In a recent column Cal Thomas states the obvious when he observes “Democrats and their friends in the big media protect their own when accused of outrageous acts.” Thomas contrasts the way the media has savaged the Republican Party, including Mitt Romney, for a stupid remark by Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin about women being able to protect themselves against conceiving in a “legitimate rape” with the pass given to women abusers on the left or in the Democratic Party. The man imagined to be the “lion of the Senate,” longtime Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy “drove off a bridge in Chappaquiddick, Mass., leaving a woman, not his wife, to drown.” The reckless driver, who was under the influence at the time, was given a three-month suspension of his license in a state that his family controlled politically. Moreover, Kennedy, a senator for life, was comforted afterwards in the NYT about “the ordeal he had to overcome.” In 1978, the former president who will be a featured speaker at this year’s Democratic convention, Bill Clinton, was accused by a campaign worker, Juanita Broaddrick, of attempted rape when Clinton was attorney general in Arkansas. Not to worry! Clinton had the media cover for him and is now hailed as a champion of women’s rights.
The reason these cover-ups and double standards work is that lots of people suspend belief when told about feminist Democrats fighting Republicans who wish to enslave women. But no matter which party wins in November, the social changes of the last 50 years, which the government has actively promoted, are not likely to be altered. One has to be mad to mistake the wishy-washy Romney for an Iranian Ayatollah.
Such media bias does not surprise me. Those in a profession whose members identify themselves by more than 9 to 1 with the left and, for want of a more radical alternative, the Democratic Party, give us lots to choose from. The (for me) most annoying recent case of such bias came with the coverage of the gay activist who tried to shoot up the Family Research Council in Washington. The activist in question, Floyd Lee Corkins, went with a loaded gun and a pocket full of Chicken-fil-A sandwiches to wipe out a “hate group.” The council that Corkins targeted advocates traditional heterosexual marriage and opposes the legalization of gay marriage. It has also published more controversial but documented views about gays being more likely than heterosexuals to engage in pedophilia. Such positions call for debate, but such advocates as the Southern Poverty Law Center and Huffington Post are not accustomed to holding discussions with those on the other side. They rant against them as “hate groups.” SPLC spokesperson Heidi Beirich sees no significant difference between the Family Research Council’s rejection of gay lifestyles and the incitement to violence practiced by neo-Nazis. But that’s nothing new. For decades the center has accused those it dislikes of fomenting hate.
It has also used scare tactics, as a revealing article in Harper’s (November 2000) proves, to enrich its staff. The article’s author, Ken Silverstein, depicts SPLC founder Morris Dees as someone who lines his pockets with gifts from donors who think we’re about to be taken over by an American Hitler. And SPLC headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama has issued “hate” accusations against all newsworthy groups seeking to limit immigration and against the American Family Association as well as FRC for opposing the gay movement.
Not coincidentally, Corkins took Chick-fil-A products together with a gun when he went after the FRC. Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy is an opponent of gay marriage who once donated $1,000 to the FRC and who is well-disposed toward the American Family Association. The only victim of Corkins’s assault was a black guard at the FRC, who was severely wounded but heroically wrestled the assailant to the ground and then contacted the police. The FRC’s decision to bring charges against the SPLC as an accessory to the crime is understandable but may be thrown out of court for lack of direct evidence.
The network news had little to say about what happened at the Family Research Council. One could only imagine the reaction if the attack were on an abortion provider. Meanwhile, even after the SPLC’s rhetorical excesses have become obvious, it continues to be widely quoted as the final word on “right-wing extremism.” Its “research scholars” pop up on TV and in the national press. If I were investigating left-wing extremism, I would not rely on inflamed partisans on the other side. But the media has different standards of truth.