The labeling bias came straight from the very top of the New York Times lead National section story Monday. Richard Fausset reported under the condescending headlines, “A Race Pivots on Guns, Saws and Trucks – In Georgia’s heated G.O.P. runoff, two candidates for governor court voters on the far right.”
Fausset played up the controversies and heated rivalry in Georgia between Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, while a story by Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin on the emerging Democratic 2020 presidential choices was sedate and politely headlined: “Warren Is Warming Up for 2020. So Are Many Other Democrats.”
First, Fausset in Georgia:
It has become the “deplorables” moment of the Georgia governor’s race.
In a private conversation secretly recorded in May and made public on Monday, Casey Cagle, the Republican lieutenant governor, was captured criticizing the over-the-top tone of his party’s primary. He said that it had become focused on “who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck, and who could be the craziest.”
Now Mr. Cagle’s opponent in the July 24 Republican runoff for governor, Brian Kemp, is accusing Mr. Cagle of turning up his nose at the salt-of-the-earth Republican base -- much as President Trump did when, as a candidate, he criticized Hillary Clinton for using the phrase “basket of deplorables” to describe many of his supporters.
The drift to the right is being closely watched in Atlanta, the Southeast’s great commercial powerhouse, where business and civic leaders are loath to see expressions of prejudice that might exacerbate Southern stereotypes and affect bottom lines....
By contrast, the front-page story on Democrats was respectful to all involved and avoided controversies (like reminding readers of Sen. Warren’s “Pocahontas” controversy) and eschewed harsh labeling.
During a campaign-style tour of the West late last month, Senator Elizabeth Warren did not announce she was running for president. But in private events and public speeches, her message about 2020 was as clear as it was rousing.
In Salt Lake City, Ms. Warren urged Democrats to turn out in force for the midterm elections to build momentum for the next presidential race, and in Denver, she told a meeting of state legislators and trial lawyers that she wanted to be a tribune for lower-income Americans, according to people who attended the events. And in a speech to the Nevada Democratic Party in Reno, Ms. Warren said Democrats must do more than “drive Donald Trump and his enablers out of power.”
Even when talking about former VP Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the paper almost totally avoided the “liberal” label.
All five have been traveling the country, raising money for Democrats and gauging the appeal of their personalities and favorite themes. As a group, they are a strikingly heterogeneous array of rivals for Mr. Trump, embodying the Democratic Party’s options for defining itself: They are distinguished by gender and race, span three decades in age and traverse the ideological and tonal spectrum between combative Democratic socialism and consensus-minded incrementalism.
Interviews with about four dozen lawmakers, consultants and party leaders revealed a mood of emphatic uncertainty: Senior Democrats see their party in a historically volatile state, and they are wary of attempting another Clinton-style coronation. But many Democrats believe the party’s turn left, combined with the rising fury of progressive women and the grass-roots appetite for a political brawler, have created an especially inviting environment for Ms. Warren.
Give credit to the paper for accurately referring to Senator Sanders as a socialist (perhaps the shock victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who ran as a “democratic socialist,” is lowering journalistic aversion to the label). But if voters in Georgia are considered “far right” in Times-land, surely a “far left” would apply to four of the five possible presidential candidates discussed in this front-page story? Instead weasel words were offered, like “economic populist” and “progressive.”
The reporters finally issued a plain-old liberal label, in paragraph 27.
Mr. Booker, 49, has campaigned with a message of uplift, aiming to show that he can win over voters in red states as an African-American liberal from the Northeast....