By Richard Miller.
Our friends on the left often say that they don’t know what we mean when we say that the mainstream media is biased in their direction. And sometimes it is difficult to document. It Is often a matter of mood and tone. And these are difficult to demonstrate. But, for once, I have a perfect example of what we on the right are talking about.
But first some facts. Governor Sam Brownback the conservative Republican Governor of Kansas was recently in a hotly contested race for re-election against his Democratic opponent Paul Davis. About a week before the election the polls narrowed, and it looked as Davis, who had attracted the support of some moderate Republicans, and was obviously a competent player, was going to win. Here was an interesting story especially as Brownback had for several years been a conservative standard bearer with presidential ambitions.
No harm then in the B.B.C. sending a reporter along to cover the events, as the senate race in the state could also have produced an upset at the expense of the Republicans. But instead of describing the interesting situation, the story which emerged on the B.B.C. web site was an absurd piece of puffery for the local Democrats.
The piece by one Tara McKelvey was entitled “In Kansas, Democrats looking poised to pounce”- and it went on in the same vein with only the most notional nods to impartiality or fairness. In the second paragraph we meet Democratic organiser Joan Wagnon in one of her offices, where she has assembled, to quote McKelvey, “lawyers, teachers, and others [ i.e. good people ] who have joined a fierce battle to reclaim Kansas from hard-right conservatives.” [i.e. bad people] According to McKelvey, Brownback, while cutting taxes, has endangered the fiscal position of the state, and “cut spending on schools and transportation.” ( No wonder the teachers are up in arms against him! )
While, I gather, there have indeed some doubts about Browback’s Lafferite tax cuts, it is only in the eleventh paragraph that were hear even the most muted criticism of his opponent Paul Davis. But far from being a sign that McKelvey is going to redress the balance of her first paragraphs, her article, then becomes, if that is possible, even more unbalanced. She quotes the views of a former congressman Jim Slattery ( “with silver-white and brown eyebrows”) to the effect that Brownback “has been a gift to the Democrats in Kansas.” Then she reports how Slattery “strode” [ her verb ] through the headquarters, calling out to Wagnon “I’m feeling good. How about you? I’m feeling good too, says Wagnon who is wearing an argyle sweater and jeans….”
And then there is more of the same, including of brief report of a bizarre interview with a self styled libertarian who says that “I’m campaigning for a Democrat because I understand that every man for himself doesn’t work…I believe government is essential at certain levels.” And all this, when there was a genuine libertarian in the race who got four per cent of the votes…but of course McKelvey doesn’t mention him…or for that matter ( apparently ) know anything about libertarianism in The United States.
It is only in the last paragraphs of the piece that we meet Governor Brownback, who gets only about sixty words to express his views; and nor does McKelvey interview any of his supporters- perhaps because she could find none of them wearing Argyle sweaters, or with sufficiently attractive eyebrows!
Oh and what happened in the election in which according to McKelvey the Democrats were “looking to pounce” ?..