Rob Douglas' column appears Fridays in the Steamboat Today. He can be reached at rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.
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Steamboat Springs As the crowd chanted "Hockey moms!" during her Republican vice presidential nomination acceptance speech Wednesday evening, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin ad-libbed, "You know what they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is? Lipstick."
It's not hard to imagine why that phrase came to Gov. Palin's mind.
Given the media assault on Palin by political journalists reporting and opining on the pregnancy of Bristol Palin - the governor's 17-year-old daughter - Palin will need to fight like a pit bull to thwart a media elite that is hostile to those not in sync with their political views.
The unwarranted treatment of the governor and her family this past week is a classic example of how journalists allow their subjective personal views to influence so-called objective news coverage. This blatant and transparent interjection of bias into news coverage is precisely why most Americans no longer trust journalists.
A quick dissection of the current controversy demonstrates how far too many journalists are more than willing to use underhanded tactics when it suits their political agenda.
Within hours of the announcement that Sen. John McCain had selected Palin as his running mate, the Daily Kos web site (described on Google as a "Daily weblog with political analysis on U.S. current events from a liberal perspective") began publishing false reports that Bristol Palin was actually the mother of Gov. Palin's fifth child, a son with Down syndrome.
Using the Daily Kos' false reports as their justification, the national media badgered the McCain campaign into responding to the malicious smear. While denying the lies, the McCain campaign revealed that Bristol is five months pregnant and will marry the father of the unborn child.
Having used the vicious Daily Kos accusations as a pretense to inquire and report about the current pregnancy of Bristol, the media then proceeded to use Bristol's pregnancy to attack Gov. Palin's public policy support of abstinence as the preferred form of birth control for children. Additionally, when the McCain campaign complained about the media's scrutiny of Bristol's pregnancy, a number of reporters huffed with self-righteous indignation that it was the campaign that issued the press release about the pregnancy and therefore it was fair game - a putrid example of circular reasoning to support gutter journalism.
But what truly exposes the media's breathtakingly hypocritical treatment of Gov. Palin's family is the undeniable fact that the same journalists investigating her family's reproductive choices never uttered a word about former Sen. John Edwards' affair during his run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Edwards' affair was the dirty little secret of the Democratic primary and, having been documented by the National Enquirer, was known to all national political journalists. Yet, because the national political media didn't want to report that their golden boy, John Edwards, was cheating on his cancer-stricken wife, nary a word was reported by the establishment media about Edwards' lies and unfaithfulness. In fact, to this day, The New York Times and other so-called elite news organizations have barely acknowledged Edwards' infidelity.
In recent days, journalists are belatedly trying to cover their hypocrisy by claiming that the real issue is the McCain campaign's failure to properly vet Gov. Palin. The unspoken subtext of this charge is that had McCain known of Bristol's pregnancy, he would not have selected the governor as his running mate because - in the political view of these journalists - an out-of-wedlock pregnancy by the teen daughter of a pro-life politician who believes in teaching children about abstinence demonstrates that politician's political views are a failure.
Which brings us to the heart of the matter.
For many in the national political media, a far smaller circle than some readers may know, Edwards' affair with a campaign employee is a private matter not worthy of reporting because he is an accepted political insider and his behavior fits their political and moral views.
But, for those same media elite, a pro-life, pro-abstinence teaching female governor with five children - including a 17-year-old daughter who chose motherhood when confronted with an unplanned pregnancy - is the antithesis to their political views and must therefore be hounded like a pit bull.
But, this pit bull of a hockey mom wears lipstick and seems willing to fight the media elite.
To reach Rob Douglas, e-mail Rob.Douglas@Comcast.net