No Media Bias Here

For a textbook case, let’s dissect this story, from the San Francisco Chronicle. Start with the hed:

Democrat leads in bid to claim GOP House seat

Rep. Cunningham was convicted of taking bribes

Note that it’s a two parter. The first is about the election, the other is old news, but it never hurts to remind the readers that, you know, Republicans Are Corrupt. It’s that old “culture of corruption” thing (recall that this is Nancy Pelosi’s hometown rag).

Now while it’s true that the Democrat got more votes than anyone else in the race, it’s misleading, because it gives you no hint as to what will actually happen in the election in June, but you’d think from the headline that the Dem is the front runner. Here’s the real story, buried about halfway down:

Busby, a Cardiff school board member and daughter of an Italian sausagemaker, received 44 percent of the vote by spotlighting a proposed ethics policy that would bar lawmakers from secretly meeting, taking money or accepting gifts from lobbyists, “no exceptions.”

The Republican vote was divided among 14 GOP candidates, with Bilbray finishing with 15 percent of the vote, about 900 votes ahead of Roach, according to election-night figures.

Emphasis mine.

In other words, the one Democrat running in the race could only muster 44% of the vote. Unless she can somehow persuade seven percent of the district electorate (or at least of those voting in this election) that are Republicans to vote for her instead of the eventual Republican candidate, she doesn’t have a prayer of winning, despite the implication of the headline. That 44% is her max, unless they can somehow increase donkey turnout, and decrease Republican. But the readers of the Chron have to figure this out, because the paper is not only not going to tell them, it’s going to attempt to imply that she actually has a chance.

Of course, this kind of cocooning is exactly why the Dems continue to lose each election, and be chronically (pun intended) disappointed–they continue to overhype their chances to their base, both from the official party organization and from their accomplices in the newsrooms.