Media bias called out -- and not by a conservative

We welcome to the club of media skeptics a former MSNBC host and Dem congressional nominee.  Conservatives can take a small degree of satisfaction that not all Democrats are oblivious to the toxic level of media bias. An article in The Hill by a progressive commentator named Krystal Ball, who ran for Congress unsuccessfully as the Democrat-endorsed candidate in 2010, and who has been a media figure for many years, including as an MSNBC host, calls out some striking examples of misreporting… the sort of thing that President Trump would call “fake news,” though Ball scrupulously avoids using that term.

Ball, second from the left, with her co-hosts of MSNBC's The Cycle  in 2013

Photo credit: Anthony Quintano

Ball’s complaint is that the media are ignoring and obscuring the standing in polls of candidates that threaten the establishment of the Democrats:

CNN recently displayed a curious graphic. It looked ordinary enough, a listing of top Democratic presidential candidates in a new national poll, but with a glaring omission. The graphic listed what appeared to be the top six candidates, except that it didn’t quite get it right. Rather than listing the sixth-place candidate, Andrew Yang, who was polling at 3 percent, it skipped right over him and  instead included former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who had garnered only 1 percent in the poll. Yang was left off entirely. 

Now this may have been chalked up to a simple error if it seemingly weren’t part of a persistent pattern of ignoring Yang’s candidacy. One of Yang’s supporters, Scott Santens, has been keeping track of the apparent slights via Twitter: an MSNBC graphic with other candidates polling at 2 percent but not Yang, oddly unbalanced graphics that seem to include just enough candidates to get in the media favorites but exclude Yang. As Axios recently pointed out, Yang is sixth in the polling average yet 14th in terms of the number of articles written about his candidacy. 

The other candidates that are being slighted, in her eyes, are Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders, and Marianne Williamson. I think she is as correct in all of her cases, as she is in her critique of the treatment of Yang. Her progressive favorites are receiving a mild version of the treatment conservatives experience nearly all the time. I was surprised that she didn’t bother to mention the DNC ignoring polls as “unqualified” that showed Gabbard met the criterion of 2% support, which is a glaring thumb-on-the-scale move to keep her off the debate stage.

I wish, however, that she had explained why the Democrat establishment is threatened by Bernie Sanders but finds Elizabeth Warren, who is quite similar to Sanders in the degree to which she embraces far left schemes, acceptable. Is it her academic pedigree? Or do they think she is so phony that she is faking far left progressivism the same way she faked Native American heritage? (For the same reason: personal advantage.)

Update. My colleague Monica Showalter may have an aswer to this question: So Hillary Clinton is the éminence grise behind Elizabeth Warren?

Ball correctly diagnoses the reason that the media obey the Democrats’ power elite. It is not a conspiracy, per se, but rather a system of incentives that operate on prominent journalists:

When you are a threat to the political establishment, you are inherently a threat to the careers of journalists who rely on access to that political establishment. There may not be an edict coming down from on high to “destroy” those candidates who threaten the system, but there are natural defense mechanisms that kick in. And so, strange graphics are made that just happen to exclude you, fact checks are written that don’t seem to arrive at the facts at all, coverage vacillates from total blackout to wild smears. 

Welcome to the club of people who distrust the media, Ms. Ball.

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