A Quick Lesson in Media Bias

Biased? Moi?

I try not to go on about media bias too much because, honestly, what good will it do? They're going to do their thing, we're going to do ours. What one cannot change one should accept. Insert the zen koan of your choosing.

But sometimes it's a bit frustrating. Two recent examples.

First up is Eric Lipton's hit piece in the New York Times attacking the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) for daring to oppose the administration's effort to hike the minimum wage. Oh, there's a whole bunch of blather in there about corporations paying for studies and conflicts of interest and nonprofits being used to benefit businessmen, but that's all window dressing. The real reason the Times and Lipton are going after Mike Saltsman and Rick Berman* is that they oppose an increase in the minimum wage. How do we know this? Well, because of this paragraph:

The left has its own prominent groups, like the Center for American Progress and the Economic Policy Institute, whose donors include nearly 20 labor unions, and whose reports, with their own aura of objectivity, consistently conclude that raising the minimum wage makes good economic sense. But none has played such a prominent and multifaceted role in recent months as the conservative Employment Policies Institute.

First off, this is just inaccurate: The White House has been pushing dubious leftwing claptrap about the minimum wage for years now and their studies have shaped the entire nature of the debate we are currently having. CAP and EcPI** have far more influence with the people forming policy than EPI does. Second off, it totally elides a story that is actually interesting: left wing think tanks are accepting corporate and labor money to push for an economic policy that will positively impact their bottom lines. This is a big story. But the Times and Lipton simply don't care about that story because they want to see the minimum wage increased. It may not even be a conscious choice. It may just be a subliminal thing.

This is how media bias works.

One more brief example. Remember #Bridgeghazi? Chris Christie has been castigated for a month as a callous criminal, a thug, a bully, a manichean monster. Why? Well, one of his subordinates—seemingly without Christie's knowledge—ordered a traffic jam because a smalltime mayor failed to endorse the round mound of governance in his reelection bid. For weeks and weeks we have heard about how terrible this is. MSNBC has devoted days of airtime to it. You'd think he, I dunno, got an ambassador killed or something.

Meanwhile, the Free Beacon has a story up today about Hillary Clinton. (You may have seen it.) It concerns the private papers of a confidante of the Clintons. In it, we discover that Hillary Clinton urged her husband to refuse to appoint a judge to the Supreme Court in order to send a message to a newspaper publisher. Let me repeat that: Hillary Clinton wanted her husband to use a Supreme Court nomination to silence a critical media outlet.

Let me ask you: which is worse? A subordinate causing a traffic jam without a governor's knowledge or a woman who will likely be president blocking a Supreme Court nomination to silence a critic?

Now, I'm no fancy big city psychic, but I can pretty much guarantee you Hillary's foibles will be entirely ignored even as the press continues to hype Christie's bridge troubles. Because the media wants Hillary Clinton to be president and it most certainly does not want Chris Christie to be president.

This is how media bias works.

*Full disclosure: I worked for Rick for about 18 months a couple years back and consider Mike a friend.

**The Center for American Progress and the Economic Policy Institute, respectively.