DANIEL VAUGHAN: Media bias plays a heavy hand in Democrat primaries

June 14, 2019

There’s a slow drip, drip, drip nature to the media’s stories on Joe Biden right now. They first alleged that “Uncle Joe” could be the #MeToo movement’s next victim by claiming he was too touchy, and now, a few weeks later, they’re doing it all over again with the former vice president’s flip-flopping stance on abortion and, in particular, the Hyde Amendment.

When you compare the media’s coverage of Biden to the positive headlines they’ve passed out to other top Democrat 2020 contenders, it paints a clear picture of a media complex that’s telegraphing exactly who they want to run against Trump — and it’s not Joe Biden. Instead, their latest darlings are Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Indeed, The New York Times glows in its official journalistic coverage of Warren and “Mayor Pete.” They marvel at how those two “cracked the code” of the media to get favorable coverage.

Of Buttigieg, the Times says he succeeds because he is “embracing TV appearances while mastering the art of creating moments for social media and cable news.” As for Warren, they gawk at how she has “inundated reporters with policy proposals, prompting hours of cable news coverage.”

The Times helpfully concludes for its readers that these two candidates have “out-maneuvered the other 21 Democratic candidates, demonstrating an innate understanding of the value of viral moments and nonstop exposure.”

Both are, of course, losing in the polls to former Vice President Joe Biden. And neither seems capable of cutting into the Bernie Sanders wing.

The idea that either of these two has “cracked the code” of the liberal media covering them is ludicrous. They’re getting this coverage — while losing — because the media likes them and doesn’t want Joe Biden.

We’ve seen this story before in 2015 and 2016.

Donald Trump received the bulk of the media coverage those years because the collective belief — spanning from Hillary Clinton’s campaign office to every newsroom in the country — was that Trump was the most beatable candidate available. And so he got pumped up.

They forgot that Clinton was a flawed candidate too. But that’s how pride works.

Biden is leading the Democratic field now by a substantial margin, and the media doesn’t want him. They’re covering him, but only their chosen ones have “hacked the code.”

Biden, on the other hand, is meanwhile dealing with the issue of abortion. He finally caved to the progressive wing’s pressure over his past support for the Hyde Amendment. They’re explicitly bashing Biden over it, even though the Hyde Amendment, which bans public funding of abortion, receives constant bipartisan support.

But why is Biden the only being questioned over the issue? NPR reported that House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jefferies (NY) said in a press conference: “I believe that every single candidate for president who served in either the House or the Senate — every single one of them — voted for an appropriations bill that contains the Hyde Amendment.”

That list includes one of the stars of this conversation: Elizabeth Warren. Every spending bill Warren has voted for as senator has included the Hyde Amendment — and she’s voted it through every single time.

The New York Times recently decided to add to the fire by running a piece saying they had “unearthed” video of Biden calling abortion a tragedy, not a right. Biden said this in 2006 — two years before he made a presidential bid and subsequently joined the Obama ticket.

It’s funny how that video wasn’t “unearthed” in 2008 or 2012. But really, nothing gets “unearthed” in this social media era — journalists choose their hit jobs, either themselves or from other campaigns. Maybe the Biden campaign should try “cracking the code” of the media, like Warren.

Speaking of Warren, saying that she’s cracked the code is hilariously false. She’s one blunder away, at all times, from imploding.

She proved that point when she wasn’t getting questions from journalists too busy fawning over her, so she went on a radio show with people willing to ask real questions. It didn’t take long for that to backfire: on The Breakfast Club, host Charlamagne Tha God asked Warren why she lied about being Native American.

Warren short-circuited, saying it was just what she believed, and tried to pivot to friendlier campaign talking points. Charlamagne didn’t fall for the act though, and followed up, asking Warren when she “learn[ed] she wasn’t Native American.”

Warren again stumbled through an answer about her personal beliefs and not being a member of a tribe, which left Charlamagne saying: “You[‘re] kind of like the original Rachel Dolezal a little bit…a white woman pretending to be black.”

Warren visibly sunk in her chair.

Within hours, Warren, who has cracked the media code according to those “unbiased” reporters at the Times, was trending across all social media along with Rachel Dolezal — whose own controversy hasn’t been in the headlines since June 2015.

The media isn’t covering the Democratic primaries unbiasedly — like it was in 2015 and 2016, it is infatuated with individual candidates. The media is tipping the scales for those it likes, and then running excuses for those candidates like they’re running their campaigns differently than the others.

They tried to help Hillary Clinton in 2016, but Clinton came close to losing that race because she was a lousy candidate. Now, Pete Buttigieg is the new Beto O’Roruke for national progressives. And Elizabeth Warren, who underperformed Clinton’s vote totals in Massachusetts in 2018, has apparently hacked the media by getting Rachel Dolezal to trend every time she’s outside friendly media waters.

Our coastal media elites seem to have poor taste in political candidates. The Democratic primaries are another way of observing media bias — even when they don’t affect conservatives.

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Daniel Vaughan

Daniel Vaughan is a columnist for the Conservative Institute and lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee. He has degrees from Middle Tennessee State University and Regent University School of Law. His work can be found on the Conservative Institute's website, or you can receive his columns and free weekly newsletter at The Beltway Outsiders. Connect with him on Twitter at @dvaughanCI.