It would almost appear the press approaches actions by the two parties differently…
As we reported over the weekend, in the Texas legislature they were about to undertake the vote on their election integrity law and have it sent to Governor Greg Abbott’s office to be signed into law, but the Democrats turned petulant. In the chambers the party members all began to walk out, effectively grinding the process to a halt by denying a quorum and seeing the session end at midnight.
While this is a desperate effort to stall what is seen as an inevitable conclusion, what becomes notable is the media approach to such a tactic. At National Public Radio they described this maneuver — the effort to block what it describes in unbiased fashion as one of the most restrictive state voting laws in the country — as “dramatic,” stating how “the walkout handed the Republicans a rare defeat in the Texas Capitol.” Yahoo News described the move as “blocking a bill on voting that has been criticized as racially discriminatory.”
NBC News described things thusly: “Texas Democrats on Sunday night used every parliamentary tool at their disposal to effectively kill a bill that would add new restrictions to elections in the state, ultimately staging a walkout to prevent a vote from being held before a midnight deadline.”
In almost all of the reports, we see the same pattern; the passive, and occasionally enthusiastic description of the Democrats’ actions, and the harsh description of the voter integrity bill. What is notably absent in all the coverage is a lack of criticism of the party in the minority blocking the will of the people by preventing the legislation of the party in power. This is in direct conflict with the months spent by many in the media bemoaning the fact that the GOP has the ability to block progress on bills in the U.S. Senate, for instance, and their promotion of the idea there is a need to remove the filibuster to keep these stalling tactics from blocking Joe Biden’s agenda.
This is a stark departure in tone for a few reasons. It is blatantly rooted in the preference for one party, as the Democrats using this desperation tactic in Texas is a far cry from the use of a centuries-in-place voting procedure in Congress. Also being ignored is the Democrats’ move yesterday is blocking the will of a party far more in power than they are in Congress. As NPR describes the layout in Austin, Republicans “wield overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate.”
However, there seems little to be found in the way of the critiques we have heard about the GOP blocking bills in Congress, where there are the slimmest of advantages seen for the Democrats. The media has approached the current session as one where a completely neutered GOP is thwarting a national mandate for Joe Biden’s broad range plans when, in truth, the 2020 election constricted the advantage for the Democrats. Currently, including some vacancies, the House has the Dems sitting with just a four-seat advantage, while the Senate is a true 50/50 split. This is the opposite of an environment for the Dems to run the table with bills.
The press has brazenly revealed itself as backing one party, and this positional shift on its approach to oppositional practices exposes this bias. Note how in all of its coverage about the supposed vile nature of the filibuster we are never treated to the record of the Democrats’ use of this method last year. That party set a calendar record for the most times the filibuster was employed — ever. Democrats voted to filibuster over 320 times last year alone. Then suddenly one election has altered their relied-upon tool into a nefarious tactic immorally invoked by an evil minority to block the will of the people and threaten democracy in general.
And yet, when a state party that has almost zero influence resorts to desperation moves to block legislation the press has a completely different approach. Instantly, the problem lies with the legislation and it is a moral crusade to do anything needed to keep it from moving forward. It takes very little to see that the party involved is all that matters when the press arrives at its judgment of the methods used.