Conservatives have long complained that members of the mainstream media hold Democrats and Republicans to a grossly different standard. This week, one high-profile journalist admitted that those complaints are well-founded.
Fox News reported that Los Angeles Times columnist Jackie Calmes made the admission during an appearance with CNN host Brian Stelter on Sunday.
“Back to normal”
Stelter referenced a column that Calmes recently wrote, saying, “I want to dive right into your argument about what both-siderism is and why it’s failing the public.”
“Is it that we’re treating Democrats and Republicans equally and ignoring GOP radicalism, is that the heart of the problem?” Stelter asked.
“There’s no question that journalists are recognizing the radicalization of the Republican Party,” Calmes acknowledged. However, she added, “I think what’s changed a little bit is that, since Trump left office there is more of a sense that maybe we’re back to normal.”
In fact, Calmes suggested that the problems she and others on the left associate with Republicans began far before Donald Trump took the White House in 2016.
It goes back further
“I think I’m a very fair reporter and give both sides of the story, but what started to happen back in the mid-’90s with the takeover of the House by House Republicans – and in particular Newt Gingrich – was a new, nasty,” Calmes argued.
“I mean, his byword was ‘be nasty’ and norm-busting and obstructionist sort of governance,” Calmes alleged. “Well, you couldn’t really call it governance that sort of was a precursor for Trump.”
According to Calmes, reporters once took the position of, “If you say, ‘Well, you’ve reported something that’s somewhat critical of Republicans,’ then you sort of have to say, ‘Well both sides do it, Democrats are guilty as well.’”
“It was asymmetric”
“And for years, that was sort of simplistically, I was able to do that and everyone else was able to do that. But by increasingly from 1995 on, no, it was asymmetric, as the political scientists call it, and it was more descriptive of Republicans than Democrats.”
Fox News noted that Calmes’ column received widespread praise from many on the left for its open call to treat Republicans and Democrats differently.
“Democrats can’t be expected to deal with these guys like they’re on the level,” she wrote. “Nor should journalists cover them as if they are.”