Cancun Cruz deserves to be dragged, but media’s selective outrage is painfully apparent
For a smart man, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) ain’t so smart.
Exhibit A is the story you cannot escape regarding his impulsive trip to Cancun, Mexico, during a deadly cold weather crisis in the state he represents. More than three dozen people have died as a result. Millions are freezing. Water is at a premium at hospitals.
It’s a once-in-a-century event, and all hands should be on deck: governor, senators, mayors, and anyone in charge of providing services and protecting citizens. One senator decided to bail. Know this: Cruz’s political career will never be the same because this is the kind of defining moment that effectively ended his aspirations of being considered a serious presidential contender again. It’s a moment that shows Cruz is like so many other hypocrites in government in acting above the constituents he represents.
When the going gets tough, the tough don’t run to umbrella drinks at the beach.
Sen. Ted Cruz, back in Texas, says it was “obviously a mistake” to go to Cancun.
You can hear protestors chanting “Resign!” in the background. pic.twitter.com/FwA6Dsg4fv
— The Recount (@therecount) February 19, 2021
The Cruz situation also is a classic example of how the outrage machine selectively works in our media today. While the senator should be roasted for his stupidity and insensitivity, those on soapboxes piously screaming the loudest about Cancun stay silent on other issues far more egregious out of fear that their respective audiences might be offended.
Exhibit B is new revelations around the Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans created to take down former President Trump and Republicans in the Senate by supporting Democrats that has raised $90 million since its inception more than a year ago.
The problem is that one of its co-founders, John Weaver, has been accused of sexually harassing young men and teenage boys by offering them jobs in exchange for sex. Almost two dozen people come forward with those allegations. And according to multiple reports, Lincoln Project leaders were told about Weaver’s behavior as early as March 2020. But they did nothing. Said nothing — perhaps because the donation money coming in was too good. Here’s the kicker: Of the $90 million raked in, $50 million reportedly went to firms controlled by leaders of the Lincoln Project.
Exhibit C is the nursing home scandal rocking New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). It was recently revealed by a Cuomo aide that his administration intentionally undercounted nursing home deaths by nearly 9,000. A federal investigation has been launched. One Democratic lawmaker has accused Cuomo of bullying by threatening to destroy him after he questioned the governor over the nursing home situation. Republicans and Democrats alike are calling for Cuomo’s emergency powers to be revoked. Some are calling for his resignation.
Given all the adulation Cuomo has received from the national press over the past year — which somehow earned him an Emmy and a lucrative book deal — his downfall is a major story.
But the outrage machine has been turned off by the usual soapbox stars on TV. On the airwaves of CNN and MSNBC, for example, the Lincoln Project story is invisible, while the Cuomo situation is barely being touched. CNN even laughably went so far as to ban anchor Chris Cuomo from covering his brother’s scandal after interviewing (fawning over) him 10 times last year without uttering the words “nursing home.”
Per the New York Post, “CNN claimed Wednesday that it has reinstated a ‘rule’ that prevents Chris Cuomo from ‘interviewing or covering his brother’ — after the host completely ignored the nursing home death cover-up scandal engulfing Gov. Andrew Cuomo.”
For its part, MSNBC, which employs three members of the Lincoln Project as contributors, has brought on leading members of said project 17 times since the Weaver scandal broke. So how many times did hosts on the network broach Weaver? Hint: It’s the number you get when multiplying anything by zero. The network also said in a statement that it has no plans to part ways with them, according to journalist Yashar Ali.
“Given all the investigations and potential violations of federal law, I asked MSNBC if they planned on booking anyone associated with Lincoln Project on their shows,” Ali wrote on Twitter. “Per a source: ‘We’ll continue to book guests who are associated with the Lincoln Project as news warrants.’”
Given all the investigations and potential violations of federal law, I asked MSNBC if they planned on booking anyone associated with Lincoln Project on their shows.
Per a source:
“We’ll continue to book guests who are associated with the Lincoln Project as news warrants.”
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) February 13, 2021
Principles can’t be applied only when convenient. You hit Cruz, as CNN and MSNBC did almost wall to wall Thursday and Friday, fine. But what American audiences — the majority of whom aren’t represented by mobs on Twitter — ultimately want is consistency and integrity.
Check out these three poll numbers to show how far the media has fallen in the public’s eyes.
October 2020, Gallup: 86 percent of U.S. adults felt the media was biased.
October 2020, Gallup: 84 percent believed the media bore the blame for the divide in this country.
October 1976, Gallup: 72 percent of U.S. adults said they trusted the media.
According to a recent poll commissioned by The Hill, nearly 7 in 10 Americans are more concerned about bias in news others consume.
Talk about turning numbers on their head.
So sit back and watch Cruz morph into a human pinata for the foreseeable future.
He deserves it.
But so does Cuomo. So do the founders of the Lincoln Project.
The lessons that should have been learned by the media following the Michael Avenatti fiasco — which included him being featured hundreds of times on two-thirds of major cable news in search of a daily nasty sound bite about Trump — should have easily applied here, but that only happens if an honest presentation that scrutinizes everyone is your goal.
For much of the media, it isn’t.
It’s about providing the comfort food that is red meat to audiences. One would think some folks got into this business to speak truth to power without fear or favor to party.
Well, think again.
Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill.