Senate confirmation drama highlights media hypocrisy

Senate confirmation drama highlights media hypocrisy
© Aaron Schwartz

The national news headlines all too often blast President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate US sending 20,000 troops to Europe for largest exercises since Cold War Barr criticizes FBI, says it's possible agents acted in 'bad faith' in Trump probe MORE and Republicans for supposedly eroding civic norms, yet Democrats get a free pass from mainstream journalists for their biased shortcomings that frays trust in government and ultimately trust in the media itself.

The latest case in point is the silence surrounding Democratic Senator Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezForeign Relations Democrat calls on Iran to release other American prisoners GOP senator blocks Armenian genocide resolution The job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' MORE, who was severely admonished at age 64 by the Senate Ethics Committee for serious ethics violations tied to a federal corruption indictment, blocking former Republican Representative Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaDuncan Hunter to plead guilty to campaign finance violations Why the GOP march of mad hatters poses a threat to our Democracy Elijah Cummings, native son of Baltimore, gets emotional send-off from Democratic luminaries MORE from serving as the next director of the Trade and Development Agency, allegedly because Issa used fake identification at age 17.

The lack of media outrage over the intransigence of Menendez against Issa, who is a successful entrepreneur with significant strengths that he can bring to the trade development role on behalf of the American people, is fitting with repeated and vitriolic personal attacks by both reporters and pundits alike, against not only President Trump, but those who serve the public in his administration. This damages the interests of all citizens in the name of media obstruction by liberals.

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As a sitting senator, Menendez was admonished by all six members of the Senate Ethics Committee for accepting expensive gifts and travel from Salomon Melgen, an eye doctor who was eventually convicted of defrauding Medicare by $73 million and sentenced to 17 years in federal prison. The indictment against Menendez stated that he allegedly intervened on behalf of Melgen with Medicare billing, pressured federal officials about a $500 million port security contract between a company owned by Melgen and the Dominican Republic, and helped secure visas for girlfriends of Melgen. Menendez was also investigated for allegedly paying for underage prostitutes while in the Dominican Republic.

In stark contrast, Issa, now age 65, as a teenager used fake identification at age 17 so that he could enter bars and drink. Since then, Issa as an adult has received multiple government security clearances, including while serving in the United States Army and as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in Congress. Issa also cofounded a successful multimillion dollar car security business.

The sins of these two men could not be further apart, yet mainstream journalists attack Republicans as inept, while Democrats like Menendez obliterate civic norms by stalling Republican nominees at rates that far surpass his predecessors. It is no wonder the Trump administration has expressed concerns that Democrats are “weaponizing” Senate cloture.

The media hypocrisy would be astounding if it were not already so normalized by a national press corps with entrenched bias against conservatives and Republicans. The lack of media accountability for the way Menedez has behaved with Issa is the latest example of press bias against conservatives. This was highlighted in a Pew Research Center report this year that found 73 percent of Republicans believe that the national media does not understand “people like them.” Another Pew Research Center report found that most Americans continue to believe that the national media “favor one side” on political and social issues.

Journalists often express outrage and fear over the anger and frustration that President Trump and his supporters express against the media, yet they rarely consider their own behavior. A Monmouth University poll last year found 77 percent of Americans believe the media report fake news. Even more telling is that 65 percent said fake news includes how outlets make editorial decisions on what they cover. The case of Menendez and Issa is another example of biased media priorities favoring liberal ideology over an administration hired by voters to fight for their interests.

Carrie Sheffield (@CarrieSheffield) is national editor at Accuracy In Media.