Media choice: Use 'Biden Standard' or 'Trump Standard'?

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
 | 
Jody Brown, Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

Joe Biden & Donald TrumpMedia bias is often found in the small things – and the latest example is the way the media reports on President Donald Trump as opposed to Democrat Joe Biden, who could possibly be the president's opponent in the 2020 election.

At the beginning of 2017, before Donald Trump had even taken office, the infamous "Steele dossier" made its first appearance on news channels, being described as "unverified" or "not yet proved." In specific examples, CNN's Christine Romans and Watergate alum Bob Woodward described the dossier in these terms:

Romans: "…with wild, unconfirmed accusations…

Woodward: "…did not go into the unsubstantiated detail…"

In contrast, over the last couple of months media outlets have begrudgingly mentioned Republican claims that Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden, was on the board of an allegedly corrupt Ukrainian energy company. Here is MSNBC's David Gura, quoting Adam Entous of the New Yorker…

Entous (as quoted by Gura): "…promoting, without evidence, the dubious narrative…"

RealClearInvestigations has documented multiple instances of the press using "unverified" or "unconfirmed" about Trump charges – as if one is simply waiting for verification or confirmation – and multiple instances of the mainstream media using "without evidence" or similar terms to refer to Biden charges. "Call it the Trump Standard," writes RCI's Eric Felten.

As for the "new norm" in labeling assertions against the Bidens as "without evidence" or supported by "no evidence," Felten says that's "the Biden Standard."

Irvine

Don Irvine of Accuracy in Media has been tracking mainstream media bias for decades – and he says it's gotten out of hand.

"[The media says] I must now convince the readers or, on television, the viewers that Trump or the Republicans or conservatives are evil, [they are] the devil incarnate here."

And it's because "they can't find anything really substantive," according to Irvine. "And they can't figure out how the Democrats are going to win the White House in 2020 because there's just nothing there. Their candidates are terrible."

Quality of candidates aside, RCI's Felten argues it's just as important for media outlets to distinguish true from false allegations about Hunter Biden as it is to do for Donald Trump.

"That means thinking seriously about what counts as evidence and how to test for counterfeit claims," he writes. "Most important, it means applying those standards equally."

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