Media Bias in One State - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Media Bias in One State

“Cautious Simon Won’t Be Mouthing Off, but Might Need to Speak Up,” declares “Los Angeles Times” columnist George Skelton.

Skelton’s column is typical of the California media’s baiting and hazing of Bill Simon, California’s Republican candidate for governor. The California media at once criticize Simon for adhering to positions “too conservative” for Californians — a claim the media never bother to prove — then criticize him for not voicing those positions loudly enough. The game apparently is to see who can get Simon to cry uncle first.

Since Simon isn’t talking about abortion — an obsession not with Simon, but with California journalists covering him — the media are now making an issue out of Simon not making an issue out of abortion. How dare he not live up to our extremist image of him, the California media are in effect saying.

Ronald Brownstein, who is accorded a de facto weekly Op-Ed inside the “Los Angeles Times”‘ front news section, served up this dispassionate analysis about Simon in Monday’s paper: “unless Simon can concoct a better answer than ‘next question’ when pressed about guns and abortion, history suggests he’ll have a hard time focusing the voters’ attention on Davis’ vulnerabilities rather than his own.”

Huh? History suggests that if a Republican answers liberal reporters’ cheap-shot questions about abortion and guns, the media will spend the entire campaign demonizing the Republican while his Democratic opponent enjoys a free ride.

How can Brownstein browbeat Simon for saying “next question” when the whole thrust of Brownstein’s opining is that Republicans who talk about abortion and guns can’t win in the Golden State? Suddenly journalists that demand silence from social conservatives want them to start talking, all the while readying the latch on the trapdoor. George Skelton, a liberal who selflessly offers avuncular advice to the California GOP when he is not too busy taking phone calls from Governor Davis (he admitted doing this in a lazy, name-dropping column last year), now thinks Simon isn’t vocally conservative enough. “Simon may need to swing more aggressively at pitches of all speeds,” writes Skelton.

Why should Simon swing at pitches from the media aimed at his head?

“Caution can be commendable, but heartfelt, hard-hitting declarations — vicious murderers deserve to die — can connect with voters, convey commitment and project leadership,” continues Skelton.

Yes, but they can also be distorted wildly by ax-grinding journalists like George Skelton.

Skelton writes as if he and his liberal media brethren were innocent bystanders in the campaign: “Today California Democrats are unified. And recently they’ve been pummeling Republican candidates with the litmus test issues of abortion rights, gun control and environmental protection. Simon will try to keep his mouth muted about these things. Davis will try to goad him into defending his positions.”

Two points: one, if the above-named issues are California litmus tests, it’s only because the California media have decreed them so; two, the media, hewing to Davis’ playbook, will also “goad” Simon into defending his positions.

Skelton writes that “Simon will attempt to shift every campaign conversation toward the economy, energy, education and spending.” Is Skelton surprised by this when he and his colleagues stand ready to pounce?

The media bias in the race is already comic. The Associated Press, for example, broke the astonishing newsflash on Sunday that Simon, a Catholic, donates to Catholic churches and causes. Can you believe it? What is he thinking? The Associated Press further found that these Catholic causes are “conservative.” In fact, the “conservative-minded financier,” according to the Associated Press, once ranked “Pope John Paul II — for engineering the downfall of Communism, promoting free institutions and defending the church’s traditional teachings — as the 20th century’s greatest leader with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.”

Egads! Run for the hills, Californians.

The fanaticism in this race belongs not to Simon, but to the “liberal-minded” media taunting him.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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