It is well documented how the media tend to be more critical of conservative candidates than their liberal counterparts. But at least if you know this, you can be prepared to counter the snark with reason and find alternative ways to disseminate your message. If, however, this latest example of media bias is indicative of what we can expect until 2016, we’re in for a long cycle.
If you haven’t heard, the former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard has thrown her hat in the ring to compete for the 2016 Republican nomination for President. Whether or not she’s your pick, you have to admit that her story is uniquely compelling; she started out her career as a secretary and worked her way up to become the leader of one of the largest technology companies in the world. Only in America, right? She undoubtedly adds a diverse face and voice to the Party in this exciting contest.
So, when she launched her candidacy earlier this month, you might think that the driving narrative would focus on her background, positions, or plans for the country. Instead, she’s been asked in every interview about a cyber squatter, who used her domain name (“carlyfiorna[dot]org”) to bash her candidacy. As a fairly avid consumer of news, I have scarcely been able to find an article about her candidacy without a passing mention or lengthy feature about a guy who had a vendetta, ten bucks, and a GoDaddy account. Journalists are free to write what they want, but it’s difficult to believe that a single voter will cast their ballot on the basis of whether or not someone claimed their domain name early. Fellow presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul, reportedly had to pay over $100,000 to reclaim his domain name. Is that the price you pay for avoiding (and sparing the rest of us from) these moronic process stories?
It’s simply clutter – stories for a breathless Washington to consume while we wait the 500+ days until Election Day. And where there’s clutter, we tend to miss what’s important. Earlier this year, presumptive Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted that she not only built a private email system in her home so as to obfuscate public record laws, but also erased the server after self-selecting what emails the public should be able to see. We then learned that the former Secretary and former President Bill Clinton have been engaged in a number of financial transactions with foreign governments that coincide with key decisions Secretary Clinton made in her official capacity. They say that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Unsurprisingly, where the Clintons are involved, there’s also arson.
But where is the outrage over this blatant and arrogant attempt to deceive the public? Where is the demand for greater media availability from Candidate Clinton to answer these important questions? Over the past week, Carly Fiorina has answered over 200 questions from the media, whereas former Secretary Clinton has answered a total of seven questions since April 12th. It seems as though journalists are content to quote from vanilla statements and Tweets released by the Clinton campaign and report based on Chipotle surveillance footage, while saving their most exacting scrutiny for Republican candidates. This is an important election with serious consequences; let’s hold all of the candidates to higher standards. And more importantly, let’s make sure our standards are measuring the right things.