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Bridging the Scandal Gap

So many scandals are currently afoot it has become hard to keep up. The big one seems to be the manufactured traffic jam that occurred a while back in New Jersey, judging by the media coverage, but we hope the public will find some time for the others.
The New Jersey traffic jam is a big deal, of course. We’re frustrated enough with the relatively light traffic here in Wichita that we can readily sympathize with the poor New Jerseyite souls who had to endure hours of inching across a single lane of the George Washington Bridge in order to get to their jobs in New York City, and we can’t blame them for being outraged that e-mail and text messages seem to have proved it was caused an aide to the New Jersey governor who was highly placed enough to order the lane closings as retribution for a mayor’s refusal to endorse the governor’s re-election campaign. This is not only an outrageous abuse of power that inconvenienced many thousands of innocent people, it predictably endangered the lives of people needing emergency medical treatment, violated the law and every standard of democratic behavior, and has rightly provoked severe criticism of the governor.
Even so, the attention being paid to matter seems inordinate to some of the other scandals. The good folks at newsbusters.org, for instance, have found that in just the past 24 hours the three traditional over-the-air networks have spent more airtime on the traffic jam than they have spent in the past six months on the Internal Revenue Service’s harassment of the president’s political opponents. Dedicated news-followers might vaguely recall the IRS scandal, which involved a president rather than a governor, a political movement comprised of millions of Americans rather than the hapless commuters of a New Jersey city, and a systematic attempt to stifle the free speech rights of a significant portion of the country rather than a ridiculously petty vendetta against a mayor. The governor in question has fired the people responsible for the scandal and forthrightly accepted responsibility for hiring them, whereas nobody has suffered any consequences for the IRS misconduct and the president ultimately responsible the agency continues to dismiss it as a “phony scandal.”
Forgive our right-wing cynicism, but we can’t help suspecting that the difference in the media coverage has something to do with the governor being a Republican and the president a Democrat.
That the Republican is widely considered a contender for his party’s presidential nomination probably has something to do with it as well. From our prairie perspective it has always been hard to envision Gov. Chris Christie as the Republican nominee, given his intolerance of gun rights, tolerance of radical Islamism, post-hurricane embrace of Obama, and various other northeastern heresies against the one true Republican faith, but the east coast media take the idea quite seriously. Christie initially appalled the east coast media and impressed heartland conservatives by confronting the public sector unions and cutting his state’s budget, although his efforts paled in comparison to what our Kansas governor has gleefully done in this right-to-work state, but has since charmed the reporters to approximately the same extent he has alienated his fellow Republicans in the rest of the country. Some polls show him as his party’s best chance of beating Hillary Clinton, however, so the media are bound to seize the opportunity of an actual scandal to bring him down. Just as Sen. John McCain learned back in ’08, being the Democratic media’s favorite Republican doesn’t mean you’re not a Republican.
That the Democrat implicated in the IRS scandal is Barack Obama also makes a difference. Affiliation with a racialist religious cult, the Fast and Furious gun-running operation, politically-motivated subsidies for the soon-to-be-bankrupt Solyndra scam, the deaths of four Americans at the unprotected consulate in Benghazi, and countless other scandals that would have dominated the front pages even during a typical Democratic administration, have all been happily downplayed by the media, lest the historic presidency of the media’s anointed messiah be tarnished. After a brief surge of publicity that lasted about as long as the fiction that it was all the work of a few low-level government workers in Cleveland, the IRS scandal has received little coverage. Even the announcement that the investigator officially appointed to get to the bottom of it all is an Obama contributor, a scandal within a scandal has been largely overlooked in all rush to the George Washington Bridge.
There are plenty of other scandals, too, from the Justice Department’s demand that schools discipline students in accordance with racial quotas to the administration’s appointment of a cop-killer’s advocate to a key a civil rights post. Most of them don’t involve a Republican, though, much less a Republican that is perceived as a threat to Hillary Clinton’s historic continuation of the current administration, so there won’t be much airtime or news hole to paid heed.

— Bud Norman

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