One favorite pastime of the national media is mocking President Trump’s tweets as gauche or inappropriate (and some of them are, like trolling Joe Scarborough about an aide’s death many years ago). The people who make the Politico Playbook newsletter played this game on Memorial Day with the president, suggesting all of his Monday tweets should have been respectful tributes to our war dead.
Politico contrasted Trump tweeting about Obamagate and “Make America Great Again” with our apparently more patriotic newspapers. Let’s call this bias by headline selection.
Let’s just start with the Los Angeles Times. Yes they have a headline under a photo about “Remembering the Fallen,” but on either side of it are more everyday headlines.
To the left, it’s News Lite: “It’s otter chaos as critters move in: Amid Singapore’s shutdown, they splash in luxury pools and eat spa’s fancy pet fish.”
To the right, it’s Obamacare Bias: “Virus widens health divide in U.S.: Many in red states that resisted Medicaid expansion lack a safety net as they lose jobs — and coverage.”
The Playbook team liked that Obamacare story so much they summarized it lower in their report:
— L.A. TIMES’ NOAM LEVEY in Bakersfield: “Coronavirus widens healthcare divide between red states and blue states”: “Regional differences have long been a hallmark of American healthcare. But the gap between blue and red states has yawned wider in the 10 years of political battles that followed passage of the 2010 health law, often called Obamacare. Now, the coronavirus crisis threatens to widen disparities further as tens of millions of Americans lose jobs and health coverage.”
The Columbus Dispatch also matches the classic Memorial Day photo with more everyday stories, including “Pandemic amplifies problems at [nursing] homes” and “[Governor] DeWine decries partisan divide over masks.”
Is it really fair to expect that a president or a newspaper can only discuss one subject on Memorial Day?