Sunday, July 27, 2008

Putting Partisan Spin On A Claim Of Partisan Spin

Local right-wing wackadoodle Phil Valentine makes one of his most ludicrous claims yet in Sunday’s Tennessean column. Looking for media bias in all the wrong places, Valentine wonders why the media have not covered tawdry, unsubstantiated rumors about John Edwards alleged by that bastion of journalistic integrity, The National Enquirer.

Valentine writes:
Is it true? Who knows? And that's not really the point here. The point is the arbiters of news have a different set of standards as to what passes for news depending on the party affiliation of the person involved.

Valentine then has to go back a full 13 years to find an example of the “liberal” media attacking conservative Newt Gingrich over his affair (which, for the record, ended up being true).

Some would argue they printed Newt's story to accentuate his hypocrisy, but that was three years before the Monica Lewinsky affair. The only reason to run with the Newt story was because it was newsworthy. And because he happened to be a despised Republican elected official.

Oh, yeah. Monica Lewinsky. Remember her? I think she was involved with a despised Democratic elected official. Maybe I’m remembering it wrong.

Valentine also conveniently forgets the Eliot Spitzer scandal, which rocked all the major news outlets just four months ago.

I love the selective memory of people like Phil Valentine. It’s so cute when they confuse “liberal media bias” with “journalistic standards against covering unsubstantiated gossip as legitimate news.” But you can’t really blame them. I’ve watched a good bit of Fox News lately and one thing I’ve noticed is how little actual news they cover. Mostly, it’s celebrity gossip and tawdry sensationalism about missing white women and bizarre animal attacks.

Consume enough of that and no wonder you could come up with a line like

Is it true? Who knows? And that's not really the point here.

Okay, Mr. Valentine. I heard a rumor that you regularly have sex with farm animals. And I want to know why there’s a media blackout on covering this story.

Is it true? Who knows? That's not really the point here. The media has an obligation to cover this story anyway.

See how easy that was?