A Washington Times editorial criticized the media's coverage of recent remarks by Sen. Joe Biden, saying they were "the focus of the media's racial-insensitivity microscope." But less than two days earlier, Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley had asserted that Biden was "getting, more or less, a pass from the mainstream media" on his comments.
A February 2 Washington Times editorial on the coverage of Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s (D-DE) controversial remarks to The New York Observer asserted that Biden's remarks were "the focus of the media's racial-insensitivity microscope" when, instead, their focus should have been on Biden's criticism of Iraq proposals presented by Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), and former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC). In the Observer article, Biden called Obama "the first mainstream African-American, who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." The Times editorial criticized the media for what it described as "frivolous" coverage of Biden's remarks. However, as Media Matters for America noted, Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley appeared on the January 31 edition of MSNBC's Hardball -- less than two days prior to the publication of the editorial -- and said that the media were largely ignoring Biden's remarks. Specifically, he said that "[t]he media is not jumping down Biden's throat" and that "[i]f a conservative Republican had said this, I think the media would've jumped down his throat." Blankley also asserted that Biden was "getting, more or less, a pass from the mainstream media" on his comments.
By contrast, the Times editorial listed "mainstream news outlets" among those it considered culpable for focusing on the more racially charged portions of Biden's comments rather than on the substantive policy elements.
From the February 2 Washington Times editorial:
When the newly installed chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who has a long, serious record on the subject calls the top three Democratic presidential hopefuls on the carpet for their unrealistic Iraq proposals, that's a huge story. Huge. Not that the headlines this week show it. Sen. Joe Biden's clumsy, failed attempt at praise for Sen. Barack Obama is instead the focus of the media's racial-insensitivity microscope. This means we are missing yet another opportunity to push the nation's Iraq debate in a meaningful direction. How frivolous.
The culprits are not just the mainstream news outlets. It's also the conservative media, all too eager to pounce on a powerful Democrat as he extricates his foot from his mouth.