I believe that newspapers such as the Washington Post (published 40 miles down the road) have a very curious ethical conundrum. Not, of course, that the Post has a sterling reputation for ethics, mind you, but because there are all kinds of conflicts to deal with.
As I've mentioned, the Post takes to doing a front-page bashing article each time a new Republican presidential candidate emerges or declares his or her candidacy. That's not a surprise, of course, given the rampant leftism that pervades their ownership.
But here's the struggle they have to engage in. On the Republican side, there are maybe a dozen legitimate contenders, declared or otherwise -- Rubio, Paul, Bush, Walker, Carson, Fiorina, Christie, Kasich, Cruz, Jindal -- shoot; that's ten off the top of my head without even thinking hard or even mentioning Donald Trump. On the Democratic side, there is only Hillary Clinton, tootling around in Her Van Scooby, trying futilely to connect with the poor people she insists that she was one of, after she left the White House in 2001.
Of course, the Post has done its obligatory but occasional piece about Mrs. Clinton, too, even this morning, although they have been far more supportive of her even in the pieces that addressed some shortcoming (like, say, her putrid track record when she actually was paid to do a government job). But how many should they do?
There's the rub. Do the Posts of the world believe that their obligation is to balance by candidate volume, or by political leaning? In other words, for every bashing news article on any Republican contender, do they need to balance it with a Hillary-screwed-up article? Or is the balance by candidates, so that they only need to do one article on Hillary once they have done one on each of the Republican candidates, equal time by person, not by party?
It does seem that they have come down on the latter answer. Certainly it is easier, given that Hillary isn't exactly forthcoming with the press, to where we have to have these embarrassing scenes of the press corps chasing after Her Van Scooby in hopes of getting a word from Her Majesty to write about.
But only that would explain the utter lack of coverage of what should be a blatantly corrupt scene back in Iowa. As you recall, Hillary's people put together what was made to look like a conversation between her and a set of what would be presumed to be everyday Iowans. The Post's article certainly gave that impression, along with the "Oh, gee, she was just like normal people" gushing from the people that she met.
Of course, that would barely make sense if they were indeed everyday Iowans. But the Post glossed over the fact that they, well, weren't. Austin Bird, for example, was an Obama campaign intern; Carter Bell the president of the University of Iowa College Democrats. Sara Sedlacek, who gushed for the Post article, is on the staff of, you guessed it, Planned Parenthood.
I'm happy to say that planting political types and passing them off as everyday Iowans certainly borders on the corrupt. Just do the "Flip the Party" test -- what would the Post have written if, say, a small group of pre-selected Minnesota Republicans had been invited to meet with Ted Cruz and gushed over his oratory skills? Right -- I don't even have to write the answer.
Back to the question at hand -- what constitutes "balance"? Well, first, I have to wave the flag of journalistic integrity and note that news is not supposed to be opinion. The news pages of the Post are for actual news stories, not opinions disguised as news. If the paper feels it needs to cover all the candidates, then it needs to write about Hillary (and, in fairness, any other Democrat threatening her coronation) about as often as it writes about all the Republicans combined. That means a lot more than they do.
Of course, forced as it might be to report on Mrs. Clinton that often, they might do a lot better than the journalistic community did in looking into the bona fides of the current president (laughable example here), and actually find the cogliones to write about things like stuffing a meeting with political plants and trying to pass it off as empathy for the great State of Iowa. And on writing them, perhaps they might actually behave like reporters and expose corruption and hypocrisy when they see it.
Because, oh Washington Post, someone will.
Copyright 2015 by Robert Sutton
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