The media are treating President Barack Obama with kid gloves compared Republican nominee Mitt Romney, influential Republicans say. And they’re quite upset about it.
For example, The New York Times ran a page one story Sunday about Romney’s wife Ann devoting a lot of time and money to an exotic form of horseback riding. “The clear implication: the Romneys are silly rich, move in rarefied and exotic circles, and are perhaps a tad shady,” Politico reports.
Earlier in the week, by contrast, a story with new information about Obama’s heavy marijuana use in high school and college, revealed in a book by acclaimed biographer David Maraniss, merited only a news brief on page A15.
So it’s understandable that Republicans see a double standard. “The New York Times has given Obama the longest wet kiss in political history, and they have done him a favor again,” former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told Politico.
“The New York Times does a huge expose that Ann Romney rides horses. Well, so does my wife, and a few million other people. Watch out for equine performers!”
The unbalanced coverage matters, Politico points out. Many independent voters are just learning about the former Massachusetts governor. The negative portrayals could influence their views of him, even if there’s little substance in the reports. And it is independents who will decide the election.
Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to President George W. Bush, doesn’t think voters will pay much attention to the negative Romney stories. But he’s still perturbed about the unbalanced coverage.
“These stories are not unusual, except they were never done about then-Sen. Obama in 2008,” Fleischer told Politico. “The press never ran probing, sneering stories about candidate Obama, and yet The Washington Post and New York Times are on overtime covering who-cares stories about Mitt Romney.”
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