Cal Thomas: Identity politics

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, January 24th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Cal Thomas now on the media infatuation with identity politics.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Major media outlets have gone gaga over the number of women newly elected to Congress and those announcing their run for the White House in 2020. More female candidates are likely to follow suit.

We can all celebrate more equal representation in Congress, but the media’s celebration comes with a pronounced bias. Mainstream outlets have focused almost exclusively on liberal women with barely a mention of leading conservative women, like Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa.

I think the reason is clear. Anchors, reporters, and commentators, prefer to speak of “women’s issues” as if all women can and do (or should) think alike.

Worst of all is the lack of scrutiny most outlets give to the ideas floated by liberal women. We should all care much more about what works than the identity of those making policy proposals. Too often reporters seem to take many liberal pronouncements at face value, with little pushback for explanations about how politicians plan to make their proposals work.

CNN’s Jake Tapper provided a rare example of good mainstream journalism in an interview with freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He asked how she was going to raise the $40 trillion dollars it will take to fund her proposed programs, like “Medicare for All.” When she twice didn’t answer the question, he called her out on it.

Reporters must ask these questions more often, because even top-tier presidential candidates are peddling such fuzzy math—including Senator Kamala Harris of California, who announced her candidacy this week.

With a national debt at nearly $22 trillion and soaring, the idea that we could absorb additional debt is a recipe for bankruptcy. That’s especially true considering many initial cost estimates for past government programs have far exceeded projections.

Federal tax revenues have already hit record highs. The obvious problem is not insufficient revenue. It is a lack of spending discipline from both parties.

Especially in the Trump era, media have displayed increasingly naked ideological cheerleading. Any fair examination of major newspapers—from the front page, to the editorial and op-ed pages—proves the point.

If there’s any hope of getting out of the political mess we’re in, journalism must return to a focus on facts, not fanfare.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., waits backstage during the Womens’s March Alliance, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in New York.

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