Perfesser Emeritus of Dumbsplaining Glenn Reynolds stands at the USA Today lectern and readies himself, looking serious (turning his notes upside down, then downside up) before today’s lecture: The Media Hate Republicans.
He opens with a stab at rhetoric.
Why do organizations like CNN let Democrats’ arrested for felonies slip through the cracks?
The question sets the tone brilliantly. Isn’t the world a seesaw battle between Democrats and Republicans? And if CNN is not willing to be mean to one, aren’t they being mean to the other?
California State senator (and, until last week, candidate for secretary of state) Leland Yee was well-known as an anti-gun activist. Then, last week, he was indicted for, yes, conspiring to smuggle guns and rocket launchers between mobsters and terrorists in exchange for massive bribes…
This all sounds like news. You’ve got charges of huge bribes, rampant hypocrisy, illegal weapons and even a connection with foreign terrorists — and from a leading politician in an important state.
A ‘leading politician in an important state’ I probably would have heard about. But unless you live in Northern California, like me you’ve never heard a word about Leland Yee, the San Francisco politician who was arrested for shoplifting in 1992 and stopped for soliciting prostitutes in 1999. Gun-running sure as hell trumps those previous raps and he’s welcome to rot in jail.
But why isn’t CNN all over this story? A gun-hating Chinese Democrat from Pelositown exporting arms from the Philippines? If they’d only let the perfesser run their San Francisco bureau he’d have Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy on this in a heartbeat.
CNN…didn’t report the story at all. When prodded by viewers, the network snarked that it doesn’t do state senators. Which is odd, because searching the name of my own state senator, Stacey Campfield, turns up a page of results, involving criticisms of him for saying something “extreme”. Meanwhile, CNN found time to bash Wisconsin state senator and supporter of Gov. Scott Walker, Randy Hopper over marital problems.
But there’s a difference. They’re Republicans. When Republicans do things that embarrass their party, the national media are happy to take note, even if they’re mere state senators.
Glenn doesn’t understand how ‘media’ work. Which is understandable since he believes all things originate from authority. CNN is failing in its role as Media Daddy, refusing to focus proper attention on Leland Yee and start a political wildfire. If the resulting scandal should burn down the White House, well that would be a fine example of balanced reporting.
But life is more complicated than that. There’s a second authority involved in the media complex: The audience. If they’re bored with a story, then they kill it. And it doesn’t matter how much indignation a perfesser manages, the controversy simply goes away.
In the case of Stacey Campfield, CNN were only taking their orders from the crowd. He’s a provocative asshole who posted an image of an “assault pressure cooker” to lob insults at gun control advocates while Boston Marathon bombing victims were still fighting to survive. The predictable and purposeful outrage landed him an interview on, yes, CNN. It shouldn’t surprise Glenn that CNN’s archives retain links going back to CNN’s interviews, but it does.
In the case of Hopper, CNN has a single four-paragraph blurb on him in Ed Hornick’s ‘Political Circus.’ And only then because Hopper was being recalled when his wife informed reporters he’d abandoned the family to live with his young mistress. Dear me the extent to which CNN will go to take down Republicans, it shocks you. But if you’re not yet full of astonishes, you can always try swallowing whatever argument Glenn cooks up next. In this dish, a turkey:
We’ve seen this before, of course: Washington Post reporter Sarah Kliff dismissed the horrific Kermit Gosnell trial as a “local crime story”, even as the press was going crazy covering another equally local crime story, the George Zimmerman trial.
Take in the warped panorama of Instapundit world, where Gosnell plays an ignoble Democrat and Zimmerman a good Republican. In George’s case, CNN had it in for the young conservative while the rest of the country couldn’t have cared less. But somebody left the TV on in the den, and then all sorts of people got angry, or at least said so, or feigned their outrage or something. And for no reason! If the media had pulled the same crap on Kermit Gosnell you’d have seen NBA players standing center court in support of the pro-life movement, sporting the same “Abort Obama” t-shirts the cool kids wear.