Remember back in 2017 when the media called the late Senator John McCain a traitor for voting against his party’s own American Healthcare Act?
No? Yes, we don’t.
TV journalists always seem eager to praise any Republican Senator who’s willing to break party lines and vote against his or her own caucus. Strangely enough, the same talk heads have little to no contempt for Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten sinema (D–AZ), for not voting to end filibuster and following their lead.
When a Republican breaks ranks, the media call that “voting his conscience.” When Democrats do it, the same media accuse them of acting in “bad faith.”
Consider how the media treats Republican and Democratic Senators that vote against the will of their party members.
When Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) voted to convict President Trump during the February 2020 impeachment trial, CNN’s John Avlon heaped saccharine praise on Romney:
We just heard a real profile of courage in that speech. That was the sound of a man who’d wrestled with his conscience, who tried to think bigger than partisan politics…
NBC Nightly News praised the Senator for “voting his conscience,” and political director Chuck Todd declared him “the president of the Republican resistance to Donald Trump.”
In 2018, the former-Senator Jeff Flake was similarly praised for delaying confirmation voting for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. “He talks a lot about the need to put conscience over party and principle over partisan loyalty,” gushed AtlanticMcKay Coppins is the writer CNN Newsroom.
The Senators are now separating from the rest of the party and they are Democrats. This means that even the establishment media cannot suppress their disgust.
On the December 21, 2021 edition of MSNBC’s ReidOut, host Joy Reid declared Senator Manchin the recipient of her esteemed “absolute worst” award, “for his bad faith, fake negotiating, and obstruction of a bill that would truly help his constituents.” A few weeks later on that same show, Mother Jones reporter Ari Berman whined: “Kyrsten Sinema didn’t just disrespect Joe Biden, she disrespected American Democracy.”
However, it worked!The View co-host Joy Behar who most succinctly summed up the press’s gripe with Manchin and Sinema: “Why do they call themselves Democrats when they refuse to do what the party leader wants them to do?”
To the American media, anyone who dares hamper the Democratic agenda is a bad actor, while those who stymie Republicans’ legislative goals are brave and heroic. Sure, it’s a double standard, but at least they’re being consistent about what they want.