As their wagon train passed through southern Utah in 1857, settlers bound for California were attacked by a Mormon militia. Last Sunday The Washington Post published a lengthy article on the Mountain Meadows massacre. The New York Times ran a story Wednesday on: "Black Mormons and the Politics of Identity."
Mitt Romney, you see, is a Mormon.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times published a 1,300-word story on Ann Romney's fondness for horseback riding, emphasizing how expensive is the sport of dressage. Ms. Romney spent nearly $1,000 on a designer blouse, ABC News reported May 2.
As a high school student in 1965, Mitt Romney played a nasty prank, The Washington Post reported in a 5,400-word story May 16. The older sister of the targeted boy, who died in 2004, said she had no knowledge of the incident but that the portrayal of her brother was "factually inaccurate."
For the "mainstream" media, nothing is too insignificant to report if it reflects poorly on Mr. Romney. But if it reflects poorly on President Barack Obama, no story is so big it can't be downplayed, dismissed or ignored:
• In Democratic primaries Tuesday, a nobody got 41 percent of the vote against Mr. Obama in Arkansas and "uncommitted" drew 42 percent in Kentucky. This is a big deal. When Sen. Eugene McCarthy (no nobody) got 42 percent in New Hampshire in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for re-election.
On The Washington Post's website Wednesday, the primaries ranked below a story on how foreign students are getting summer jobs that once went to Americans. The major network morning shows that day didn't mention the primaries, according to NewsBusters, a website that chronicles liberal bias in the media.
• Mr. Obama's controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, told author Edward Klein in a taped interview that he was offered $150,000 by a close associate of the Obamas if he would keep his mouth shut in the run-up to the 2008 election.
Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is on trial chiefly because of third-party payments to his mistress to buy her silence. Ted Frank at the Point of Law blog wonders how what Rev. Wright alleges is different. The Los Angeles Times has published 1,300 more words on Ann Romney's dressage than it has on this.
Rev. Wright frequently has expressed hatred of America, and for whites. Many journalists were indignant when they learned a conservative PAC was contemplating an ad about Mr. Obama's relationship with him. So Mr. Obama's relationship with a man who was his pastor as recently as 2008 is off limits, but it's kosher to essentially link Mr. Romney to a bad act by co-religionists 155 years ago?
• A dozen lawsuits were filed Monday accusing the Obama administration of violating the religious liberty of Roman Catholic institutions by forcing them to provide birth control and abortion-inducing drugs in their health insurance policies.
There has rarely, if ever, been such a church-state confrontation before. Yet CBS devoted just 19 seconds to it on its evening newscast Monday. NBC and ABC made no mention of it that night.
• Barack Obama was born in Kenya, according to a booklet of clients his literary agency produced in 1991. "This was nothing more than a fact-checking error by me," said Miriam Goderich, who was an editorial assistant then and now is a partner in the firm.
Her "fact checking error" went undetected until Mr. Obama began his campaign for president. In the interim, the biography was revised three times.
The policy at Dystel & Goderich, as at most literary agencies, is that authors provide biographical briefs. How plausible is it that Mr. Obama failed to notice for 17 years that his birthplace was listed incorrectly?
Why would Mr. Obama say he was born in Kenya? A clue is his refusal to release his college transcripts, thinks Roger Simon, author of 11 detective novels. Did Mr. Obama claim to be a foreign student to claim a scholarship or slot only for foreign nationals?
The "mainstream" media are incurious. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Media bias typically gives Democrats an 8- to 10-percentage point advantage, according to a formula for measuring the "political quotient" of news developed by UCLA Prof. Tim Groseclose.
Perhaps because that bias is now so obvious -- and often so comical -- it will have less effect this time.jackkelly
Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio (firstname.lastname@example.org, 412 263-1476). First Published May 27, 2012 12:00 AM