Double Standards: Sen. George Allen vs. Sen. John Edwards in the NYT

March 27th, 2006 2:16 PM

It’s a tale of two presidential campaigns on page A26 of Sunday’s New York Times. 

At the top of the page, Sheryl Gay Stolberg’s “Testing Presidential Waters As Race at Home Heats Up” follows Virginia Republican Sen. George Allen around the state in preparation to running for a second term -- and possibly for president in 2008.

The text box emphasizes Allen’s conservatism:

“A Republican faces the delicate task of tacking right without alienating his base.” Stolberg also references Allen’s “conservative voting record” and the fact that “Fiscal conservatives seem to like him, but social conservatives are uneasy.”

She also notes that 2006 “is looking up for Democrats” and that Allen’s “re-election bid just got tougher than he expected” when James Webb, a Navy secretary under Reagan, got into the Democratic primary.

Contrast that with Erik Eckholm’s report from Chapel Hill on a possible presidential candidate from the other side, Democratic Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina (“With a Eye on Politics, Edwards Makes Poverty His Cause”).

By contrast with the profile of the Republican Allen, there’s no reference to the former vice presidential candidate’s liberal voting pattern (a lifetime record of 10 out of a possible 100 in the American Conservative Union rankings). Edwards is never termed a liberal, even though Edwards is just as liberal as Sen. Allen is conservative.

Eckholm spoke to Edwards at a Chapel Hill “poverty conference” sponsored by a group founded by the senator, and the scholars quoted by the Times take a similarly liberal line on “safety nets” and rising costs.

The Times treats Edwards’ left-wing take on poverty with reverence:

“Now Mr. Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina and a presumed contender for his party's 2008 presidential nomination, has made curbing poverty the centerpiece of his work and his political approach. This is his true passion, he said in an interview, and he thinks that voters may be more responsive in the coming years, both because the middle class is becoming less secure and because of a shared sense of fairness.”

For more New York Times bias, visit TimesWatch.