AP: Inflammatory Comments Newsworthy from Robertson, Not from Julian Bond

February 3rd, 2006 4:34 PM
Consider two different public figures, with different backgrounds, and different organizations, and associated in the public mind with different political parties. Neither speaks for the party that the public associates them with, and both are relatively marginal public figures.

Pat Robertson is an evangelical preacher best known as the host of "The 700 Club." In 1988, he was one of the large group running for the Republican presidential nomination. He's a political conservative, associated in the public mind with the Republican party, and generally a marginal figure. The vast majority of Republicans do not consider Pat Robertson to speak for them.

Julian Bond is a former Democratic representative in Georgia and a long-time civil rights activist. He has been, for the past seven years, the chairman of the NAACP, the largest civil rights organization in the country, an organization that is overwhelmingly supportive of Democrats, an organization which virtually all Democratic public officials treat with great respect at all times.

When Pat Robertson advocated assassinating Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, that warranted an AP story. When Robertson commented on Ariel Sharon's stroke being a punishment for the Israeli peace process, it warranted another. When Robertson opens his mouth and makes stupid and/or offensive comments, the media reports it, and Republicans have to stand up and defend Robertson or distance themselves from him. There's generally a drumbeat in the media to force him to apologize.

But when the chairman of the NAACP, Julian Bond, stands in front of a universiry audience and equates the Republican Party to Nazis, calls the current and former Secretaries of State "tokens" and compares the President's judicial nominees to the Taliban, the AP doesn't deem that newsworthy. No one asks any Democratic officials about the comments. No has to stand up and defend Bond, no one has to distance themselves from him. No apologies are forthcoming, and none are requested/demanded.

Are Robertson's comments newsworthy? Are Bond's? Can one really warrant publicity without the other warranting similar publicity? If it's important for the news media to tell us when the host of "The 700 Club" says something dumb, wouldn't a truly unbiased media also note when the chairman of the NAACP does something similar?

I've said it before, I'll say it again - the AP is very good at what it does. It's just a shame that unbiased news reporting isn't it...

Lyflines - Lyford's other blog…