There Is No Media Bias

by Charles C. W. Cooke

Here are the first three paragraphs of the New York Times story on Bob Filner, the ex-mayor of San Diego who pleaded guilty to charges of sexual harrasment. The headline is, “Ex-Mayor of San Diego Pleads Guilty to Charges of Sexual Harassment”:

Bob Filner, the former San Diego mayor forced out of office in a storm of sexual harassment allegations, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a series of false imprisonment and battery charges involving three women.

The episode for Mr. Filner and the city he led for less than a year ended at a swift 16-minute court hearing in Superior Court, where Mr. Filner, dressed in a crisp blue suit and a gold tie, entered his plea with a series of “yes, sirs” as the judge described the scope of the one felony charge and two misdemeanor charges.

It was a sharp contrast from his resignation speech in August, when the mayor said he had been the victim of a “lynch mob.” His lawyer, Jerry Coughlan, said afterward that the once-defiant Mr. Filner, who faced sexual harassment allegations from 17 women, had “learned to get beyond denial” during his treatment for sexual disorders at a facility in Los Angeles in September.

So, what do we know about Filner? We know that he was the mayor of San Diego. We know that he has admitted that he is guilty of “false imprisonment and battery charges.” We know that he wore a “crisp blue suit and a gold tie.” We also know that he denied the allegations initially.

What don’t we know about Bob Filner? Well, we don’t know which political party he represents. This must be because it isn’t relevant, right?

Here is the New York Times’s story on Senator Larry E. Craig, who resigned after he was outed by an undercover sex sting. This story is titled, “Republicans Say Senator Will Resign Over Sex Sting”:

Senator Larry E. Craig, Republican of Idaho, plans to resign his seat on Saturday after Republican leaders put intense pressure on him to leave in the aftermath of an undercover sex sting, Republican Party officials said Friday.

Through intermediaries and unusually harsh public statements and actions, party officials made it clear they wanted Mr. Craig to quit before Congress returned from its summer recess next week, hoping to quickly conclude an embarrassing episode that threatened to complicate an already difficult election cycle for Senate Republicans.

Republican Party officials said Friday evening that they had been notified of Mr. Craig’s intention to give up his seat as of Sept. 30 and that Gov. C. L. Otter, a Republican, would name a replacement.

There are six references to the Republican party in the first three paragraphs. The rest of the piece, meanwhile, takes us on a wild ride through every possible wider implication. In the course of 1200 words, the authors refer to: a “setback suffered by Republicans,” “National Republican officials,” “Republican officials,” “the Republican leader,” the “National Republican Senatorial Committee,” “the Republican National Committee,” “Idaho Republicans,” “the Republican leadership,” “Republicans,” “Republican of Louisana,” a “scandal that hurt Republicans last year,” a “Republican of Mississippi,” “prominent Republicans,” more “prominent Republicans,” “Republicans,” the “Republican brand,” “Republicans in 2006,” “Republicans . . . at a disadvantage,” things “trending against Republicans,” “Republican strategists,” “Republican-leaning states,” and, for good measure, “the National Republican Senatorial Committee.”

The piece on Filner, meanwhile, mentions that the man is a Democrat once, and confirms that the “Democratic City Council president” has replaced him. This cannot be chalked up to Filner’s being “just a mayor.” Filner, remember, was in Congress for 20 years as a representative, not only serving on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs but serving as chairman and then as the ranking Democrat after Republicans took the House in 2010.

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