An NPR article on the prospect of creating a part-time Congress (unlikely) begins by describing “hordes of conservative Republican lawmakers” descending on Washington. Hordes? Yes, hordes of Republicans, all conservative, are about to fracture the previous hold that “hordes of liberal Democrats” had on Congress. This inspired a Google search for the phrase and I found four pages filled with “hordes,” “Republicans,” and “conservative.” From the look of the entries most were attributable to different blog sites feeding off one another. I cannot say if NPR picked the phrase up from the bloggers or whether it was the other way around, but in any case, there you go, “hordes.” Perhaps in some political lexicon of style, “horde” is the word of choice when writing about the new Republican legislators coming to Washington. “Gang,” “flock,” “crowd,” “pack,” “host,” or “multitude” might serve but they all lack, I think, the certain chill factor “horde” evokes, undisciplined barbarians, ruffians each, laying waste to everything truly civilized about life.

I Googled also for “hordes of liberal Democrats.” That phrase does show up but it is limited to only one page plus an over-spill of a mere two entries on a second, not nearly as many as for the conservative Republican horde. I think it is safe to say this clearly is a shameful indication of the media’s bias toward liberal hordes. Simple fairness, real impartiality, everyone will agree should give as many hordes to the one as to the other.

I do note — and perhaps in some way this will mitigate any advantage the media gives to liberals — that “hordes of liberal Democrats” is frequently preceded by an adjectival qualifier. “Sycophantic,” “corrupt,” and “rabid” do tend to focus one’s eye.

Speaking of hordes, tuck this in your minor facts file. When I worked in Congress in 1972-73 there were only eight thousand congressional staffers for both the House and the Senate. Of course that figure had more than doubled from the decade previous. Today there are twenty-five thousand, give or take a thousand or so, inhabiting the congressional lair. That is chilling.

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