Remember those pesky syllogisms from high school? You know – major premise, minor premise, conclusion. For example:
-The media generally prefers Democrats to Republicans
-Hillary Clinton is a Democrat
-Therefore, the media will favor Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race
If anyone disputes either premise or the conclusion, please pass the Kool-Aid. Now, this is not to say that Mrs. Clinton will get a free ride or receive the kind of adoring coverage that was heaped on Barack Obama eight years ago.
Right now some outlets are obviously peeved at Hillary Clinton’s decision to scrupulously avoid interviews. The New York Times crunched the numbers and wrote this: “Since she declared her candidacy, Hillary Rodham Clinton has answered just seven questions from reporters.”
The Washington Post then got out its trusty calculator and concluded that the Democratic front-runner has answered “roughly three-tenths of a question per day.” Things are so bad that Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson may have to share his nickname with Mrs. Clinton.
The media doesn’t like to be ignored, and right now many reporters are irked at the Clinton avoidance strategy. In fairness, we should also point out that the New York Times has done some real digging into the Clinton Foundation story. But don’t leap to any “ergo” and conclude that major press outfits will subject Hillary Clinton to the kind of scrutiny they traditionally reserve for Republicans.
We got a sneak preview of pro-Clinton bias the other day when the New York Times and CBS News polled voters about her various qualities. Despite questions about the Clinton Foundation, despite the destroyed emails, despite all the evasions and word-parsing, the Times reported that Hillary Clinton has “initially weathered” the barrage of bad news.
The paper’s headline was especially interesting: “Hillary Clinton’s Appeal Survives Scrutiny, Poll Says.” But does that headline itself survive scrutiny? True, the survey found that 81% of Democrats believe Mrs. Clinton to be “honest and trustworthy.” But 51% of independents say she is “not honest and trustworthy.”
And when Fox News conducted a similar poll, only 33% of independents characterized the former First Lady as honest. Those are abysmal numbers for a woman who desperately needs the support of independent voters, not just hard-core Democrats. Maybe her appeal hasn’t “survived scrutiny” after all.
With the campaign season revving up, get used to news coverage that is, shall we say, less than balanced. As Bernie Goldberg said this week, after admitting his embarrassment at making such an obvious point, “the so-called mainstream media tilts left.”
That is a given, despite protestations to the contrary by loony left-wing websites. The question is how much that tilting will help Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. One mainstreamer, in a moment of candor, once suggested that media bias is worth about 15% to any Democratic presidential candidate. He later revised that downward to 5%, but that is still enough to swing pretty much every national election this side of Reagan-Mondale.
So here’s a tip: Read the polls, analyze the news, follow the coverage, and never, ever overlook the fine print. It’s often more revealing than the article, and especially the headline.
We The People are facing economic malaise, the threat of terrorism, widespread polarization, crumbling cities, and a debased culture. The next president will have much to do in determining whether the USA can overcome these dire problems. We all need to be high-information voters. Now more than ever.