When Texas State Senator Wendy Davis filibustered to block an abortion bill with 60 percent approval among the public she was treated as a conquering hero. Soon after, the bill became law anyway, but national media still fawns over Davis, now running for governor. Why? What difference does it make, especially more than a year out? None, but it does fit their desired narrative.
Another story that fits their narrative is the Texas lawmakers allowing college students to carry guns, if they so choose, to protect themselves on campus. MSNBC, which still spends an inordinate amount of time singing the praises of Davis, had a piece that said, “Freshman state Rep. Steve Toth, a Woodlands Republican, rose to prominence recently when he proposed throwing federal agents in state prison if they dared enforce any new anti-gun laws.”
The only reason anything Steve Toth, or any state representative, says can rise to prominence is when the media covers them. To ignore story choice in bias is to ignore the roots of bias itself.
Sticking with Texas, have you heard of District Attorney Craig Watkins? Unless you live in Texas, probably not. But he’s the DA of Dallas County, no small job. He also has an interesting history, to put it mildly.
Watkins is accused of pressuring prosecutors in his office, his staff, to challenge judges he has issues with in Democratic primary elections. In short, he’d like to have a slate of judges loyal to him on the bench, a dangerous attempted power grab by any political party.
Those challengers, six of them, claim they have not been influenced to consider their challenges, but that number is unprecedented and dangerous.
Imagine the power a District Attorney could wield if the judges they went in front of owed even some of their success to him? Candidates can’t file to run until November and have until December to ultimately decide, a fact not lost on the sitting judges seeking reelection. True or not, the subtext of this is “Don’t do what I like and I’ll take you out in the next election.” It’s subtle, but it’s very real. It’s also unreported on outside of Texas.
Also unreported is the fact that Watkins also opened a criminal investigation against three judges and tried to subpoena them in front of a grand jury. All this because Watkins is mad a judge held him in contempt for refusing to answer questions about why his office indicted an oil heir on mortgage fraud charges even though the bank was paid back and said there had been no issues. Might it have something to do with the legal dispute the heir had with one Watkins' largest political donor, who also named a scholarship in his honor at a local law school?
An advanced search of MSNBC’s website turned up (ironically) six results for “District Attorney Craig Watkins” and none of the results have anything to do with judicial intimidation.
If Watkins were a Republican it would be portrayed as every bit the intimidation and abuse of office it appears to be. You also would have heard about it because the media would not only cover it, they’d portray it as “yet another example of Republican power grabbing.”
But Watkins is a Democrat, and as such, this is may be the last you hear of it.
Media bias is much more than how a story is covered, it’s what stories are covered in the first place. Whether it’s a pervert, a grandstander or a politician abusing his power, what qualifies as “news” isn’t dependent upon a story’s impact, it’s dependent upon the media’s desired narrative. When a Republican politician does or says something stupid it is presented as a party’s “norm” and all members of that party are asked to account for it. When it’s a Democrat, everyone gets a pass.
We don’t have to wonder, “What if a Republican had done this?” when it comes to scandals or corruption, because we have seen the answer. The media screams it from the mountaintop. Knowing that rule does not apply to Democrats, and knowing corruption knows no party, makes you wonder what else they’re getting away with.