Analysis

The Media Is Pushing Fluff Pieces For Biden’s Democratic Cabinet Picks — After Attacking Trump’s Republican Choices

JOSHUA LOTT/AFP via Getty Images, Alex Wong/Getty Images

Shelby Talcott Media Reporter
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As President-elect Joe Biden continues to announce his administration picks, one thing is becoming clear: The media’s coverage of Democratic cabinet appointees is far softer than its coverage of Republican cabinet appointees.

Freelance writer Drew Holden pointed out the differences with a lengthy Twitter thread Thursday and Friday. He focused on how the media reported Biden picking Pete Buttigieg for Secretary of Transportation versus their coverage when President Donald Trump announced Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education.

Both Buttigieg and DeVos had something in common upon being chosen for their respective positions – neither had much experience. How the media reported this similarity, though, differed greatly. (RELATED: A Look At Media Bias In Coverage Of Different Governors’ Responses To Coronavirus)

With Buttigieg, much of the media honed in on his story about proposing to his husband Chasten at the Chicago O’Hare airport. Buttigieg declared that he has “a personal love for transportation,” and media publications ran with it – instead of noting that the upcoming transportation pick was reportedly unable to get potholes fixed during his time as mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

One Washington Post analysis declared that “Pete Buttigieg is right. Airports are romantic.” Meanwhile, an op-ed published by the Post about DeVos immediately declared her to be “the most polarizing education secretary nominee ever.” CBS and USA Today also pushed the Biden fluff piece.

CNN didn’t fare much better – they reported on Buttigieg’s proposal story, too. But the outlet hammered DeVos far harder, publishing an opinion piece back then that decidedly said voting for her would be voting “for resegregation.”

Holden also called out The New York Times, which highlighted that Buttigieg would bring a “younger voice” and diversity to Biden’s cabinet picks. The NYT explained that lack of experience differently when it came to DeVos, as it made a point to note that she had “almost no experience in public education.”

The difference in reporting continued with MSNBC, which used an overwhelmingly positive quote from Biden to push Buttigieg’s new gig. DeVos didn’t fare as well with the network, which dedicated an entire article quoting parents bashing Trump’s new pick.

Buttigieg wasn’t the only Democrat to gain the media’s affection, though. Antony Blinken, Biden’s choice for Secretary of State, was able to snatch up some puff pieces too. The New Yorker, for example, investigated what, exactly, “guitar aficionado” meant in regards to Blinken. That same publication blasted DeVos and pointed out that “critics” weren’t down with her “unfamiliarity with the public-school system.”

Foreign Policy and RawStory displayed examples of media bias with Blinken as well. (RELATED: Here’s The Type Of Media Coverage You Can Expect For The Next 4 Years)

It doesn’t have to be fair and balanced, but at least just try to fake it a little next time?” Holden wondered at the end of the thread.