The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS -

Ever won­der why Repub­li­cans al­ways ap­pear to be the vil­lains on Capi­tol Hill? Easy. They have been cast in the role by the news me­dia. As the GOP read­ies to over­haul Oba­macare or con­front a pos­si­ble govern­ment shut­down, con­sider that broad­cast­ers me­thod­i­cally por­tray the GOP — par­tic­u­larly such leg­isla­tive en­ti­ties as the House Free­dom Cau­cus — in the role of vil­lains or ex­trem­ists. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive new study of 141 news sto­ries on the health care de­bate re­veals that ABC, CBS, NBC did much to ad­vance the pub­lic’s im­pres­sion that Repub­li­cans are trou­ble­mak­ers.

“In 30 days of health care de­bate cov­er­age — March 7 through April 5 — the broad­cast net­works con­sis­tently framed it as a fight be­tween un­rea­son­able con­ser­va­tives ver­sus more mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans and Se­nate Democrats by over­whelm­ingly ap­ply­ing ide­o­log­i­cal la­bels to one side of the ar­gu­ment,” writes Ge­of­frey Dick­ens, an an­a­lyst for News­

“Over­whelm­ingly, the net­works used con­ser­va­tive tags to talk about Repub­li­cans. Fully 80 per­cent of these la­bels talked about con­ser­va­tives or those on the ‘right.’ Just 20 per­cent re­ferred to ‘mod­er­ate’ Repub­li­cans,” he says, not­ing that 11 per­cent of the la­bels painted con­ser­va­tives as “far right,” “hard line” or “ul­tra-con­ser­va­tive” com­bat­ants.

“Such de­lib­er­ate la­bel­ing is de­signed to stig­ma­tize con­ser­va­tives, cast­ing them as out­side-of-the-main­stream ide­o­logues, as com­pared to their usu­ally un­la­beled ad­ver­saries,” Mr. Dick­ens says, adding that Democrats “were never la­beled” as lib­eral or pro­gres­sive — though on two oc­ca­sions, the Demo­cratic law­mak­ers were re­ferred to as “mod­er­ates.”

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