Somewhere along the road of mainstream media political coverage, facts directed towards an opponent became an “attack,” a term once reserved primarily for military actions that has become ubiquitous in mainstream media political coverage. Witness one of CNN’s latest headlines: “Virginia Democrats attack [emphasis mine] Cuccinelli for comparing abortion to slavery, Civil War.”
As Blue Virginia’s Lowell Feld pointed out, however, it’s unclear how the Democratic Party is “attacking” Cuccinelli by pointing out the audacity of his own words. Better said, the Democratic Party is highlighting Cuccinelli’s proclivity for extreme rhetoric and ridiculous comparisons.
It’s no secret to many Americans that the mainstream media has become little more than a frontline source for sensationalist ‘news’ as opposed to a nonpartisan, fact-finding institution that takes its role seriously as the private and public sector watchdog of first resort.
Thus, it’s little wonder that a minority of House members can grind America’s economy to a halt when many outlets within the mainstream media refuse to focus on the root-causes of the problems and instead focus on John Boehner’s fallout with his “troops” and the like. Had the mainstream media been more forthcoming about who was really to blame for the government shutdown and why, the government shutdown may have been ended on the first day.
Instead of lambasting House Republicans for their careless tactics and unknown goals, a number of mainstream media outlets continued to talk as if all parties were equally to blame, perhaps fearful of being tagged as “partisan.” But speaking to facts is not “partisanship.”
If the Democratic Party had pulled a stunt like the Republican Party, I would have expected the mainstream media to blast the Democratic Party just as forcefully. Ultimately, facts shouldn’t be partisan and aren’t partisan.
So when one political party turns the hateful words of a political candidate against him or her, it’s not an “attack,” it’s a fact, and that’s what makes it so powerful as a political tool.