Accuracy in Media

It’s possible to read the political stance of a media outlet by looking at how they report very much the same events, much the same story, as it happens on different sides of the political aisle. As with this at Vice and their insistence that the “far right” is infiltrating the Republican Party in Idaho. The tactic is, apparently, to offer to vote for candidates who accord with the views of those “far rightists”.

Idaho is a solidly red state; just 19 out of 105 voting members in the Legislature are Democrats. The political battle lines have not been drawn along partisan lines but rather within the GOP itself. Some establishment Republican lawmakers have even become the target of far-right protesters. In response to the extremist creep into state politics, some former Republican officials have banded together under “Take Back Idaho,” a PAC that aims to get “far-right extremists” out of the Legislature.

You get the picture. Folk supporting politicians they desire to support is a threat to the Republic if those folks don’t have the right ideas.

Or perhaps we’re being unkind, perhaps centrism is where it not just is but should be at? Which is the comparison of stories comes in. For when Democrats are primaried from the left that’s not the Vice view at all: “These House Democrats Should Be Scared of Progressives.

“We crunched the numbers to see which congresspeople the left should challenge in primaries.”

Note the “should” there rather than the chin-stroking concern about centrists being challenged from the extreme wings.

Compare this to another headline from Vice: “This AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)-Style Progressive Could Topple Another Establishment Democrat in New York.”

AOC-Style is not being used there as a warning, but rather more as an approval.

“Progressives just had their best primary night of the 2020 election — and New York’s congressional delegation is going to look a lot more diverse, and lean a lot further left, in the next Congress,” the piece said.

“Progressive former school principal Jamaal Bowman (D) has a big lead over centrist House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) that is all but certain to stand when all the votes are counted in the Bronx- and Westchester-based district.”

This was not a warning about the terrors of what might happen. There’s more of much the same here, here, here and here.

Vice is a substantial media operation these days. Its cable TV channel reaches 60 million households, the magazine has a 900,000 distribution and the website, before the YouTube operation, gets 26 million visits a month.

There’s nothing wrong with a media outlet having an editorial voice. It’s just that we need to know what it is so that we can apply the appropriate discount to it. Clearly Vice thinks that the extreme left primarying into the Democratic Party is just fine, admirable even. The right shifting the Republican Party is not, that’s scary.

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