Did a political columnist for the morning newspaper just accuse his own publication of political bias?
Columnist Victor Joecks noted that the media jumped all over an obscure Nye County commissioner disendorsing Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt for failing to endorse the Republican primary winner in Assembly District 36, brothel owner Dennis Hof who has been accused of sexual harassment, but totally ignored a press release two weeks ago from Republican Sen. Dean Heller accusing Democratic primary senatorial nominee Jacky Rosen of resume enhancement.
In fact, the same day’s paper carried a lengthy story about the commissioner’s disendorsement of Laxalt along with quotes from Hof about how the move might hurt Laxalt in Nye County and a prepared statement by Laxalt stating, “Adam respects the will of the voters in District 36, however, as a husband and a father of two young daughters, he has stated that he will not be supporting Mr. Hof’s campaign.”
The story also quoted a Democratic Party spokeswoman accusing Laxalt of being two-faced on the topic by being silent about political supporters accused of sexual misdeeds — including a rural sheriff and former casino executive Steve Wynn.
The story did not quote any of the usual university professorial suspects as to whether Laxalt’s stance might help or hurt him or be of no consequence.
Heller’s press release noted that Rosen was quoted by the morning newspaper in 2016 as saying she couldn’t get a degree in computer science from the University of Minnesota because it didn’t exist when she graduated:
She fell in love with the emerging field of computer sciences. The field “just clicked” with her, Rosen said. But back in the 1970s, those degrees weren’t widely available, so she graduated with a degree in psychology while spending most of her free time in the school’s math lab honing her computer skills.
But the Heller press release noted that a story in The Atlantic in January said Rosen had a degree in computer science. The story was corrected online on the same day as Heller’s press release was issued.
Joecks also noted that Rosen told CSPAN3 a year ago she had a degree in computer science. He went on to note that several people’s political ambitions have been crushed when they were caught fudging their resumes.
So why the disparity in coverage between Hof and Rosen? On the merits, it’s baffling. That’s what makes you start thinking about alternative explanations. In a 2013 national survey, just 7 percent of reporters self-identified as Republican. If Heller wins his election, Democrats have no chance of regaining control of the Senate.
Sometimes media bias is blatant. But often, it’s more subtle, like the media passing on telling you about Rosen’s résumé lie that could end her political career.
The owner of the morning newspaper may be a big Republican backer, but what about those in the trenches?