USA Today Story Frets Democrats Don’t “Fight Back” in Campaigns

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on January 12, 2005

Example of Media Bias:

The excerpt below is an example of media bias by SPIN.  It is from Jan. 12’s “CyberAlert”, found at MediaResearchCenter.org:

Democrats “don’t have the stomach” to “assail the character” of Republicans and so fail to “fight back” when under attack? So maintained USA Today reporter Jill Lawrence in a January 10 “news analysis” piece, “Character issue puts Dems on the defensive.” The subhead: “Party’s presidential candidates have not found a way to turn attacks around on GOP, which some say must be done to have a chance in ’08.”…

The following is an excerpt from the top of Lawrence’s story on page 8A:

Imagine a Democratic presidential candidate and his allies assailing the character of the Republican nominee in ads and speeches every day for eight months.

Having trouble? That’s because Democrats generally don’t have the stomach or the discipline to do it. Often they don’t even effectively fight back when under attack themselves. …

Democrats “as a group are uneasy” about attacking and defending on character, says Harold Ickes, a former Clinton aide who heads the Media Fund, a political ad organization. “But they damn well better get the stomach,” he adds, because “we’ve seen way too many of our candidates taken down on issues of character.” …

“We were caught off-guard by this perennial Republican attack-dog mentality,” says Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico and a potential 2008 presidential candidate, reflecting on 2004. “We’ve got to find ways to develop our own.”… END OF EXCERPT

Reacting to Lawrence’s theme, James Taranto on his “Best of the Web” column for OpinionJournal.com, called it “the most laughably partisan piece of reporting we’ve seen since the election.” Taranto commented in his January 11 column: 

“It seems Jill Lawrence was in Bhutan all last year when the Democrats were busy calling President Bush a liar, a moron, a coward, a military deserter, a puppet of Dick Cheney and the Jews, and another Hitler. What are they going to say if they ‘get the stomach’ to wage character attacks — that he’s the original Hitler? 

“This is the sort of thing that drives conservatives crazy, but it actually illustrates why the liberal media are the Republicans’ secret weapon. The Democrats are the victim of their own con game. They put out the most outrageous spin, which reporters like Lawrence dutifully regurgitate, and then Dems believe it because, hey, the ‘objective’ media have reported it! It’s as if Communist Party functionaries actually believed what was ‘reported’ in the old Pravda.”

For Lawrence’s USA Today article in full, go to: www.usatoday.com and do a search for Jill Lawrence or the headline “Character Issue Puts Dems on the Defensive”.