The flood-the-zone coverage of President Obama’s fake evolution on gay marriage and the obsession with Mitt Romney’s high school years have revived the “media are in the tank for Obama” complaints from conservatives. To that there are two responses: 1 ) Duh and 2) It is important to differentiate. To assist in the latter, distinguishing the laughable bias from the well-what-do-you-expect variety I’ve come up with 10 clues (other suggestions are welcomed) for assessing how deep in the tank for Obama is a given news organization:
1. Multiple front-page stories run on Romney’s high school bullying, while the administration’s bullying of industry and his campaign’s current snooping and harassing of Republican donors are ignored.
2. The incident personifying the current political environment is, we are told, the forced retirement of Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.). The primary defeat and forced retirements of moderate Democrats, Senate Democrats’ refusal to pass a budget for three years and Obama’s rhetorical shift to the left are simply business as usual.
3. Interest in the recall campaign against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) declines in inverse proportion to his chances of winning. The race is now considered simply “local” politics.
4. “Life of Julia” is a non-subject, requiring, when Romney mentions it in a speech, some fancy footwork to ignore or minimize the Obama campaign’s giant faux pas.
5. Whatever Romney says on gay marriage is “knuckling under to his base.” Obama decision to announce his shift on gay marriage before a string of fundraisers with Hollywood stars and gay donors is “brave” and “historic.”
6. When Romney declines to discuss the distraction of the week (e.g., paycheck “fairness” legislation), he is ducking an important issue and refusing to tell us his position. Obama’s decision to offer no concrete plan on entitlement reform is either smart politics or, once again, ignored.
7. Story after story on Mormonism are, we read, essential to understanding what makes Romney tick. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is old news (and verging on racism to bring it up), and it’s none of our business how frequently Obama goes to church.
8. There is next to no coverage of the defense sequestration cuts. The president is not asked about his defense secretary’s assertion that the planned cuts are “devastating” to our national coverage.
9. No analysis appears in stories on the economy comparing the Reagan recovery and the Obama “recovery.”
10. If and when the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare, we will hear the ”conservative justices marched in lock step” and “right-wing justices stuck together.” The liberal justices, of course, we will be told, decided the case based on their good-faith reading of the “living Constitution.”
UPDATE (9:50 a.m. 5/14/2012): Well I didn’t see this one coming.
11. You put a halo over Obama’s head on your cover.