Differing Style Guides Depending on Party


While I’m in the mode of critiquing the news media’s use of language, here’s an interesting compare and contrast exercise.  Here’s a headline and lede as exhibit number 1:

R.I. farmers push back on new federal food-safety rules

Obama-era federal regulations designed to prevent contamination of the food supply take effect this year, prompting complaints from the state’s farmers, who say the extra testing, record-keeping and bureaucracy will eat into their already thin profits.

Here, the Providence Journal is reporting a controversy objectively.  That farmers are pushing back is a statement of fact.  We have an accurate assignment of the regulations in time and, passively, administration, with “Obama-era.”  The lede immediately gives the good intentions of the regulations, which were “designed to prevent contamination.”  In short, you’ve got good intentions meeting legitimate concern… the perfect candidate for some more financial handouts and maybe a little compromise.

Now turn to exhibit number 2, headline and first paragraph (because there is no lede):

GOP’s health care bills threaten huge disruptions across the system

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans, who for years blasted the Affordable Care Act for disrupting Americans’ health care, are now pushing changes that threaten to not only strip health coverage from millions, but also upend insurance markets, cripple state budgets and drive medical clinics and hospitals to the breaking point.

Note, especially, the absence of any good intentions.  There’s no, “Congressional Republicans’ reforms, designed to prevent the collapse of ObamaCare and restore Americans’ rights and market incentives.”  Instead, the bills “threaten huge disruptions,” exactly the thing for which the hypocrites in that suspect Red-State party “blasted” ObamaCare for doing.

Taking away the legal mandate to buy insurance isn’t passively allowing Americans to be independent actors, but actively “strips” their health coverage.  Making changes to a system that is driving insurers out of exchanges will “upend insurance markets.”  And let’s be sure to get in the phrases “cripple” and “breaking point,” just in case any unbalanced potential assassin hasn’t gotten the message that the GOP is out to kill people for no good reason.

Oh, and throw in photos of Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calling the legislation “Mean” with a big red poster, of a dour man expressing the paper’s editorial view (we can be sure) by holding up a sign asserting that “healthcare is a right,” and of a cute girl with a heart-covered hand-drawn sign call for “healthcare for all.”

So, when it’s one party’s policies causing disruption, we get actual reporting.  When it’s the other party’s policies, we get unabashed advocacy.