Why the media forgives Biden

Slate’s David Weigel, who has written a little about this phenomenon, calls it “the GOP Lawmaker principle.” “As the national electoral plight of Democrats increases,” Weigel’s axiom holds, “so does the incidence of stories about obscure state Republican lawmakers.” Grateful as I am that Weigel has acknowledged the double standard, I must nevertheless disagree with his explication, which notably fails to account for why the opposite is not the case when Republicans are in electoral trouble and Democrats are ascendant. Indeed, I suspect that, rather than being the product of perennial electoral undulations, the disparity is the product of pronounced biases among those charged with reporting on our politics, and, too, of the leeway that having the “correct” political platform can afford those who err. Frustrating as it can be to witness, it stands to reason that a journalistic class that overwhelmingly leans to the left will react differently to their enemies than they will to their friends. To hear a Republican say something ugly is to hear revealed a rotten and antediluvian worldview; to hear something ugly from a politician who is “on the right side of history,” by contrast, is to hear an anomalous mistake at variance with an otherwise virtuous political platform. At times, one can almost hear the cogs whirring: “There’s no way that he could have meant that; he’s supportive of Planned Parenthood and the NAACP.”

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