[guest post by JVW]
When I lived in New England, Boston magazine used to run a funny recurring piece called something like “Why It’s Good to Live in a Two Newspaper Town.” In it, they would juxtapose coverage of issues based upon the ideology of the two local papers. For instance, a contentious budget deal between Republican Governor Bill Weld and the Democrat legislature might lead to a headline in the left-leaning Boston Globe of “Dems Manage to Partially Restore Weld Cuts in Services to the Poor,” whereas the headline to a similar story in the right-leaning Boston Herald might read “Weld Forces Dems to Accept First Welfare Cuts in Over 50 Years.”
And that’s kind of always been my retort to those (mostly left-leaning) journalists who claim that opinion is limited to the editorial page, and that newsrooms play it straight where reporting is concerned. While reporters and editors might want readers to believe that they are just relaying the who, what, where, when, why, and how of daily events, we all know that newsrooms continually shade the news based upon both how they approach a certain story as well as in their choice of what stories to showcase and pursue. And that leads me to what I just noticed on the two major national news websites, CNN and Fox. The ongoing stalemate within the Democrat Party over the infrastructure bill and the reconciliation spending spree is probably the biggest story in the country right now. Lord knows I’ve bored readers silly here with my obsessive coverage, so here is what each news site believes are the major stories going on at the moment:
I think that for my part I find the story about Sen. Sinema being hounded by activists to be quite a bit more newsworthy than CNN apparently does, even if perhaps I find it to be less newsworthy than Fox has determined. I am cynical enough to believe that had right-wing protesters attacked a Democrat Senator (or even a moderate Republican Senator for that matter) and hounded her to the degree of following her into the ladies room (Isn’t filming someone in the bathroom without their consent illegal, by the way? It’s hard to justify that as being “in public.”) that CNN would dial up the outrage to at least the level that Fox is appearing to do so. By the same token, perhaps if the roles were reversed Fox would be ignoring right-wing activists publicly harassing a Rob Portman or a Susan Collins. Instead, the only mention of Sen. Sinema on CNN’s homepage is a rather insipid “Analysis” piece which argues that Arizona Dems should demand more progressive action out of their senior senator. The network of Chris Cuomo and Jeffrey Toobin is now challenging MSNBC for the silliest opinion writers in all of news media.
Anyway, I thought it was an interesting way to start off the week, and it’s a further lesson in the perils of relying heavily upon one source for the news.
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Add this story to the story about immigrants’ rights activists blocking traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge a few days ago, and you have to wonder why these people think that behaving in the most off-putting manner possible is good for their cause. “Gee, maybe if we make people late to work and medical appointments, and follow them into bathrooms and videotape them, people will start agreeing with us” is not something you typically hear from rational people.
For what it’s worth, the university should identify the videotapers and discipline them, at a minimum. It won’t, but it should. And the traffic-blockers should have been arrested, but I never saw any evidence that they were.