Jennifer Rubin: Harry Reid, Mitt Romney and media double standards

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Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada said over and over that a "source" told him Mitt Romney paid no taxes for 10 years. Now the Democrat says that he agrees with a blogger that Romney has "sullied" the Mormon faith and that the presidential nominee is "not the face of Mormonism." This is disgraceful, yet the story is nowhere to be found in the mainstream media.

It is not as if Reid is some anonymous, low-level staffer. He is the majority leader in the U.S. Senate. Yet such vile comments get less attention than does a birther outburst from Donald Trump. When the vice president tells an African-American audience that the Republicans want to keep "y'all in chains," the mainstream media shrug or make excuses.

Why is it that the outrage travels in only one direction? Imagine if House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that President Barack Obama has "sullied" Christianity and is "not the face of Christianity." He would be denounced in every newspaper, and his resignation would be demanded.

Imagine if House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in 2000 that the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), had "sullied" Judaism and is "not the face of Judaism." I suspect he would no longer be in the U.S. House.

There is no consistent policy agenda here. Many of those who are mute about Reid's remarks denounce religious intolerance by Christian conservatives. Those who remained silent about Obama's "60 Minutes" interview -- in which the president likened Israel's concerns about existential threats to "noise" -- surely would have hollered had it been Romney, and not Obama, who used such an insensitive phrase as "bump in the road" to describe recent events in the Middle East in which four Americans were killed. Media double standards are nothing new, but it seems that nothing will provoke more exacting coverage of the president.

Jennifer Rubin writes the "Right Turn" blog for The Washington Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.

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