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Double Standard

February 29th, 2008

I know, these are common as weeds in politics, but the latest one is pretty interesting.

John McCain is not being very closely scrutinized in the media for his stated decision to “opt out” of federal funding for his campaign. Not one, but two rules prohibit him from legally opting out (FEC must approve but is currently disabled; McCain used funding as collateral for a loan and is now locked in), meaning that McCain may have already violated federal law, and is not legally allowed to spend any more money for the next six months. This is a huge development, unprecedented in any prior election, to my knowledge. And it is not a liberal-blogger maybe-this-could-stick theory; the Republican FEC chairman, David Mason, himself stated this as being a fact. The story is further significant due to McCain’s reputation as a campaign finance icon, someone who is supposed to be all about reform, not breaking campaign finance law. And yet the media somehow finds it reasonable to relegate this story to the back pages.

That same media, however, has been paying considerably more attention to McCain’s criticisms of Obama concerning Obama’s pledge to “aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.” A lot more media outlets are covering this, and giving it front-page attention. The thing is, this is a story about a decision Obama hasn’t even made yet–it is about a potential future action by a candidate to violate a non-legally-binding promise–something done every other hour in Washington D.C.

So the media virtually ignores it when the GOP front-runner overtly breaks campaign finance law even though he helped write those laws, and instead the media plays up a story where the Democratic front-runner might sometime in the future decide not to live up to a promise he made a while ago, which would not break any law at all.

Damn that liberal media!!

Also of note: McCain is supposed to be Mr. Campaign Finance Reform, but surrounds himself with lobbyists and can demonstrably be shown as doing favors for them beyond what is reasonable for his position; again, this gets little play. What also gets less play is the fact that Obama does not accept money from PACs or federal lobbyists at all, and that the vast majority of his contributions come from ordinary people–which means that opting in for federal funding would not make much if any difference in how clean his campaign is.

So tell me: if the press really “loves” Barack Obama as much as it is hyped to, why these disparities? Could it be that the press doesn’t really love him so much, but people get that impression simply because there’s so much good news coming his way, because whenever they point a camera at him, he’s surrounded by enthusiastic supporters?

Maybe I’m just not seeing this unreasonable media infatuation with Obama that gets him all this disproportionate fawning. Could someone point out a few instances of it for me? Please?

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