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Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Bozell's Tabloid Double Standard (And A Bunch of Misleading Claims)
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell goes on a remarkable run of misstatements in his Aug. 12 column while ranting against the media for not taking a supermarket tabloid's claims about John Edwards' affair at face value, as well as purported disparate treatment of Republican scandals:

Ask yourself: what did Rev. Ted Haggard's use of drugs and male prostitutes in Colorado have to do with the national Republican Party?

Who says he did? Not the media (in the U.S., anyway). Plug in "ted haggard republican" into Google, and the first hit is an article from the British newspaper the Guardian claiming that "The Republican party today was assessing the potential political fallout" from the Haggard scandal." The second is a satirical article from The Onion claiming that Haggard "revealed Wednesday that he was repeatedly molested by an unnamed Republican congressman in the late 1990s," adding, "Authorities have not acted on Haggard's allegations, saying that Republicans are often accused of wrongdoings simply because so many of them lead secret gay or criminal lifestyles." The only other article from a news organization, real or otherwise, on the first page of Google's results is a Rocky Mountain News article noting that Haggard has "direct access to President Bush," noting that "Republicans - who have leaned enormously on the vote of conservative Christians in recent years - already reeling from a series of congressional scandals." That would seem to answer Bozell's question.

Or Mark Foley's dirty Internet messages to congressional pages?

We'll let the New York Times answer that one: "Top House Republicans knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children’s issues."

What did Larry Craig's shoe placement in an airport bathroom in 2007 have to do with the Republican Party as a whole? The media treated that story as a much larger scoop than John Edwards cheating on the wife dying of cancer.

Let's see ... one case involved (at the time) unverified rumors promoted by a supermarket tabloid of someone who holds no political office and ceased being a candidate several months ago, the other involved an on-the-record guilty plea of a sitting congressman. Further, Edwards' affair is reported to have occured in 2006; Elizabeth Edwards' recurrence of breast cancer, which she may or may not be "dying" from, was revealed in March 2007.

[T]he very same media that almost immediately spread unproven trash on John McCain's alleged "romantic" relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman because the source was the allegedly professional New York Times now remained as quiet as a cabin full of Carthusian monks.

First, the Times never claimed McCain and Iseman had an affair; rather, the article noted that "Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself" and that "to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity."

Second, Bozell was singing a different tune about his new favorite supermarket taboid of choice just a few short months ago. Back in February, Bozell was attacking the Times over the McCain-Iseman story for being -- wait for it -- "fit to print only for the likes of the National Enquirer."

Bozell isn't slagging the "the likes of" the Enquirer now. Double standard much?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EDT

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