by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
This weekend’s episode of 60 Minutes included a segment on Pete Buttigieg, the failed presidential candidate keeping his “high, high hopes” alive with a résumé-boosting gig as U.S. secretary of transportation.
In the segment, CNN’s Anderson Cooper describes Buttigieg (without evidence) as a “very skilled politician” who became “the first openly gay cabinet secretary to be confirmed by Congress.” The latter phrase is deliberately worded to elide the fact that Richard Grenell, a Republican, was the first openly gay cabinet member in U.S. history. Grenell served as acting director of national intelligence under President Donald Trump and was also confirmed by Congress in 2018 for the role of U.S. ambassador to Germany.
While Cooper’s description is technically accurate thanks to the word “secretary,” the 60 Minutes Twitter account wrote that Buttigieg is “the first openly gay Cabinet member to be confirmed by Congress,” which is not correct. Journalists and other Democrats are in the habit of ignoring “historic” Republican political figures because, in their view, only Democrats are allowed to “make history.”
Grenell’s tenure as DNI is just one example of groundbreaking GOP accomplishments that are rarely celebrated and frequently ignored. Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears (R., Va.) received similar treatment last year after becoming the first woman of color elected to statewide office in Virginia. Mainstream media coverage of the Virginia election was composed almost entirely of hysterical denunciations of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R., Va.) for running a “racially focused” campaign and “stoking white grievance” by using education as a “code” to win the support of racist parents. …
… Rest assured, Sears and Miyares would be among the most celebrated figures in American politics if they belonged to the party supported by the vast majority of journalists and media pundits.