About halfway through my last post, I opined about the media's coverage of the sex scandal surrounding Congressman David Wu. The gist can be summed up by the following question: If a Democrat is embroiled in a sex scandal but nobody knows it because the national media hides it and obfuscates it...is he really involved in a scandal at all?
Although my venting generated no contrary comments online, a very well-meaning and very liberal friend of mine did make a verbal comment suggesting that the coverage has been appropriate because Wu has not been convicted. That is what prompted me to write this follow up.
Wu may be innocent. I hope he is. And neither I nor anyone else of good faith wants to see an innocent man get tarred by false accusations. But I was not talking about Wu, nor was I talking about whether he is innocent or guilty, when I wrote my post. I was talking about the grotesquely different standards to which Republicans and Democrats are held by the MSM.
I have said before that writing about the double standard is so easy it almost feels like cheating, but that doesn't change the fact that it must be commented on. And it turns out that the Wu situation provides a perfect example of just how devilish the double standard is.
To recap, he is 56 and has been accused of raping the 18-year-old daughter of one of his donors. However, the MSM has barely acknowledged the story -- and in those instances where it has, it has completely avoided the word "rape" and chosen to instead say that Wu is accused of "an unwanted sexual encounter." In my post I wrote this: "You know that if such accusations were made against a Republican, they would be the lead story for weeks and the word 'rape' would be trumpeted all over the place. But when the accused is a Democrat, the story gets buried on the bottom of page 8; the word 'rape' gets placed in the Witness Protection Program; and female-defending feminists are suddenly nowhere to be found."
I don't see how anyone could disagree. The MSM dragged Clarence Thomas through the mud with malice, even though the accusations against him were far less serious and far less credible than those against Wu. Many in the MSM continue to drag him through the mud all these years later.
When a Republican is accused of sexual impropriety, the press hoots and howls and his career screeches immediately to a halt, often before the evidence is even weighed. Examples that come immediately to mind include Larry Craig, Chris Lee, and Bob Livingston.
On the other hand, there are innumerable examples of Democrats who have been accused of sexual impropriety -- but, far from seeing their careers end, they continue to work and even attain the status of legend. See Barney Frank, Gerry Studds, and any fill-in-the-blank Kennedy.
Even among those who rarely pay attention to politics, most people know Craig was accused of tapping a man's foot in an airport restroom. But few are aware that Frank's live-in lover was a male prostitute who ran a prostitution ring out of Frank's home.
As it happens, the same week I cranked out my post, 1) Gabrielle Giffords, whose wounds prompted President Obama to call for a new era of civility, resumed her official duties; 2) Vice President Biden likened Tea Party Republicans to terrorists; and 3) the MSM failed to notice the vast gulf between the veep's slander and the president's claim to want civility.
Of course, number three should not surprise us because the MSM routinely fails to notice the president's own slander and lack of civility -- like when he refers to Republicans as "our enemies," accuses doctors of performing unnecessary surgeries on toddlers purely for financial gain, and says police "acted stupidly" in the Skip Gates case despite admitting that he did not know all the facts of the case.
This double standard has existed for decades and is unlikely to end. But unfortunately, it still influences many voters and gives them a view of the political world that does not match that world's reality. That is why the double standard must be opposed, and to opposite it we have to point it out again and again without letting up.