Monday, February 11, 2013

Might Media's Silence Implicate Menendez?

Either it's one of the biggest non-stories of 2013.

Or it's so big, powerful liberals don't want us to know much about it.

We're talking - or not, as the case may be - about Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, who may or may not have taken bribes and paid for prostitutes with campaign money.  We really don't know much about the FBI's investigation into Menendez, even though it's been widely known since late January that something appears amiss in the liberal senator's financial records.

NewsBusters.org, a conservative website that claims to offer evidence of liberal bias in America's media machine, points out that our major networks have barely covered the allegations against Menendez.  Meanwhile, at about this same point in time after learning of allegations against former Republican presidential contender Herman Cain, the media was roiling in a frothy stew over a bunch of equally-sordid hypotheses, claims, suspicions, innuendo, and outright attacks on Cain's personal character.

And then... the allegations against Cain mysteriously evaporated from our airwaves, after it was determined that most of the media's sources were themselves unreliable.  If there had been some legitimate basis to the sexual harassment claims that had initially piqued the media's interest, that had long been forgotten as journalists blew the story to smithereens with their blatant bias against the black conservative.

The media's vicious attack on Cain likely had little overall impact on his losing his party's nomination for president, but it also did little to convince anybody that America's legacy TV networks and most of its print publications have any more objectivity than Rush Limbaugh.

And that's not a good thing.

To its credit, the New York Times yesterday published a demure yet probing article detailing some of the suspicions against Menendez, including the senator's questionable opposition to helping the Dominican Republic improve its port security.  That could be significant, because, among other things, the Dominican Republic is where the prostitution activity supposedly took place.

Unfortunately, however, NewsBusters.org has yet to update its own article on apparent media bias - posted today - to include yesterday's Times' piece. 

Newsbusters.org also has yet to acknowledge the Washington Post's blog entry today on the subject.  MSNBC contributor Chris Cillizza opined that Menendez hasn't suffered the slings and arrows of the media or the public because, one, he just won an election; two, the actual charges have little to do with the more salacious prostitution sidebar; and three, because New Jersey's Republican governor Chris Christie may be personally running interference on Menendez's behalf.  Christie, remember, wants billions of taxpayer dollars from Washington to help his state rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, and making enemies with one of his state's own senators wouldn't be helpful in that regard.

Still, none of Cillizza's points can explain why the media isn't excoriating Menendez to even half the degree they've done other political figures, mostly conservatives.  The prostitution charges may not play a significant role in Menendez's legal woes, but usually, illicit sex plays well to America's insatiably lusty public, to whom our media sells its increasingly irrelevant - and irreverent - product.

Part of this may involve the fact that Menendez speaks Spanish, and although he's been interviewed on some Spanish-language networks, liberals are courting Hispanics like never before, now that Republicans are talking about backtracking on amnesty for illegal immigrants.  If Menendez was a Republican, it's hard to imagine the press sitting still on this story like they seem to have been doing.  In fact, if Menendez was white, regardless of his political affiliation, he'd likely be banner news all over the web.

As it is, if they truly are the mouthpiece for far-left propagandists, America's major media outlets - both English and Spanish - likely have been guarding their coverage of the New Jersey senator until the point at which conservative pundits can flush his story out into a brighter light of day with facts too profitable for them to ignore.

Let's face it:  most Americans don't get their news from blogs sponsored by the Washington Post, or even articles in the Times' massive Sunday editions.  Most Americans get their news from headlines at the top of CNN.com and other, even less credible purveyors of news.  You can find some half-hearted articles about the Menendez mess on Huffington Post's website, but they're buried half-way down the site's political page, below articles entitled "GOP Swears It's Not Stupid" and "Telling God, 'Ciao, I'm Out of Here.'"  How likely is it that people who read Huffington Post for articles like these would even bother to read something about some senator from New Jersey?

Remember the Pace picante sauce commercial?

"New Jersey?!"

So yes, it certainly seems as though Menendez is getting a free pass from America's decidedly partisan press.  But maybe only part of the problem is the bias that exists in many of our media outlets.

Maybe it's still too soon after our messy presidential election for them to tease the electorate with a political scandal?  After all, the media has lately been trying to get on New Jersey governor Chris Christie about his weight, and that tactic hasn't really gained much traction.  Especially when the charismatic governor started chomping on a doughnut during his Late Show With David Letterman appearance.

"I didn't know this was going to be this long," Christie deadpanned, wiping his mouth, as if he needed a snack to get through the tedious interview.

Maybe big media's liberal kingmakers are waiting until more bombshells explode in the Menendez mess before they start seriously running with the story, figuring that as short as their audience's attention span has become, they need to wait until a real news lull before exploiting another New Jersey politician.

Even if that's the case, however, it's too late for them to hide this example of partisanship.  The media isn't known for its patience in waiting for facts to percolate up to the surface of public reality.  They've run full stories with less information before, and aren't beneath contriving hypotheses out of hearsay and conjecture, only to silently retract them as they're proven false.  You mean they've just now found religion and decided to report only proven facts?  Talk about your paradigm shifts!

Indeed, it's a lot easier to assume that liberal journalists - if they're really good at their jobs - have learned all they need to know about Menendez's mess to try and smother it, allowing only dribs and drabs of the story to seep out in some sort of charade of protecting whatever journalistic integrity they think we think they have left.

In a way, it does our society good:  not having another sex-laced political scandal commanding our feeble attentions and thin tolerance for genuine information.  If it comes at the expense of big media's credibility, who's really losing out here?

Probably at least two people:  Menendez himself, and almost certainly, the next Republican officeholder who gets caught in the media's crosshairs.

The media's obvious bias towards Menendez could actually work against him, arousing suspicions from conservatives who might otherwise not have much reason for heightened skepticism.  By withholding the character attacks they typically hurl against public figures with even a hint of scandal in their past, liberal news organizations may be identifying him as somebody who needs further scrutiny.  And whomever the next conservative is to be tainted by scandal, that person needs to be taking this cue to cover up their dastardly deeds even more convincingly. After all, you know big media is hating the fact that they can't make hay while the Menendez sun shines.  They'll likely have all that pent-up angst in fine form to be unleashed on their next hapless subject, and it's almost a given that it won't be a liberal.

Washington is oddly bipartisan in that sense.

Have a doughnut while you wait?  The way things go, it shouldn't be too long.
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