It’s nothing new that Democratic politicians don’t face the same level of media scrutiny as their Republican counterparts. There’s been a clear double standard for decades when it comes to covering the actions and behaviors of the political right vs the political left.
Sometimes that double standard is fairly subtle, like when Republican candidates are relentlessly pressed on the specific details of their pro-life positions, while Democratic candidates are rarely asked about (and never pressed on) the issue of late-term abortion. Sometimes they’re quite obvious, like with all of those Bush anti-terror measures that suddenly stopped being controversial once President Obama adopted them. Then there are those really over-the-top instances which I’ll refer to as special–case double standards.
A special-case double standard is one that the media freely acknowledges, yet writes off as some kind of inside joke because a politically incorrect strain of cultural acceptance (the kind of thing liberals are usually against) allows them to do so.
Vice President Joe Biden is one of these special-case double standards. He’s a man who routinely says and does highly inappropriate things. He engages in the kind of behavior that your typical Republican candidate would lose an election over, and an elected Republican would be asked to step down over. I’m talking about the kind of conduct that the average private sector worker would likely lose their job over.
Forget for a minute all of those harmless Biden gaffes like giving a shout out to his “butt buddy,” talking about the president’s “big stick,” or calling on a wheelchair-bound supporter to rise to his feet. Those are embarrassing and force one to question why America was afraid to give his job to Sarah Palin, but they merely scratch the surface. Our vice president has spewed more fabricated information than Brian Williams on a date, and made more racially offensive remarks than The Office’s Michael Scott on speed. Just yesterday as a matter of fact, Biden played to a racial stereotype of Somali-Americans driving cabs.
The media lets Biden get away with it all for one simple reason: The things he does are reflexively funny to the casual observer. Thus it’s all good.
Another example from yesterday illustrates my point perfectly…
One would think that our new defense secretary Ash Carter could bring his wife to his own swearing-in ceremony and not have her creepily groped by another man, but that’s not our vice president’s style. No, Mr. Biden, as he’s shown us at other such events, believes it’s his obligation to nestle up behind women, wrap his hands around them, hang his head over their shoulder, and whisper sweet nothings in their ear. He even does it with the young daughters of politicians, and as innocent as the motivations most certainly are, the pattern of behavior is completely and totally inappropriate.
The media would certainly recognize a problem if it were Dick Cheney. They’d recognize a problem if it were John Boehner or Mitch McConnell. Any Republican doing this kind of thing would have their emotional stability questioned, and their actions portrayed as irrefutable proof of the GOP’s “War on Women.” But with Joe Biden, the media attitude has always been that it’s just “Joe being Joe,” and thus it’s okay.
The same media that identified misogyny in Mitt Romney’s use of the phrase “binders of women” doesn’t see a problem with Joe. The same media that accused the owners of Hobby Lobby of taking away women’s rights, because they objected to being forced to provide employees with abortifacients, doesn’t see a problem with Joe. The same media that nodded its collective head when President Obama likened GOP positions to an episode of Mad Men doesn’t see a problem with Joe.
They don’t see a problem, and they don’t want to see a problem. The sad, undeniable reality is that in the world of the liberal media, creepy, sexist behavior (that would typically elicit uproar from feminists and progressives alike) is okay when it comes from their side of the aisle… as long as it can be turned into an adolescent joke.
I hope you’ll excuse me if I don’t laugh.
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