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Worse Than Both-siderism

A lot of left wing blogs vent about the media’s penchant for “both-siderism”; defined perhaps as the media’s reflexive need to assign blame to “both sides” for anything happening in our culture, even when there is no objective basis for so doing. Broadly speaking, the media feels the need to blame both sides for the fact that our politics have gone off the rails, when as a matter of historical fact, it is the Republican Party that has brought us to the brink of fascism.

But bemoaning “both siderism” misses something, and that is the fact that the media does not in fact assign blame to both sides equally; it goes out of its way to impose more stringent behavioral rules on Democrats. Case in point is the Harvey Weinstein imbroglio. The folks at Crooks and Liars point out that on AM Joy the panelists recognized the phenomena:

After reading through the list of women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, Reid continued.

REID: No one is asking that every single Republican who’s been defending Donald Trump go through an answer for that.

LOPEZ: And that’s the thing, Joy. It’s really interesting to see that a lot of the media that are right now claiming that people are defending Harvey Weinstein, when it would be hard to find anyone defending this, are the same people who are right now propping Bill O’Reilly up, allowing him to do a comeback tour and basically helping him rehabilitate his image.

The C&L post goes on to point out that prominent both-siderist Chris Cillizza assured his readers that Weinstein’s behavior simply must have been known to the Democrats to whom he donated, that assumption excusing him from providing a single fact to support his assertion.

My point is that calling this a “both-sides” position actually puts far too good a face on it. In fact, the media consistently demands more of Democrats than Republicans, as this incident, and so many others prove. Republicans were not taken to task for failing to repudiate Ailes or O’Reilly, or for that matter, Tim Murphy, the married congressional “pro-life” (a Republican term the media has happily adopted, despite the overall pro-death position of the party) hypocrite who just resigned when it leaked out that he urged his mistress to have an abortion in case her fear she was pregnant turned out to be true. There was no condemnation from Ryan or any other Republican, Ryan simply thanked him for his service. There was no outcry from Cillizza and his ilk, pointing out that they must have known about Murphy’s hypocrisy. There never is. The press gives a free pass to Republican hypocrisy and Republican racism, while expecting from Democrats virtues they’d never demand from Republicans. In the case of Weinstein, they actually reported that the Democrats are defending him, which is not the case.

So we need another label. More than that, we need what the Republicans did and continue to do. We need concerted pushback from Democrats accusing the media of the bias that “both siderism” masks.

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