Robert Knight

This year’s presidential election will be a contest between truth and lies.

Don’t think it’s that stark?

Let’s compare how the media handled two incidents.

On Feb. 16, philanthropist Foster Friess, a major backer and adviser to Rick Santorum, cracked a joke that became a media sensation.

In an MSNBC interview with Andrea Mitchell, who asked him if Mr. Santorum’s socially conservative stances would harm his “viability,” Mr. Friess lamented that other issues like the economy and national security were being eclipsed by the focus on sex. Then he quipped,

“You know, back in my days, they’d use Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”

That’s an old one, but since it raises the issue of moral volition, all but humorless feminists usually chuckle. But listen to this from the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart:

“Friess’s stupefying, backward and dangerous response had jaws dropping from coast to coast….The view espoused by Friess is dumb and grim.” He finished by describing the idea of Mr. Friess having White House access someday as “terrifying.”

Mr. Capehart is also terrified by defining marriage as a bride and a groom, so it’s not all that surprising that Mr. Friess’s joke scared him silly.

Over on, Lucy Madison reported the incident with a headline proclaiming, “Foster Friess: In my day, women ‘used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives.’”

Madison explains, deadpan: “Friess's implication is that if women hold aspirin between their legs, they won't open them.” Ah. Now we get it. Thanks, Ms. Madison.

Likewise, the Associated Press’ Julie Carr Smith and Steve Peoples reported:

“Foster Friess, the main donor behind Santorum's ‘super PAC,’ created a stir Thursday when he suggested on national television that aspirin used to be an acceptable method for contraception.”

No, he didn’t. He told a joke. Mr. Friess, whom I know as a friend, often cracks jokes to lighten very serious discussions. He regards a sense of humor as one of God’s greatest gifts to us.

Contrast the media’s thrashing of Mr. Friess with the kid-glove treatment they gave North Carolina Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue after she got caught on tape last Sept. 27th saying:

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.