You know something is prevalent when you can predict it's going to happen.
I got that feeling as I saw the Los Angeles Times' headline on the story about Senator Dick Lugar's defeat in Indiana's primary election after serving 35 years in Congress.
The headline read, "Sen. Richard Lugar defeated by tea party challenger." It's a momentous event for the Tea Party movement, to be able to oust someone with that tenure and those connections with an unknown newcomer.
I wondered how the Times was going to spin it into a negative. I didn't have to read very far.
Remember, journalists are supposed to be balanced, objective and fair. The fairest way to write an article like this would be Candidate A defeated incumbent Candidate B by x percentage points.
Instead, we got a subtle jab at the Tea Party. The Times' opening paragraph:
After more than 35 years in the Senate, Richard G. Lugar of Indiana was ousted Tuesday by a tea party challenger in a Republican primary that showed how hard it is for a veteran lawmaker known for his ability to compromise to win reelection in the current political environment.
To put it more bluntly, the Times is setting the tone for the article by saying that this veteran statesman Lugar, who tries to compromise like a mature adult, was cut down by a rabid conservative mob. That's the takeaway you're supposed to get from this, and it's a liberal perspective. The conservative perspective, which wasn't represented the lead paragraph, is that rank-and-file conservatives are fed up with being sold out by unprincipled politicians year after year.
For further proof that this article is an example of liberal bias against a moderate Republican being defeated from the right, we look to see how the Times treated a situation when a moderate Democrat was defeated from the left.
Enter Senator Joe Lieberman, who won praise for working across the aisle, compromise, and bipartisanship, just like Senator Lugar. When Lieberman was defeated in 2006, did the Times mention any of these qualities they find so important in a statesman? Nope.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, who angered Democratic voters with his staunch support of the war in Iraq, on Tuesday narrowly lost his party's nomination to Ned Lamont, an antiwar candidate who was unknown seven months ago.
He "angered" people when he worked with Republicans, but Lugar won praise from the newspaper when he worked with Democrats.
The lesson to be learned here is that the more liberal of two candidates will generally get better treatment by Times writers, a clear case of media bias.