The State of the Media’s Double Standard

You’d have to be blind not to see the dangerous role of the media in shaping contemporary politics. My column at Real Clear Politics analyzes the biased response to State of the Union.


I’m sure everyone has heard enough about President Biden’s recent State of the Union address, certainly enough to know that the mainstream media thought it was admirable of Biden to scream at the top of his lungs that Republicans are detestable worms.

You also probably heard enough from the media to be certain that Sen. Katie Britt, who delivered the response to Biden, is a lying, detestable Republican worm. But as humorist Will Rogers noted, if all you know is what you read in the newspapers (or in updated form, what you see on cable news), then you are woefully misinformed.

Take the media’s coverage of Biden’s extemporaneous remarks about the murder of Laken Riley that were prompted by a challenge from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

First of all, Biden got Riley’s name wrong, twice calling her “Lincoln” Riley. That was embarrassing and drew attention to the cognitive issues Biden has exhibited throughout his first term. But somehow, the mainstream media glossed over that and quickly focused on an entirely manufactured “news” story that seemed intended to reassure Democrats that Biden wasn’t channeling Trump’s border rhetoric.

As everyone knows by now, Biden referred to the man arrested for Riley’s murder as an “illegal,” which angered members of the radical left “Squad,” who insisted that Jose Antonio Ibarra should properly be referred to as “undocumented.” This was just a silly moment of political correctness, as both words mean the same thing: Ibarra had no immigration documents because he was in the country illegally.

Yet the mainstream media went to great trouble to explain that Biden “regretted” using the word illegal. Chances are most of the Democrat-leaning reporters who cover the White House sympathized with the Squad and were happy to see Biden essentially apologizing for the word he used to describe the alleged murderer.

Much more importantly, the media’s attention on the linguistic sideshow meant that virtually no news outlet covered Biden’s truly offensive reference to Laken Riley’s murder in the State of the Union. Here’s exactly what he said.

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BIDEN: Lincoln – Lincoln  Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed.

GREENE: By an illegal!

BIDEN: By an illegal. That’s right. But how many of thousands of people are being killed by legals?

Do you see what he did there in that last line? He minimizes and devalues the murder of Riley by suggesting that her life is not important when compared to the “many… thousands” of murders committed by legal immigrants or other Americans. This is the latest, albeit incredibly awkward, manifestation of a Democratic Party talking point: The immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans. The social science on this is sketchy, and in any event, it begs the question of how many more violent crime victims exist because of the Democrats’ lenient criminal justice “reforms.”

Leaving that aside, Biden’s rejoinder was offensive for another reason. We simply don’t dismiss the brutal murder of one person by proclaiming that it is statistically irrelevant. Each precious human life has untold value to God, as it should to presidents, and Laken Riley, a vibrant nursing student beloved by her family and friends, would still be alive if Biden and his political party had not made it easy for Ibarra to be in the country illegally.

It was another story about the human toll of illegal immigration that caused outrage in the media about Britt’s response to the State of the Union.

If you were to listen to the talking heads, Britt’s speech was the worst act of political suicide since Alexander Hamilton agreed to a duel with Aaron Burr. It was certainly one in a long line of responses that brought humiliation on a well-intended speaker. Britt’s performance was cringeworthy as she tried to emote rather than orate her response, and she was effectively reduced to a caricature in a brilliant performance by Scarlett Johansson on “Saturday Night Live.”

If the media hacks had simply gone after Britt because of her awkward delivery of a speech that reads fine on paper, they would have met no opposition from me. But with their usual overreach and partisan slant, the finest minds in journalism instead attacked Britt for what they called her “misleading” anecdote of sexual abuse suffered by women who depend on the Mexican cartels to get them across the border.

The story itself is quite short:

“When I first took office… I traveled to the Del Rio sector of Texas, where I spoke to a woman who shared her story with me. She had been sex trafficked by the cartels starting at age 12. She told me not just that she was raped every day, but how many times a day she was raped. The cartels put her on a mattress in a shoebox of a room, and they sent men through that door, over and over again, for hours and hours on end. We wouldn’t be OK with this happening in a third-world country. This is the United States of America, and it’s past time we start acting like it.”

When the media discovered the identity of the victim who spoke to Britt, they claimed that Britt had tried to make it seem like President Biden’s policies were responsible for the woman’s abuse. But if any reporter could pass a simple reading comprehension test, he or she would see that Britt talked to a full-grown woman who revealed what had happened to her when she was 12. Since Britt talked to her sometime after her own election in 2023, and assuming that the woman was of the bare minimum adult age of 18, that would mean her abuse would have occurred no later than 2017, four years before Joe Biden took office.

In other words, there was no attempt by Britt to blame Biden for this woman’s plight. Instead, she was hoping to elicit heart-felt sympathy from her audience for the plight of young women who fall victim to sex trafficking as they make their way to the U.S. border.

Who could disagree with her? Only Democrats and media personalities who hate Republicans and Donald Trump. The fact that Trump was supposedly eyeing Britt as a potential vice presidential pick probably made her an irresistible target.

Now, to be clear, there was one implicit error in the story Britt told. The abuse that Britt recounted actually took place in Mexico, and Britt’s reference to a “third-world country” suggests she didn’t know that. If so, that’s on her. It should have been obvious that most, but not all, of the sex trafficking of women making their way north from Colombia takes place before they arrive in the United States. But that is no reason to try to deflect attention away from the truth of what Britt was saying about the dangers facing women who are enticed north by Biden’s open-border policy.

Instead of condemning the cartels, however, the legacy media went after Britt. When she responded by explaining that her anecdote was accurate, and that the timeline proved she never intended to claim Biden was responsible for the woman’s rapes, the media was ready with its all-purpose continuation of the smear. As NBC reported it, “Sen. Katie Britt attempts to clean up her misleading State of the Union response.” But it wasn’t misleading at all, and she wasn’t attempting to “clean up” anything; she was attempting to educate the Fake News Media. An impossible task.

So, if you want to know what the State of the Union is, you don’t have to look any further than the double standard the media used in reporting the speeches by Biden and Britt. As we enter the 2024 election season, we citizens must pledge to look beyond the biased headlines and treat the national media with the distrust they have richly earned. Remember, if all you know is what you read in the newspapers or saw on cable news, you are being played for a fool. Get the facts for yourself, and then make up your own mind.

About Heartland Diary USA

Heartland Diary is solely operated by Frank Miele, the retired editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Montana. If you enjoy reading these daily essays, I hope you will SUBSCRIBE to by leaving your email address on the home page. Also please consider purchasing one of my books. They are available through the following Amazon links. My new book is “What Matters Most: God, Country, Family and Friends” and is a collection of personal essays that transcend politics. My earlier books include “How We Got Here: The Left’s Assault on the Constitution,”  “The Media Matrix: What if everything you know is fake?” and the “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy. Part 1 is subtitled “Bush’s Global Failure: Half Right.” Part 2 is “Obama’s Fundamental Transformation: Far Left.” Part 3 is “Trump’s American Vision: Just Right.” As an Amazon Associate, I may earn referral fees for qualifying purchases through links on my website. 

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2 Replies to “The State of the Media’s Double Standard”

  1. A very good overview with specific examples of how biased the media is in our country. Just wonder where to get real news.

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