Byron York: Media bias on display in treatment of prexy books

| May 29 2012
Christopher Cook

Back in 2004, Newsweek’s Evan Thomas said that media bias for Kerry-Edwards was probably worth about 15 points. (A few months later, he desperately tried to walk that cat backwards . . . probably because he had stopped getting invited to cocktail parties. People who let the cat out of the bag usually aren’t too popular.)

Frankly, I think that 15 points is a conservative estimate.

This is a conservative country. The people, in spite of 100 years of battering by statism, Keynesianism, and redistributionism, still have conservative impulses. Our Founding principles are still in our nation’s collective psyche.

Add to that the fact that the left’s ideas do not work. Time and time again, they fail. But they keep being deployed as solutions because virtually no one in the information dissemination complex (media, academia, entertainment) ever does anything but praise the brilliance of these ideas. So the people rarely hear alternatives, and they rarely hear the clear data refuting the effectiveness of these “solutions” to society’s difficulties.

They also rarely hear much about the personal failings of persons of the left. Since we’re on Kerry-Edwards . . .

John “Christmas in Cambodia” Kerry is a pathological liar whose record in the Senate in 2004 was to the left of Ted Kennedy’s. John Edwards . . . well, what can you say about John Edwards? We sure have learned a lot about him over the last few years, including that he makes sleaze look good by comparison. The media’s gentle treatment of these two in 2004 was dwarfed only by their sycophantic perma-hagiography of BarackObama in 2008.

Fifteen points is definitely on the low end.

Byron York covers another example (there are so many) of how the media treats things that hurt (and help) Republican and Democratic candidates far differently.

Not all campaign books are treated equally. Just look at Edward Klein and J.H. Hatfield.
Klein, of course, is the author of the new book “The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House.” Hatfield, now dead and forgotten, wrote a book about George W. Bush, “Fortunate Son,” during the 2000 presidential contest.
Klein’s book, which debuted in early May, has been mostly ignored by large media organizations (although not by the book-buying public, which has put it at the top of next week’s best-seller list). Hatfield’s book, on the other hand, rocked a presidential campaign — before crashing and burning on its own dishonesty and its author’s criminal record.
“Fortunate Son” attracted attention because it reported that Bush, then the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, had been arrested for possessing cocaine when he was 26 years old. Hatfield wrote that Bush’s father, the future President George H.W. Bush, used his influence to cover up the incident.

Hatfield’s book was discredited and he went on to commit suicide, but the damage was already done. A fake story was out there, having been gleefully perpetuated by the media’s treatment of it. Meanwhile, the media ignores or vilifies Klein’s book, in spite of the fact that . . .

Klein’s book reports that in the spring of 2008, in the middle of the presidential campaign and in the heat of the controversy over Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s incendiary sermons, a very close friend of Barack Obama’s offered Wright a payoff if Wright would remain silent until after the November election.
The source of the story is Jeremiah Wright himself. Wright told it, in his own words, in a nearly three-hour recorded interview with Klein. (The author gave the audio of the entire interview to me, as well as to other reporters who asked.)

Jeremiah Wright, on the record, with a revelation like that. Imagine if it were a Republican and the pastor in question were, I don’t know, say, Rick Warren.

If you can’t say, with surety, that the media would be treating it entirely differently, then you really haven’t been paying much attention over the last few decades.

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