The CBS Double Standard for Obama and Romney
In an August 31 piece on CBS News, the headline reads "Romney in New Orleans asks where the water came from." The short piece lists a few details of the GOP candidate's visit to the flood-ravaged Lafitte section in Jefferson Parish, LA, before presenting his inquiry about whether the flood waters were from rainfall volume, storm surges, or salt water. "Did the water come from the sky, or the rivers, or the ocean?" reads the quote, attributed to a journalist pool source.
Editorializing, the piece states "The comment brought to mind another observation about the natural wonders that Romney made during the primaries, when he returned home to Michigan and remarked, 'I love this state. The trees are the right height.'" It concludes with support for Harry Reid's assertion that Paul Ryan's budget plan includes cuts to federal funding for disaster relief. Ryan's notion of the overextended federal budget necessarily transferring more of that expense to states is beyond the scope of the piece. Any casual reader is clearly led to conclude that Mitt Romney is baffled by the wonder of nature, and that Paul Ryan's recommendation is out of callous disregard for the poor residents of New Orleans.
The following Tuesday, on September 4th, a D.C. CBS Local web site details the effort President Obama has exerted to assist the victims of Hurricane Isaac. A quote from President Obama reads "What I've pledged to these folks is we're going to make sure at the federal level we are getting on the case very quickly about figuring out what exactly happened here and what can do to make sure it doesn't happen again and expedite some of the decisions that may need to be made," (emphasis added).
In the first piece, the GOP candidate's curiosity about the nature of the flooding is mocked as a dullard's inability to grasp the obvious. In the second, a simplified version of the question, couched in an arrogant assertion that the federal government can prevent future occurrences, is represented as the words of a probing mind, seeking practical solutions to improve flood prevention.
Neither piece is an editorial; both are offered as pure news reporting, without so much as an author's name, save the faceless Associated Press moniker in the case of the latter piece. In both pieces, both candidates ask essentially what it is that went wrong. Whereas Mitt Romney is on a mission to learn, so that his administration can provide more effective assistance, Barack Obama is there to assert, never doubting his metronomic assurance that nothing under the sun exists which cannot be improved with more federal spending at his behest. But the reader is led in obviously different directions than what is obvious when merely analyzing the candidates' statements.
If news were not routinely a biased editorial masquerading as a factual report, this would seem strange to any reader with a critical mind. But after generations of the majority of the press operating as propaganda agents for the Democratic Party, it seems strange when reporters merely transmit the facts, with no angle or bias.