So here's the "logic" Michelle Price at the Associated Press relayed from Democratic circles in Utah in her Tuesday report on eight-term Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson's decision to leave Congress: He would have had a tough time defeating Mia Love in next year's congressional race rematch, but he's now in a better position to take on an incumbent Republican in a 2016 statewide race — either U.S. Senator Mike Lee or Governor Gary Herbert.
Price either chose not to find or couldn't find a Republican to comment on Matheson's statewide prospects, nor could she locate anyone close to Matheson to comment on whether or not the congressman even has any statewide ambitions. Thus, she spent several paragraphs on mere speculation. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
As even the casual reader of NewsBusters is well aware, the MSNBC cable news network is forever on the lookout for racially-tinged "code words" in Republican speeches and "dog whistle" ads by GOP super PACs against Democrats. But the network's keen sense of outrage is conspicuously absent when it comes to attacks by Democratic groups against Mia Love, the African-American Republican Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, who is challenging long-time liberal -- he boasts a lifetime American Conservative Union score of 38.61 out of a possible 100 -- Rep. Jim Matheson (D).
Michael Warren of the Weekly Standard reported on Sept. 28 about a Utah State Democratic Committee mailer than seems to have darkened Love's skin tone. Warren also linked to a Blue Dog Democrat-linked Super PAC ad that falsely charged that Love's record is summed up in the words "skyrocketing crime" [video embedded below page break].
Wednesday's Today show on NBC ran a four and a half minute piece profiling Saratoga Springs, Utah, Mayor, and congressional candidate Mia Love, who has a very good chance of being the first black female Republican elected to Congress.
Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) broke party lines on Tuesday and announced that he will vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Matheson is the first Democrat to come out and publicly condemn Holder. Neither ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's This Morning, nor NBC's Today noted the development today.
The count of prominent Democratic Party politicians who have decided not to attend the Democratic Party's convention in Charlotte, thereby attempting to avoid direct association with the formal renomination of incumbent President Barack Obama, is up to seven. Press coverage has been sparse. One can only imagine how much media end-zone dancing there would have been in 2004 had one governor, one senator and five congresspersons chosen not to attend the Republican National Convention to renominate George W. Bush.
On Thursday, the Hill had the story about the latest declared non-attendee, who admittedly is the least surprising addition to list (internal links are in original):
Yesterday on "The Fix", a politics blog of the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake wrote "Five Members to watch in the House debt ceiling vote." One of the five is Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT). He's described as a potential "yes" vote for Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) debt ceiling bill:
Matheson, a Democrat, has managed to keep his Republican-leaning Utah seat by voting very conservatively since being elected in 2000.
So let's see what The Fix considers voting not just conservatively, but very conservatively. Project Vote Smart collects ratings given by a wide variety of special-interest organizations. Matheson's record shows that for 2010 the American Conservative Union gave him a grade of 17 percent. The National Taxpayers Union assigned him a 39 percent and Citizens Against Government Waste awarded him an 11 percent. He did substantially better with the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, which gave him an 80 percent rating. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People determined he voted in their interests 75 percent of the time for the period 2009-2010, and the American Civil Liberties Union rated him at 56 percent for the same period.
Liberals in the media frequently paint conservatives and Tea Party activists as pushing the GOP too far to the right to be electable in general elections. But the same complaint isn't repeated on an endless loop when it comes to leftist activists challenging more centrist Democratic incumbents in primary contests.
In fact, in some of those occasions, the media find a way to cast aspersions on Republicans.
Take, for instance, a June 22 story on Newsweek.com, the headline for which posed the question, "Will Utah Republicans Play Dirty Today?" Writer McKay Coppins explained how one Republican state lawmaker had suggested that the party faithful in the state's 2nd Congressional District should take advantage of the Democrats' open primary system to cast votes for Claudia Wright, a liberal insurgent challenging Rep. Jim Matheson (D), rather than weighing in on the GOP primary contest.
Although he noted that historically such tactical voting hasn't been successful and that state Republican officials have officially "denounced the plan," Coppins explained that the local media have become fixated on the notion and at least one radio host has described the crossover voting idea as "sleazy":