The Washington Post

20 rules for covering the campaign

The left denies that there is a double standard in media coverage of President Obama and Mitt Romney; the right finds it patently obvious and deniers of such bias disingenuous.

The bias in story selection, word choice and tone is so obvious to many of us, one can easily come up with the rules, the unspoken assumptions that result in biased coverage (in some cases, unconsciously so).

1. It is essential to plumb the ins and outs of Mormonism and to understand that Romney’s religion determines his views.

2. It is verboten to explore the church President Obama attended for 20 years, especially since it has nothing to do with his views.

3. Mormonism is “weird.” We must learn more about it. The public wants to read lots and lots about it

4. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s theology is ho-hum. We know all there is to know. The public doesn’t want to hear it.

5. Romney is super-duper rich.

6. Obama’s present wealth is of no concern; He grew up in modest conditions.

7. Romney is a gaffe machine. (e.g., Cadillacs).

8. Obama is eloquent.

9. Romney’s actions (e.g., hiring gays and women) do not allay concerns he is anti-gay and anti-women.

10. Obama’s words allay any doubts that he is good for African Americans, Hispanics, women, gays, etc. The results of his policies are irrelevant.

11. Romney is George W. Bush reincarnate even if his policies are different.

12. Obama is “a sort of God,” or perhaps FDR (without the war leadership, aversion to public employee unions and unifying rhetoric).

13. Romney will roll over the little guy, as evidenced by the layoffs of workers from companies Bain invested in.

14. Obama is the savior of the little guy, despite 1,100 Solyndra layoffs, the increase in poverty and 8.2 percent unemployment.

15. Romney is a puppet of the far right.

16. Obama’s views just coincidentally line up with the agenda of extreme environmentalists, Big Labor and the Palestinian Authority (on a settlement freeze and “1967 borders”).

17. Romney hasn’t told us precisely what discretionary cuts he would use to reach his budget goals. He’s evasive and up to no good.

18. Obama is smart not to lay out a complete tax plan, entitlement reform or immigration reform.

19. Romney’s tax reform, as he and his advisers have explained, will be revenue-neutral and maintain tax progressivity, but his plan should be referred to as a “budget buster” or “tax cuts for the rich.” No distinction shall be made between lower tax rates and tax cuts.

20. Obama shall not be questioned on his assertion that if the rich pay just a wee bit more, everyone can go to college and no cuts in entitlement plans will be needed.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.


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