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January 08. 2013 11:58PM

Protected: Harry Reid's magic 'D'

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, President George W. Bush flew over the Gulf Coast to survey the damage. He called it "devastating." So was the criticism that came from the left for his "flyover." Rapper Kanye West said it proved that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." So imagine how intense the backlash would have been had Bush called the hurricane damage "nothing."

Such a comment would have effectively ended Bush's presidency. That it has not made a dent in the reputation or image of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who called Katrina "nothing" last week, might be the best proof of national media bias on record.

Speaking on the Senate floor Friday about the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, Reid compared its impact to that of Katrina. "The people of New Orleans and that area, they were hurt but nothing in comparison to what happened to the people in New York and New Jersey," he said.

His words drew little attention. What did gain national attention was a response from Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, who called Reid an "idiot" for uttering an idiotic remark. National reporters noted how unusual it was for one U.S. senator to use such harsh language in reference to another. Vitter got called out for his language, but Reid's comment generally escaped criticism, except in the Louisiana press. Nor have celebrities emerged to call Reid a racist.

Were Harry Reid a Republican, his dismissal of 1,833 deaths as "nothing" would be a national scandal. But Reid is a Democrat. So his act of insensitivity becomes not a story about his unfitness for office, but a story about a Republican senator's breach of Senate decorum.


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