A candidate for President had a childhood mentor who had been a Nazi. The candidate made up key details about his life and relationships. He attended a church whose pastor routinely attacked the United States and blamed the United States for AIDS, etc. The candidate wrote an autobiography, but there was lots of credible evidence he did not actually write it himself. He even fundraised in the home of a terrorist.
Naturally, because the candidate was a Republican, the press tore him to shreds. He was discredited and driven from the race. Every little half-truth added up to something substantial. The fact that his childhood mentor had been a Nazi compounded the problems. The fact that he fundraised in a terrorist’s home was, in a post-9/11 world, a really big deal even though it happened before 9/11.
Of course, all the details are true of a candidate except one. The Nazi was actually a virulently anti-American communist. The candidate is Barack Obama. The press gave Barack Obama a pass on all these things and never demanded his college transcripts. They gave him a pass on inconsistent biography details such as his literary agent claiming Obama was born in Kenya. They took the literary agent at her word, something they’d never do for Republicans. They never investigated to see if Barack Obama, who few in college with him remembered, might have applied as a foreign student for scholarship or student aid purposes.
Barack Obama also had a composite girlfriend. His autobiography, treated as non-fiction, discussed his relationship with his girlfriend, but she did not actually exist. Again, the media gave him a pass on all this.
Hillary Clinton’s best week on the campaign trail had her admitting she privately told people Benghazi had been a terror attack, but publicly blamed a video. She was given a pass on claims she flew into Bosnia under gun fire, which was not true. She was given a pass on claiming to be named for Sir Edmund Hillary, which she was not.
John Edwards had a mistress on the campaign trail. The media ignored the story and would not touch it. Only after the National Enquirer came out with the story was the media forced to deal it. The first act of the national press corps was to attack the National Enquirer.
When John Kerry made allegations about his service in Vietnam, numerous men who served with John Kerry came forward to say he was not telling the truth. It took a month of the “Swiftboat Veterans for Truth” being covered in conservative circles before Brit Hume mentioned it on Special Report only to be ignored by every other media outlet for several more weeks. Even then, the press did their best to dismiss, attack, and demean the men who dared serve with John Kerry and claim he was not telling the truth.
As Marco Rubio said, the media is Hillary Clinton’s Super PAC. The media serves as the Democrats’ Super PAC. The national press corps tends to be overwhelmingly more liberal, more secular, more white, and more elitist than the nation as a whole. Many members of the press graduated from posh colleges then joined left-leaning organizations or Democratic campaigns before transitioning into the supposedly “objective” press corp. Their sympathies are for the left and they are more likely to trust left-wing sources. They view their job as activism, not just reporting facts so people can make up their own minds. They belive in narratives, which shape how they report stories, choosing to ignore any facts that shake their narrative. Kermit Gosnell, after all, was a local crime story and Wendy Davis was a national sensation.
The right must try harder. The Republican candidates must be better and more polished throughout the campaign cycle because the press is more likely to believe the left than the right due to their biases.
Recently, ABC News put up video demanding everyone be outraged by Carly Fiorina for not correcting a man who said something wrong about President Obama. The press not only never corrects President Obama when he is wrong, but they surely do not expect him to correct other people. They do not do that for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, but by God Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump better stop any questioner who dares suggests something not true about the President.
Now, conveniently, polling shows Dr. Ben Carson is the most liked and most trusted candidate out there in the Republican Primary. So a series of stories are now trickling out casting down on Ben Carson’s veracity. First, the Politico hit Ben Carson with claims that Carson claimed to have applied to and been accepted by West Point.
That was not true. But it also was a claim Ben Carson never made.
Now it appears Ben Carson got his months wrong for a meeting he had with General Westmoreland roughly forty years ago. The press pounced on that and more readily excused Barack Obama’s composite girlfriend than excused Ben Carson for being off by three months on when he met General Westmoreland in Detroit.
These attacks are no doubt planted by a campaign as the national press corps is too damn lazy to inspect any of this without it being spoon fed to them. There are, mind you, no stories out there about any of the other campaigns beginning oppo dumps on Carson. But much of the coverage of Ben Carson and his supposedly misstatements turn out to be more wrong than anything Ben Carson said.
At this point, the media demands website hits to make ends meet. The story needs to be first, not necessarily right, and the more salacious it is, the better. If a story comes out wrong, the inevitable links back to the original story will still drive revenue.
The press will give latitude to their friends on the Democratic side more than the Republican side. They will sooner believe Hillary Clinton landed in Bosnia under gunfire than that Ben Carson met General Westmoreland, who most of the press corps does not even know or appreciate who he was.
Republican candidates should always point out media bias. We should point out the double standards. We should point out the press is lying, fabricating, misstating, or forging facts. But we should also understand that the press still can penetrate into the minds of many Americans who are otherwise tuned out. Our candidates are given no flexibility and must always be on the top of their game.
As we head toward picking a nominee, we should be mindful of that fact. We can complain all we want, but we must also deal with the reality in which our candidates are running for President.