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Democrats have it good. They know that they can do things that if done by Republicans would cause media outlets to lose their minds. Democrats know that the media will run cover for them in the same situations.
The latest example comes from The New York Times, which keeps changing its headline regarding Democrats in the Senate voting against a stimulus package that would provide checks to Americans to help mitigate the effects of the coronavirus quarantine, which has shut down businesses and cost people their paychecks.
The original headline for the article read: “Democrats Block Action on $1.8 Trillion Stimulus.” Right-leaning people would notice that this is how the Times would have titled the article had Republicans blocked a Democrat bill, though it probably would have gone further to describe the bill as helping families during the coronavirus.
The Times, however, changed the headline to read, “Democrats Block Action on Stimulus Plan, Seeking Worker Protections,” which adds a vague qualifier meant to make it look like Democrats were not simply acting with partisan bitterness – a qualifier Republicans rarely get from left-leaning media outlets.
For example, just one week ago, media outlets in their headlines blamed Republicans for blocking a coronavirus relief bill. NBC News, for example, ran with the headline, “House sends coronavirus relief bill to Senate after delay by Rep. Gohmert.” Why did Gohmert delay the bill? Because he wanted to read the technical corrections made to the bill over the weekend. Yet the wording from the media made it sound like this was a bad thing.
Back in May 2019, a Washington Post headline read, “House Republicans block $19.1 billion nationwide disaster aid bill for third time.” The reason Republicans held up the bill is that they wanted to debate it rather than passing it by voice vote. The bill would have provided billions of dollars in disaster relief to areas hit by hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires. Republicans wanted to make sure the relief was being spent correctly, but you wouldn’t know that from the headlines.
The Times appears to have changed the headline regarding the coronavirus stimulus bill a second time to read: “Partisan Divide Threatens Deal on Rescue Bill,” a headline that does not note that it is Democrats who are creating the divide. The headline at the time of this writing reads, “Emergency Economic Rescue Plan in Limbo as Democrats Block Action.” The dek of the article explains that Democrats blocked the relief bill because they were “seeking stronger protections for workers and stricter rules for bailed-out businesses.”
The Times has a coronavirus outbreak vertical that collects their reporting on the virus, and a headline regarding the relief bill on that page still reads, “Senate Democrats block action on a trillion-dollar stimulus plan.”
Left-leaning media outlets have been caught changing headlines in the past in ways that irritate conservatives. For example, in October 2019, The Washington Post infamously changed its headline regarding a terrorist leader’s death from “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Islamic State’s ‘terrorist-in-chief,’ dies at 48,” to “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48.”
After a backlash, the Post again changed the headline to read: “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, extremist leader of Islamic State, dies at 48.”