Media Bias, the Republican Establishment, and the “Mexican” Judge

FedUp PAC Staff

Most Americans, if they depend on the mainstream media, believe that Donald Trump simply concluded that because Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled against him the judge must therefore be biased as a result of his Mexican ancestry. The rush by Republicans to denounce Trump’s statement reinforces that belief.

The facts are a little different. Trump says that he believes the suit should have been dismissed because the “best lawyers . . . so many lawyers” have told him that dismissal was the correct choice. (According to The Washington Post fact-checker, something close to 40% of motions for summary judgement in Federal courts are granted.) Based on what these lawyers have told him about the legal merits favoring dismissal, Trump concluded that Judge Curiel must have some personal reason for ruling incorrectly, and speculated that his ancestry made him hostile toward a candidate who has vowed to build a wall along the Mexican border and deport illegal aliens (many of whom are from Mexico).

When Judge Andrew Hanen ruled against Obama’s November 2014 amnesty program, the media themselves were quick to claim that Hanen was acting out of personal bias rather than following sound legal reasoning. Trump simply followed their example in his criticism of Curiel.

The media should have asked Trump for the names of the “many lawyers” who had told him the suit should have been dismissed. Those lawyers could then have been interviewed and their legal arguments presented to the public. Then we could have reached our own conclusions about whether Judge Curiel made the correct decision.

Instead, the media have failed to follow up and have denied the American people the facts needed to reach an informed decision.

Trump’s fellow Republicans could have pointed out the media’s biased and incomplete approach. Instead, they did what they usually do, surrendering to the media at the first cry of “racism.” The Republican establishment has no stomach for defending facts against such a media campaign. They believe in giving in at once, allowing the media to frame the debate in such a way that Republicans are presented as racist.

One honorable exception has been former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. Perhaps hoping that his own heritage protects him from accusations of racism, Gonzalez defended the need for Federal judges to maintain the appearance of impartiality and uphold public confidence in the judiciary. He pointed to Curiel’s membership in La Raza Lawyers of San Diego and his appointment of a law firm with connections to Hillary Clinton to prosecute the suit against Clinton. These are matters for legitimate public debate and might serve as reasons for Curiel to recuse himself.

When Hillary Clinton says or does something questionable, the media are quick to offer excuses. When Donald Trump or other Republicans do the same, the media pounce and create a “scandal.” It is time for the media to treat all candidates equally.

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