Double Standards, Defined

I’ve had it with the double standards. I’ve had it with the media bias. No matter who wins on Tuesday, I’ve learned one thing during this election cycle. The American people are no smarter today than they were 4, 8, 12, or even 16 years ago.

For years now, the media has had a field day filling our minds with information they want us to believe. Instead of reporting the news and leaving the facts open to interpretation by the viewers (or readers), many news organizations spend countless hours with their “contributors” advising us on how we should feel, what we should know, and most of all, what we should think.

Has our society become so mindless that we need these “contributors” to explain what’s going on in the world, sometimes for hours on end? Whatever happened to picking up the newspaper and simply reading the news? Whatever happened to the evening news reporting just that? It’s a rare occasion today to get any type of unbiased report from the media, and what about those double standards? What exactly is a “double standard“?

any code or set of principles containing different provisions for one group of people than for another, esp. an unwritten code of sexual behavior permitting men more freedom than women.

Let’s look at a few examples.

When Sam Wurzelbacher, aka Joe The Plumber, asked Barack Obama about his tax plan, Ohio state and law-enforcement computers were used to access information about Sam. That information was leaked to the media and, as the sharks they are, they had a feeding frenzy with Sam. The access was a complete invasion of privacy against Mr. Wurzelbacher, yet while local officials promised to investigate the “access”, not much else has come of it. The media, and the Obama campaign, has ignored the fact that someone attempted to throw this man to the sharks, and it worked.

It turns out one of those officials who accessed Sam’s information was an Obama donor, and another one was doing a reporter a favor. Still, nothing about the clear violation of his privacy or the way he was treated in the media.

Two days ago, reports began to surface that Barack Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, was living in public housing in Boston. She confirmed that she is indeed Mr. Obama’s aunt, but she won’t answer any more questions until after November 4th. Media outlets immediately reported that she is his aunt on his father’s side, that he wrote about her in his memoir, and that she has been living in America for about five years.

Then more news surfaced. The Associated Press learned that Ms. Onyango was ordered to leave the country four years ago, when her request for asylum was denied. That did it. The media snapped again, but this time in the opposite direction. Most outlets have kept their talk of this news to a minimum, and now Democratic Rep. John Conyers is calling for a federal investigation on how this information was leaked to the press. He is questioning whether anyone revealed the information to damage Barack Obama.

What about Joe The Plumber? Why does the news about Zeituni Onyango’s situation rate any higher than Sam Wurzelbacher’s private life? Why is the possible leak of her information any more criminal than the unauthorized access into Sam’s personal records? If you needed a crystal clear example of a double standard, you’ve got one now. But I’m not finished yet.

On October 30th, two men in Lexington, Kentucky were arrested for hanging an effigy of Senator Barack Obama from a tree on the campus of the University of Kentucky. The two men were arrested the very next day on charges of disorderly conduct, burglary, and theft by unlawful taking. The burglary and theft charges stemmed from the fact they removed items from a fraternity house and I can only presume the disorderly conduct charge was related to actually hanging the effigy.

Acting police chief Joe Monroe stated, “this was a serious incident. It caused a lot of wounds to be opened from racial tension” and that both men have “expressed remorse for a stunt that had gotten out of hand.”

Earlier last week, an effigy of Sarah Palin was spotted hanging from the roof of a home in West Hollywood, California. It stayed there for days. The homeowner was not charged with disorderly conduct for hanging the effigy. The homeowner was not forced to remove the effigy from his Halloween display.

In fact, West Hollywood spokeswoman Helen Goss said, “People have First Amendment rights (to free speech),” Goss said. “I would speculate that if it’s part of a Halloween display then its political satire.” She also stated that the homeowner did not violate any municipal code therefore they had no reason to cite them.

In an interview the homeowner, Chad Michael Morisette, said, “The image of a hanged black man is a lot more intense than the image of a hanged white woman for our country, the history of our country.”

He’s right. The image of a hanged black man is very intense for most people in our country. I think hanging anyone in effigy, whether black or white, is disgusting, but when are we going to allow that line between white and black to fade away on it’s own? When will people be allowed to display “political satire” irregardless if the person is white or black?

I couldn’t begin to think what a black person feels when they see something like that, just like I can’t begin to imagine what it was like for women who were accused of being witches and whatnot many years ago. But when do we let it go? When will acts toward anyone be considered on the same level? When will a crime be a crime, no matter who the victim is? When will we allow ourselves to let go of the crutch of racism?

Does hanging an effigy of Barack Obama imply one is racist? Does hanging an effigy of Sarah Palin imply you are sexist? If so, then hanging an effigy of President Bush makes you a traitor, right? When are we, as a society, going to learn that the only way to defeat racism is to stop holding one person to a standard which we intend to completely ignore for another? Unfortunately, the perception of racism is the greatest example of a double standard in our society today.