Covering Roy Moore: Is it impossible for many reporters to write fairly about him?

Covering Roy Moore: Is it impossible for many reporters to write fairly about him?

I would like to be a fly on the wall in the U.S. Senate chambers if and when former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore takes office early next year. It’s been less than a week since he won the Republican primary and in deep-red-state Alabama, the winner of the GOP primary is basically the person who’s going to win the general election in November.

Maybe I shouldn’t be amazed at the scare tactic coverage that has popped up since Moore won, but tmatt was 100 percent prophetic when he called the ensuring coverage Handmaid’s Tale 2.0

Salon actually cited “The Handmaid’s Tale” in its Sunday piece on Moore.

I interviewed Moore years ago in Gadsden, Ala., and was struck by this man’s adherence not so much to the Bible (which he definitely holds dear) but to the Constitution. That’s what many reporters seem to not understand about this man. He is manic on obeying the letter of the law, so when he told the state probate judges in early 2016 to not issue marriage licenses to gay couples, his reasoning was because -- in his view of the laws in his state -- an Alabama court had to first rule on it. Agree with him or not, his stated reasons for what he does are legal as well as biblical. I other words, there are arguments here that need to be covered by journalists.

So, to allege, as Salon does, that Moore wants a theocracy, is untrue. Moore is not asking to bring back Old Testament law. He wants adherence to constitutional precepts. The fact some may align with what the Bible says is helpful, but not essential.

Roy Moore's victory in Alabama's Republican Senate primary is cause for widespread consternation, both within the GOP, which sees him as further evidence of widening divides within the party, and within the chattering classes more broadly, which don't know quite what to make of him. They can cite a litany of outrageous things Moore has said or done, but aside from unhelpfully calling him a “Christian conservative” or an “extremist,” they're at a loss as to what he's up to and why.
Frederick Clarkson, a senior fellow at Political Research Associates, who has written about Moore for more than a decade, put it bluntly: “Roy Moore is the most openly theocratic politician in national life,” he said in a press release from the Institute for Public Accuracy. “Moore favors criminalizing abortion and homosexuality. Like the nullificationists of the last century, Moore does not view the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal courts as binding on the states. Particularly if they conflict with his idiosyncratic view of what God requires.”

I wish journalists could see a different side of this man other than the monster-in-the-woods kind of guy. Here’s someone who actually has a sense of humor (he rode a horse to his polling place last Tuesday) so can we leave off portraying the guy as the next Adolf Hitler?

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Mike Pence will not meet alone with a woman, so the online left flips out?

Mike Pence will not meet alone with a woman, so the online left flips out?

When does a rather ordinary news profile turn into a mass-media panic?

Apparently, when it’s in a Washington Post feature about Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence.

I covered this two days ago in that finally -- after zillions of fawning pieces about Hillary and Michelle -- a major newspaper had profiled the Second Lady. I had no idea that one sentence in the story would create a Twitter mob scene. Part way down the story, a Post reporter mentioned that Mike Pence has a policy of never dining alone with a woman nor attending an event where alcohol is served without Karen by his side.

Ka-boom. The mockery began.

Social media went nuts, excoriating Pence for being such a Neanderthal and worse. There were references to sharia law, for example. BBC asked: “Are Mike Pence’s Dining Habits Chivalrous or Sexist?” Clara Jeffery, editor of Mother Jones, fired off at least 15 angry tweets on the topic during a period of high dudgeon on Wednesday afternoon. Naturally, The Onion weighed in had something so unprintable, I’m declining to link to it. Guess I get tired of media slinging the F-bomb around like it’s candy from a parade. That was pretty common during this Twitter tsunami.

The comments cascaded to a point that the Post did two pieces solely on reaction to the article. Gotta make click-bait hay while the digital sun shines. 

Here's the original Tweet:


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