Are the news media so biased in favor of the Obama administration that they are willing to downplay significant news about a fundamental constitutional issue that might reflect poorly on the president and his decisions?
That is the argument made today by L. Brent Bozell III in Investor’s Business Daily.
On Monday, 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations sued the Obama administration over its ObamaCare dictate that even religious organizations must provide free contraceptives and abortifacients for employees through their insurance coverage — even if the organization is self-insured.
Bozell judged it “the largest legal action in American history in defense of religious liberty.” He concluded all the major news organizations, all supplicants to Obama and his creed, “spiked” the story. (To the uninitiated, every newspaper editor used to have on his desk a metal spike about the size of a 20-penny nail, and any news copy turned in on pulp paper that did not make the grade was literally spiked. That spike, along with those X-Acto knives used in paste-up would today violate numerous workplace safety regs.)
Bozell notes that The Washington Post carried a small one-column story “buried” on page A6, while the notoriously brief USA Today printed a 128-word item at the bottom of A2 and The New York Times published what Bozell deemed a “perfunctory 419-word piece on Page A17.”
For the local record, the Review-Journal carried a two-column, less than 500-word AP story (trimmed from the 700 words filed by the wire service on its “4th-lede writethru”) atop page 4A. There was room on the front page for a failed snatch-and-grab casino chip heist and a story on an investigation into whether the underage daughter of the late Whitney Houston was playing slots at a Strip casino.
“The political furor caught the administration by surprise,” the AP surmised. “In response, Obama offered to soften the rule so that insurers would pay for birth control instead of religious groups. However, the bishops and others have said the accommodation, which is still under discussion, doesn’t go far enough to protect religious freedom.”
As I said at the time, that “softening” is a distinction without a difference. Additionally, the AP story never once mentions the fundamental issue at stake, never once mentioning the First Amendment Exercise Clause or the Constitution or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The electronic media, according to Bozell, were even worse. He said ABC, NBC and NPR completely ignored the lawsuit, while CBS gave a whole 19 seconds to it.
“This is the worst example of shameless bias by omission I have seen in the quarter-century history of the Media Research Center,” said Bozell, who is president of the center.
It is all about politics and whether Obama can rally his liberal base and get re-elected with the aiding and abetting of the news media.