On his own website, liberal Rep. Ed Markey boasts he “continues to be one public broadcasting’s most ardent supporters, fighting to fight to protect one of our most precious landmarks on the entire media landscape.”
So it wasn’t surprising when NPR reporter Tovia Smith filed a sympathetic story on Friday’s Morning Edition whacking away at Markey’s Republican opponent in the special election to replace Sen. John Kerry. She tilted the story toward Democrats who called Gabriel Gomez “immature” and using language that “has no place in public life.” He called Markey "pond scum."
Gomez used the words “pond scum” after a Markey online ad put an image of Gomez next to an image of Osama bin Laden. Smith did NOT explain to listeners she was the reporter who goaded him into that comment:
SMITH: A new Gomez ad blasts two spots from Markey. In one, Markey criticizes Gomez on gun control.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1 IN AD: And Gomez is against banning high-capacity magazines like the ones used in the Newtown school shooting.
SMITH: In the other, Markey pans Gomez for accusing President Obama of politicizing Osama bin Laden's death. That ad shows Gomez and bin Laden on the same screen, which prompted the response ad from Gomez.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2 IN AD: And comparing him to bin Laden? Now Markey actually blames Gomez for the Newtown shooting. Disgusting. Thirty-seven years in Congress. Dirty Ed Markey.
MICHAEL GOLDMAN: That's not dirty. What ads are they talking about?
SMITH: Democratic consultant Michael Goldman is one of many now saying it's Gomez whose ads are misleading.
GOLDMAN: In desperation he's just trying to generate anything that's going to catch people's attention.
SMITH: But Gomez has not backed down. Indeed, the former Navy SEAL yesterday jacked it up even further.
GABRIEL GOMEZ: Ed Markey is dirty Ed Markey. For him to be as dirty and low - pond scum, to like put me up to next to bin Laden, he's just got to be called what he is.
GOLDMAN: That kind of language has no place in public life. It's really sad. He is basically lowering the level of discussion here.
SMITH: Ed Markey called the pond scum reference unfortunate. Tufts University Professor Jeffrey Berry agrees that Gomez may have hurt himself more than Markey.
JEFFREY BERRY: We expect a rough and tumble campaign, but Gomez has crossed the line. The language is inappropriate and it makes him look immature.
Berry has a book coming out slamming conservative talk radio, and naturally, defends NPR against the charges of a liberal bias in his work: "Dispassionate observers would surely reject the idea that NPR reports from a liberal point of view, while conservatives consistently deride NPR as biased and part of the 'lamestream media.' Consequently,NPR surely finds that liberals and moderates are more interested in its programming." They like it not because it defends Ed Markey staunchly, like it was on the Markey payroll -- and wait, it sort of is, in a socialist way -- but because it's unfairly accused of liberal bias.
Gomez is trying hard to fit the blue state, with pro-gay marriage and pro-amnesty positions, but Tovia Smith found Kenny Jaffe (this Kenny?), an “independent who leans Democratic” – you know, like most reporters – to find Gomez politically repulsive:
SMITH: About 20 people showed up at a Gomez campaign event yesterday, including Kenny Jaffe, a registered independent who leans Democratic but also voted for Scott Brown.
KENNY JAFFE: As much as I like Ed Markey and I know him, I want change in Washington. So I'm looking for somebody like you.
SMITH: Jaffe went on to ask about gun control, and Gomez repeated that he supports expanding background checks to close the gun show loophole but opposes a federal ban on assault weapons. Afterward, Jaffe called that a deal-breaker.
JAFFE: You know, war weapons sold in Wal-Marts? As long as he continues that stance, I will never -- oh no, my gosh.
The story ended with Republican John Civolella, who laments Gomez isn’t getting more national GOP support, which allows Smith to dismiss his chances at the end: “Some see it as a sign the GOP doesn't believe Gomez can pull off another Scott Brown surprise. Indeed, even a former Navy SEAL would have a hard time pulling off a repeat of a sneak attack.”
Scott Brown’s campaign was a very public campaign – not a sneak attack. The only thing “sneaky” about it is that liberals like Tovia Smith never expected him to win in deep-blue Massachusetts.