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Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Return of the ConWeb's Tabloid Double Standard
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb loves to denounce salacious news about Republicans as worthy of only the supermarket tabloids, if that, while salaccious news about Democrats is always considered to be front-page news in real newspapers.

For instance, earlier this year, the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell denounced New York Times article suggesting that John McCain might have been involved in an extramarital affair as "rumor and gossip, fit to print only for the likes of the National Enquirer." Yet posters at the MRC's NewsBusters blog want the mainstream media to print rumors about an affair involving Democrat John Edwards that surfaced in, yes, the National Enquirer.

Tim Graham, who huffed back in February that "The 'news' alleging adultery against McCain is not 'fit to print,'" now finds in a July 24 post that news alleging adultery against Edwards is quite fit to print:

The double-standard here clearly looks partisan -- Edwards vs [Larry] Craig, or Mark Foley. There's also another standard that strangely kicks in. Trivial sexual matters like toe-tapping and scuzzy Internet messaging are more likely to get coverage than charges that raise more serious questions like cheating on a dying wife (or charges of raping a political supporter, as in the Juanita Broaddrick charges). Reporters laughed and joked about Craig and Foley. They're not laughing when the shoe is on the foot of their favorites.

There is a double standard all right, and it's Graham's. In portraying Edwards and Craig as equivalent scandals, we have rumors that everyone involved is denying vs. an actual guilty plea in court to an actual criminal charge.

Elsewhere at NewsBusters, Dave Pierre howled that "the Los Angeles Times has banned its bloggers from writing about the reported affair between Sen. John Edwards and a blonde named Rielle Hunter. And P.J. Gladnick is concerned that Wikipedia refuses "to allow their John Edwards entry to be updated with mention of the alleged scandal which was reported in the National Enquirer with many of the details confirmed by Fox News." In fact, Fox News confirmed nothing beyond one person making the affair allegations was a hotel guard -- not the purported affair itself.

Gladnick went on to assert:

So far the only cracks in the MSM wall of silence on this matter have come only in the form of opinion columns. However, it will be increasingly difficult in the days to come for the MSM to refrain from reporting on this. Unlike the days before the Web, such a story cannot remain permanently on ice. There are just too many sources already covering it and for the MSM to refrain from reporting on this scandal just makes them look even more foolish than they already are.

Never mind, of course, that there's no actual verification that any of this actually took place.

Meanwhile, over at Newsmax -- with its own history of double standards regarding tabloid-sourced material -- James Hirsen goes into concern-troll mode:

This is a man who ran as a serious candidate for leader of the free world and whose wife is bravely battling cancer. Still, the mainstream media for the most part have remained mum.


Is this the two Americas Edwards was talking about — one whose residents recklessly play around but don’t get busted, another whose residents get pummeled in the media for the same activities but whose reputations are left at death’s door?

Again, there's no actual evidence that Edwards did what he's accused of doing. Hirsen is the one who wants to make sure Edwards' reputation is "left at death’s door."

This is the same Newsmax, by the way, that used to claim that the Enquirer was targeting Republicans because the head of an investment group that owns the tabloid was once an official in the Clinton administration.

It's the same old double standard -- the ConWeb is disturbed by tabloid sleaze only when it's about Republicans.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:45 AM EDT

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