The talkathon by Senator Ted Cruz is almost certainly the most newsworthy speech that's been given by a member of the Senate on the Senate floor today or yesterday. Yet some of the response to it from the news media has been dismissive. Dylan Byers, the dumbest reporter alive, dedicated an item in The Politico to trying to think about what it all means (it means: "Media Bias").
Here are some of the facts that Dylan Byers includes about Cruz's speech:
The talk is not technically a filibuster — he can't actually block the Senate from going about its business...
Yes, the difference between filibustering and grandstanding plays a part. Equally important is the fact that Cruz's theatrics are frustrating members of his own party.
So unlike the filibuster delivered by Texas state senator Wendy Davis in the legislature there—which is the reference point for all the complaints about a double standard being applied to Cruz—Cruz's speech has no legislative purpose at all and does not represent or advance the agenda of his own party in the Senate. The more relevant analogy would be Anthony Weiner showboating for YouTube in 2009 by passionately calling for a single-payer healthcare system, long after the lawmakers who actually make laws had settled on the design of the Affordable Care Act.
(Also, though Byers doesn't register this, Cruz was already nationally famous before his performance, whereas Davis only became famous because of hers.)
Nevertheless and despite all that: Media Bias!
[Y]ou can forgive conservatives for being upset with the mainstream media's coverage of the Cruz affair.
Can we? Must we? As usual, the right-wing victimology runs on its own logic, without reference to facts. Here's John Podhoretz, working the refs by begging the question:
It is happening—liberals claiming non-ideological reasons why Wendy Davis got treated like Joan of Arc while Cruz left off front pages.— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) September 25, 2013
Cruz left off front pages! It's true: In this morning's New York Times, the lengthy writeup of Cruz's activities was not on the front page. It merely filled the top of page A19, with photo. Compare that with Wendy Davis' coverage in the print edition, "In Texas, a Senator’s Stand Catches the Spotlight":
A version of this article appeared in print on June 27, 2013, on page A18 of the New York edition.
In fact, a Nexis search retrieves no front-page stories from the Times containing Wendy Davis' name at all. Cruz has been mentioned in 16 page-one stories this year, including an 1,100-word profile of "Washington's new bad boy."
[Image via AP]