Once upon a time, in journalism schools across the country, lip service was paid to the notion that it was a reporter’s job to report the news without fear or favor and to hold those in power accountable for their actions.
They’re not even trying anymore.
If you watched the Big 3 networks morning and evening news shows on Sunday and Monday, you’re probably familiar with Elizabeth Lauten. Up until a few days ago, she was a staffer for a GOP House member that you’ve never heard of. Now she’s out of a job because she wrote a Facebook post criticizing President Obama’s daughters in what could be the most “meh” controversy in the history of Washington politics.
Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department.
Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.
And for that, the NBC gave the “controversy” 6:13 of airtime; ABC gave it 2:37; and CBS gave 5:23. Over a Facebook post. Written by a nobody.
On the print side, the Washington Post, assigned a foreign affairs reporter to investigate Lauten’s juvenile record and college writings. Some TV stations sent trucks to Lauten’s parents home. I’d encourage you to read Mollie Hemingway’s piece over at The Federalist for a worthwhile rip into the media coverage of Lauten with comparisons to far more odious comments by Democratic elected officials. In addition to a slew of double standards when it comes to the appropriateness of saying anything about the children of public figures from the media.
A former Democratic congressional aide pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually assaulting two women in 2010.
Donny Ray Williams Jr., 37, who served as a staff director for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee, pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse, two misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse and one count of misdemeanor threats.
At this point, you can play “what if…” Williams had been a GOP staffer. You’d probably also be shocked to find out that Williams didn’t warrant a mention on the network evening broadcasts either.
Williams had been indicted on 10 counts, but prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining charges. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors said they would seek a suspended prison term and five years of supervised probation. Williams also would have to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
Democrat staffer rapes women, gets sweetheart deal involving no jail time and it gets 281 words on A5 of the Washington Post.
In Hemingway’s article, she includes this line:
There are many wonderful reporters. They work hard to get the story right and provide a valuable service to their readers and viewers. But we have a serious problem — and it’s a problem at the editor level at least as much as it’s a problem at the reporter level.
I’m not sure about the “many.” Not any more. Reporters and editors who truly cared about how their organizations are perceived by a substantial portion of the American public would be going ape over the excessive coverage of a nobody staffer who mildly criticized President Obama’s daughters. They’d see the confession by the “architect” of Obamacare that he lied and played on the ignorance of the American people to pass a bill that effectively nationalized 1/5th of the American economy as a serious story not because Republicans are screaming about it, but because it’s a serious story.
The “mainstream media” hasn’t been anywhere near the political middle for decades. They claim to be neutral, playing stories down the center, when they’re really nothing of the sort. They’re leftists by and large. Their goal is to advance their political preferences at the expense of any integrity they may ever have possessed. Try as she might, Hemingway can’t shame them into fairness, honesty or living up to those j-school ideals. They sold their souls long ago, willingly. There is no return.