Brad Bumsted: An illegitimate double standard
Editor's note: Brad Bumsted filed this column before heading to Tampa, where he'll be covering the Republican National Convention this week.
The national media went berserk over Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin's remark about “legitimate rape.”
The fact that Akin, a sitting Republican member of Congress, by midweek would not bow out of the race only made it worse.
We all should deplore the use of “gotcha” sound bites by Republican and Democrat operatives, pouncing on one word or phrase out of context followed by an unending round of calls for apologies. The media are usually willing accomplices and co-conspirators.
But Akin's statement was “legitimately” offensive. Trying to explain why he opposed abortion in all circumstances, Akin said “if it's a legitimate rape the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.” He later asked constituents for forgiveness, saying he misspoke.
Despite Mitt Romney disavowing the comments and calling for Akin's resignation, Democrats are trying to make Romney wear it.
The bottom line: Akin deserved every bit of the negative ink and airtime.
Then contrast that with Vice President Joe Biden, who gets a pass from the media for his outrageous statements. In remarks to a largely black group in Virginia, Biden said, “Romney's going to let the big banks once again write all the rules. (They'll) unchain Wall Street. They're gonna put ya'll back in chains.”
If presumptive Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan said that, you can imagine the firestorm in the liberal media. Ryan could beg for forgiveness continually but the media torture would continue.
“Mitt and the guys are all running away from Akin as fast as possible, but the truth is out there,” the Allegheny County Democratic Committee said in an email to Democrats.
Biden was barely chastised by the media. It is a big fat double standard.
The Biden remark, called a “blatant appeal to racism” by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, had a short shelf life on most network and cable news shows. Most media did their part to bury it.
To its credit, the liberal Boston Globe separated itself from the pack, criticizing Biden and exposing the double standard:
“Liberals routinely dismiss Biden's gaffes as the rhetorical excesses of an overly exuberant speaker — it's ‘Joe being Joe.' And there can be something appealing about a politician who throws caution and the script that goes with it to the winds,” The Globe wrote. “Yet when conservative speakers get overly exuberant and cross a rhetorical line, they are presumed racist or culturally insensitive, rather than refreshingly free-spirited. One standard should apply.”
One standard. It's hard to fathom.
There's no doubt Akin and Biden crossed the line.
The Globe called for Biden to apologize.
And believe this — what Biden said had to be pretty bad for The Boston Globe to demand his apology.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Locke the choice to be 5th starter
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 18, Phillies 4
- NFL notebook: Browns GM suspended, team fined for ‘Text-gate’
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Body pulled from river in Charleroi
- Pittsburgh man’s bid to delay trial rejected
- Pirates’ outfield may have few defensive peers
- Man shot in Hill District
- Supreme Court allows Obamacare’s Medicare costs board to stand
- Falling bricks close 2 Squirrel Hill businesses
- Penguins’ Letang leaves hospital, out with concussion