treatment though they still favor slightly more positive than negative stories.
  • NPR tends to lean toward positive stories for both Republicans and Democrats, but of their negative stories, Republicans get the greater share
  • Newspapers and Network TV News lean heavily to the left, reporting mostly positive about Democrats and mostly negative about Republicans
  • The most amazing thing about this study is how it shows that Talk Radio, which openly admits to lean Conservative/Republican, is much more fair in their reporting than other media sources which claim to be unbiased.

    Today’s Media: A Consistently Hypocritical Pattern of Treatment

    I was listening to an FM disk jockey recently (I do occasionally switch the radio from the political news and commentary on the AM dial). This DJ was expressing his shock and outrage at the behavior of Republican Senator Larry Craig who has been in the news recently over an incident of soliciting sex in a men’s bathroom in Minneapolis. I wondered if that DJ expressed the same shock and outrage in 1998 when the President of the United States was having sex with an intern in the Oval Office.

    This got me thinking about how differently the main-stream media treats Republican versus Democrat sex scandals. And it seems to me there is a pattern, illustrated below:

    News Media’s Reaction to Political Sex Scandals
    Behavior Sanctions it? Does it? Consistent?
    Republican No Yes No, therefore hypocrite and excoriated
    Democrat Yes Yes Yes. Not hypocrite, therefore ignored or justified

    News Media’s Reaction to Political Sex Scandals: Example 1
    Behavior: Sexual immorality Sanctions it? Does it? Consistent?
    Republican Senator Larry Craig solicits sex in a men’s bathroom No Yes No, therefore hypocrite and excoriated in the media. And forced to resign by his own party.
    Democrat Barney Frank has a male-prostitution ring operating in his house Yes Yes Yes. Not hypocrite, therefore largely ignored by the media. And still in office.1

    News Media’s Reaction to Political Sex Scandals: Example 2
    Behavior: Sexual immorality Sanctions it? Does it? Consistent?
    Republican Mark Foley’s inappropriate instant messaging of male pages No Yes No, therefore hypocrite and excoriated in the media. And forced to resign by his own party.
    Democrat Garry Studds actually has sex with a 17-year-old page Yes Yes Yes. Not hypocrite. Celebrated by his own party and re-elected.2

    Of course, this pattern of media treatment seems to be only limited to traditional/Christian moral principles. The media’s pattern of reaction flips completely with regard to Progressive/Politically Correct principles of morality.

    News Media’s Reaction to Politically Correct Principles
    Behavior Sanctions it? Does it? Consistent?
    Republican No No Yes, but excoriated for their unbelief
    Democrat Yes No No, but praised for raising awareness

    News Media’s Reaction to Politically Correct Principles: Example 1
    Behavior: Reduce Carbon Footprint Sanctions it? Does it? Consistent?
    Republicans, many of whom do not subscribe to the theory of man-made global warming No No Yes, but excoriated for their unbelief and called ‘global warming deniers.’3
    Democrat Al Gore’s home uses 20 times the electricity of the average household Yes No No, but praised and awarded for raising awareness.4

    I find it very interesting that when Republicans live inconsistent with the values they promote, they are excoriated in the media. But when Democrats live inconsistent with the values they promote, they are praised for at least trying. Of course this consistently hypocritical treatment of Republicans and Democrats in the media can be explained when you consider that over 80% of journalists vote Democrat.5 In their eyes, Democrats can do no wrong and Republicans can do no right.

    1. http://newsbusters.org/node/8119
    2. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1713746/posts
    3. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/01/AR2006060100632.html
    4. http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/NussbaumOnDesign/archives/2007/02/gores_carbon_fo.html
    5. http://www.mediaresearch.org/biasbasics/biasbasics3.asp

    Study Finds Morning News Shows Promote Democrats Significantly More Than Republicans

    Here is a very interesting article about political bias in network TV news coverage. I was going to write a blog on it, but instead, I though I would just include an abridged version of the article. It’s kind of lengthy, but if you want to tackle the complete report, click here.


    Rise and Shine on Democrats
    How the ABC, CBS and NBC Morning Shows Are Promoting Democrats On the Road to the White House

    By Rich Noyes
    MRC Research Director

    In the coming months, Democratic and Republican primary voters will gather to choose their nominees for President of the United States. Unlike most election years, no incumbent is on the ballot this time, leaving both parties with wide-open nomination contests. The large number of candidates in each race leaves voters with much to learn about the many competitors’ biographies, records, stances on issues, and personal character.

    But are the broadcast networks providing roughly equivalent coverage of both the Democratic and Republican races? Or are liberal journalists giving more broadcast airtime and more favorable coverage to the leading Democratic candidates, handing that party an advantage going into next year’s campaign season?

    To find out, a team of Media Research Center analysts examined all campaign stories on the three broadcast network morning programs from January 1 to July 31, 2007… Unlike the networks’ evening newscasts, the two- and three-hour long morning shows can spend far more time delving into a candidates’ record (Good Morning America, for example, has already hosted two town hall-style meetings with candidates). And, unlike the networks’ Sunday morning shows, the three morning shows are not geared toward political junkies, but rather the everyday voters that campaigns seek to reach. Consequently, the broadcast morning shows are a prime battleground in the candidates’ competition for media attention and positive coverage.

    Our analysts tabulated the total amount of coverage given to the two nomination races and each of the candidates, including all field reports, interviews and brief news items. Then the analysts conducted a more detailed examination of each interview with either one of the candidates or a designated surrogate (usually the candidate’s spouse), and tallied the airtime…The results show that all three of the network morning shows are a favorable media forum for the Democratic candidates, and more forbidding terrain for the Republicans.

    TV’s Morning Shows Throw Their Spotlight on the Democrats

    With Election Day well over a year away, the presidential campaign has already gotten off to a strong start on the Big Three morning shows. From January 1 to July 31, MRC analysts tallied 517 campaign items on the weekday editions of ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’s Early Show and NBC’s Today. About two-thirds of these items (345) were long segments — either full reports from field correspondents or interviews with candidates or analysts. The remaining 172 items were relatively brief discussions of the campaign, mainly short anchor-read news stories.

    Overall, the networks offered nearly twice as much coverage of the Democratic primary race than the Republican contest. More than half of all campaign segments (284, or 55%) focused on the Democrats, compared with just 152 (29%) devoted to the Republican candidates. Another 13 percent (66 stories) contained discussions of both parties, while 15 stories (3% of the total) focused on a possible independent candidacy of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    While all three networks gave more attention to the Democrats, ABC’s Good Morning America was the most tilted, with more than twice as many segments on the Democrats (119, or 62% of their campaign stories) than on the Republicans (51 stories, or 26% of ABC’s total). CBS’s Early Show featured Democrats in more than half of their campaign news (75 stories, or 54%), compared to less than a third that featured Republicans (44 stories, or 31%). Meanwhile, just under half of the coverage on NBC’s Today (90 stories, or 49%) featured Democrats, compared to 57 stories (31%) about the GOP.

    The skew in favor of the Democratic race has been evident all year. In January, the networks all excitedly jumped on the announcements that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would join the race, contributing to a total of 52 Democratic stories that month. In contrast, the GOP contest garnered just five stories that month, a ten-to-one imbalance.

    As the accompanying chart shows, the networks’ inordinate emphasis on the Democratic nomination contest continued in February and March, with nearly twice as many stories on the Democrats than on the Republicans. In April, the gap between the two parties actually narrowed, and in May — thanks to coverage of the first major Republican debate — the networks actually spent more time on the GOP, though not by much. In June and July, however, the gap between the two parties once again grew, with Democrats receiving more than twice as much coverage in July (52 stories vs. 22).

    While about one-third of stories focused on more than one candidate — such as debate stories, or items about a verbal exchange between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, for example — about two-thirds emphasized a single candidate. Remarkably, all three of the Democratic frontrunners — Clinton, Obama and John Edwards — were each the subject of more of these single-candidate stories than each of the three of the Republican front-runners, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney. Interestingly, the networks also aired more stories about the never-declared candidacy of former Democratic Vice President Al Gore than the actual candidacies of Republicans Romney and Giuliani.

    Hillary Clinton: Not only has Senator Clinton received more media attention than any other candidate from either party (61 stories), hers has been the only campaign where staffers have been welcomed on the morning shows as substitutes for the candidate, an indulgence normally reserved for sitting presidents or actual nominees. The networks also frequently touted Clinton’s “inevitability” to receive the Democrat Party nomination.

    John Edwards: While former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards ranked second only to Hillary Clinton in overall coverage (44 stories), the morning shows seemed more interested in Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, than his presidential campaign.

    Barack Obama: In the race for the network spotlight, the junior Senator from Illinois was close behind John Edwards, with 41 morning show segments featuring Barack Obama. The early coverage of his campaign was effusive. “He’s today the political equivalent of a rock star,” CBS’s Gloria Borger trumpeted on the January 17 Early Show, adding: “An appearance by Obama looks like a mosh pit.” The next day, NBC’s Matt Lauer agreed: “He’s got rock star buzz around him.”

    John McCain: A favorite of campaign reporters during the 2000 campaign, the network morning shows have given McCain more coverage than any of his GOP rivals (31 stories), but only about half as much as Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

    Al Gore: Like Republican Fred Thompson, the ex-Vice President was not an announced candidate during the seven months we studied, and unlike Thompson gave no strong sign that he even planned to run. Yet Gore was featured in 29 network stories casting him as a potential presidential candidate in 2008, more coverage than most of the actual candidates.

    Rudy Giuliani: In spite of his frontrunner status, the former New York City mayor has received surprisingly little coverage, just 26 items. In contrast to the heavy coverage of Edwards’, Clinton’s and Obama’s announcements, ABC and NBC offered only a quick anchor brief when Giuliani made it official on CNN’s Larry King Live in February. Only CBS offered something approaching a full segment that day. Interestingly, the networks used the “liberal” label 12 times to describe Giuliani’s views, particularly on social issues. In contrast, the entire Democratic field has been termed “liberal” just twice during the same period (with one label for Obama and another for New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson).

    Mitt Romney: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Democrat John Edwards seem to occupy about the same tier in their respective parties. Both trail in national polls by significant margins, but are at or near the top in the earliest states — Edwards in Iowa, Romney in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Yet Romney was featured in just 19 morning show segments, less than half the coverage given to Edwards.

    Joe Biden: Delaware Senator Joe Biden, a frequent morning show guest over the years, received more coverage than the other bottom-tier Democrats (16 stories), but nothing like the warm reception given to his party’s three frontrunners.

    Mike Bloomberg: Amid suggestions that the billionaire mayor of New York City might run as a self-financed independent, the networks saw great significance in Bloomberg’s decision in June to leave the Republican Party that he’d joined only to run for mayor in 2001.The media boomlet for Bloomberg generated 15 stories in June and July, giving the non-candidate more coverage than many of the announced contenders.

    Fred Thompson: After his name surfaced as a potential, if not likely presidential candidate, the networks made it clear that they thought former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson had the potential to win it all. Yet for all of the Law & Order star’s potential political heft, the networks have spent less time on Thompson (11 stories) than more liberal possibilities such as Gore and Bloomberg.

    Morning TV Interviews: Much More Time for Democrats

    When it came to airtime, the Democratic advantage was even more pronounced. Interviews with the various Democratic campaigns totaled 275 minutes of coverage, or roughly four and a half hours. In contrast, the Republicans garnered only 104 minutes of morning show airtime (1 hour, 44 minutes), a greater than two-to-one disparity. (The two interviews with Bloomberg totaled just over nine minutes.)

    When one looks solely at interviews with the candidates themselves (excluding their husbands, wives or other spokesmen), the gap shrinks only somewhat. The Democratic candidates still commanded more than three and a half hours of airtime (214 minutes), while the Republicans received just over an hour and a half (97 minutes).

    Once again, the networks lavished the most attention on the three Democratic front-runners, with New York Senator Hillary Clinton leading the pack with nearly 90 minutes of airtime. Clinton herself accounted for about two-thirds (62 minutes) of her campaign’s exposure on the morning shows, but the networks also hosted her campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe, her spokesman Howard Wolfson, a group of her top female staffers, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

    The networks gave Clinton’s Democratic rival John Edwards’s campaign more than an hour of airtime this year (65 minutes), with more than two-thirds (45 minutes) going to the candidate himself (with the rest going to his wife, Elizabeth). Illinois Senator Barack Obama’s campaign gained 53 minutes of face time with morning show viewers — 40 minutes for the candidate, and the rest for his wife, Michelle.

    Former Vice President Al Gore was a network guest eight times, getting more than 48 minutes of airtime. (MRC analysts only counted interviews in which a potential Gore presidential campaign was discussed.) Once again, the non-candidate Gore eclipsed the major GOP candidates, as the networks gave less airtime to the campaigns of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (40 minutes) and Arizona Senator John McCain (35 minutes).

    The networks hosted second-tier Democratic candidate Joe Biden four times (19 minutes), making him a more visible morning show presence than GOP frontrunner Rudy Giuliani, who was interviewed three times (17 minutes). Interestingly, Giuliani has yet to appear on CBS’s Early Show this year, a show on which Al Gore has appeared four times.

    Rounding out the field, potential GOP candidate Newt Gingrich, and declared Republicans Tom Tancredo and Mike Huckabee have each been interviewed once this year. None of the other Republican or Democratic candidates has made an appearance on a network morning show through July 31.

    Conclusion: The Networks Must Find Their Balance

    In spite of the heavy activity seen thus far, Campaign 2008 is far from over. If history is an accurate guide, the networks will provide their heaviest coverage of the primary campaigns in January and February; then a long campaign between the two party nominees will commence, with the heaviest news coverage of the two party conventions and the fall debates.

    Yet the first seven months of this campaign already provide evidence of a disturbing tilt in network news coverage. It’s long been established that most of the top network reporters and other members of the media elite hold mainly liberal policy views and vote overwhelmingly for Democrats on Election Day. This study shows that the networks are focusing much more of their time and energy covering the Democratic nomination race than the Republican contest, and are more frequently opening their airwaves to the Democratic candidates. Add to that the fact that the coverage of the major Democratic candidates has been more favorable, and that the agenda of network news interviews has reflected the liberal priorities of the Democratic Party, and the case for the networks showing partisan favor in this election cycle begins to sharpen.

    The broadcast networks have a responsibility to cover both parties in a fair and even-handed manner — not for the sake of the candidates, but for the voters. That means giving viewers a chance to hear from all of the major candidates in interviews, asking them similar questions, and balancing the day-to-day news coverage to keep both Democratic and Republican primary voters equally well-informed. It’s obviously going to be a long campaign. The networks have an obligation to make it a fair campaign as well.