Tell Me Again How the Media is Liberal?
But that event dueled with a similar Republican event, and news coverage is instructive. The Union Leader, of course, offers a primer on how to slant your coverage to the right. It's not a surprise that they'd do so, but it's worth looking at how, and at how that contrasts with coverage from the Concord Monitor.
Keener estimated the crowd at the Democratic event at 200+; the Monitor at "several hundred." The Union Leader's estimate? "About 100 people." Even by downplaying Democratic attendance, though, they couldn't erase a significant size difference - they estimated attendance at the Republican event at "about 40 GOP faithful." I guess that, lacking quantity, they decided to give the appearance of quality - people at a Democratic event are...people, who have congregated in a place for some reason, we're not sure just what; people at a Republican event are faithful. (The Monitor gives a similar estimated attendance: "dozens.")
The Union Leader's coverage of the Democrats focuses most on former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, to the exclusion of Paul Hodes and Governor Lynch, neither of whom are mentioned until the story's final two paragraphs. This provides the illusion of balance - "look, we focused on Democrats as much as on Republicans!" - without deigning to give more than a sentence of coverage to anyone who's actually, you know, running for office this year.
Charlie Bass, meanwhile, gets to speak for himself:
(Ok, quick break from media critique here. That's the best he can do? "Sure, 9/11 happened on our watch but nothing just exactly like that has happened since. Iraq? Something's happening in Iraq? Well, it's not terrorism, so it doesn't matter how many people die because we just said we were stopping terrorism." And "We have to nurture and maintain [democracy]"??? How exactly are you doing that, Charlie? Wiretapping? Gitmo? Abu Ghraib? The Plame leak? I hope nobody's thinking of putting you in charge of nurturing any puppies, because nobody likes to see a starved puppy. And let's not even get started on the economy.)
"We as Republicans have a lot to celebrate with 13 or 14 straight quarters of economic growth, low unemployment and an economy that is going well," Bass said.
He noted there have not been any terrorists attacks since Sept. 11. "That is real leadership," Bass noted. "Democracy is not a natural thing. We have to nurture and maintain it."
The Monitor, by contrast, treats the better-attended event as genuine news and gives Hodes a spot at the table:
Yet, and this is the crucial thing, they don't blow Bass off. I see no reason to give any more coverage to his BS claims just now, but the Monitor does what the Union Leader barely even pretends to: It actually covers both events, both candidates, both speeches. And they could, you know? They could say "well, there were well over twice as many people at the Democratic event; it's clear that one is a bigger story than the other."
Hodes started his speech jovially, asking his wife, Peggo, to help the guests sing "Happy Birthday" to former President Bill Clinton, who turned 60 yesterday. Then he grew serious, criticizing Bass's support for President Bush, whom Hodes called an "emperor" and "imperial." He called for developing frugal ways to provide better social services and withdrawing from Iraq.
"We've got to get our people out of that civil war now," he said.
Democrats, he said, must do a better job of challenging Bush.
"A spine is a terrible thing to waste," he said. "And I'm bringing my backbone with me."
Just a little note on the "liberal media."