They're improving bad legislation
Compare headline tonight:
“Stimulus Bill Delayed in Senate Over Jobless Benefits”
No party identified.
It was the Repubs.
One factor is "Murc’s law", "the widespread assumption that only Democrats have any agency or causal influence over American politics". (Do a Web search for more.) This is related to the "cult of bipartisanship" in establishment media. The belief is that "compromise" and "working across the aisle" are The Way Things Are Supposed To Get Done in U.S. politics, and so any situation where one party "won't play along" with the other is bad. That's why things like this are always framed as a "partisan squabble". Since Republicans hold the White House, the belief is that the other party needs to "work with them" and give concessions. As I've said before, this conveniently means journalists can be lazy and just go with surface-level analysis ("one party has this bill and the other is blocking it") and repeating what politicos say rather than actually looking into boring policy details and analyzing their effects. Politics as sports: "The Red Team is up by three! Can Blue Team manage to hold them off and regroup?"
Also, nothing personal, but nitpick: the Senate effectively needing 60 votes for most bills has not been the way it's worked for a "long time". (Unless you meant a "long time" in the short memory span of the U.S. public.) The filibuster as it works today only dates back to 1970 with the adoption of the "two-track" system. Before that, filibusters halted all business on the Senate floor; thus, they were politically risky and only done rarely, as conservative Democrats famously did for civil rights bills. Now, a filibuster just stops the thing being filibustered, and the Senate can put that business "on hold" and continue to do other things. I think a lot of people don't know this. This means anyone talking about today's filibuster as "how the Senate has always worked" is either ignorant or being disingenuous.
For years I have been trying to understand the roots of this kind of mainstream media bias. A lot of people on the left ascribe it to pressure from the “corporate overlords”. I am sure that is a factor, as is the bullying that the media gets from Republicans, but I can’t help thinking that there is another, more subtle kind of bias driving behind the double standard - a obsession with manliness.
It seems to me that a lot of people in the media are subconsciously impressed by a show of “manliness’ and force no matter how phony or nasty. That is the only explanation I can think of for why so much of the media clearly preferred a person like George W Bush over both his father and John Kerry, two genuine war heroes but men who did not adopt a macho posture the way Dubya did. Poppy Bush was tarred with the “wimp” label. Kerry got the “effete” (i.e., not manly) treatment. Al Gore who had also volunteered to serve in a war was actually accused by Maureen Dowd of being so feminized that he was almost lactating. Dubya did everything he could to avoid it but he was treated like the real man by journalists and pundits.