Here We Go Again: Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (?)

The week after it took the NBC Nightly News until the fourth day of coverage to inform viewers that disgraced then-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is a Democrat, Friday's NBC Nightly News ran a full story on the scandalous behavior surrounding Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, but never identified his political party. Naturally, given the lack of a party identification by the mainstream media journalists, he's a Democrat. Anchor Brian Williams set up the story:
The city of Detroit is in a crisis over government and leadership. The current Mayor is just the latest Detroit Mayor elected on a promise to clean up and revitalize the city. Now he's been caught in a sex scandal, a trail of electronic messages reportedly provides the evidence, it threatens his career and then some.
Reporter Kevin Tibbles, also sans any mention of a party affiliation, outlined:
The Detroit city council votes overwhelmingly to ask the Mayor to resign. 37-year-old Kwame Kilpatrick, in his second term of the Mayor of the Motor City, is mired in financial, political, and personal scandal, but refuses to budge.
My Thursday, March 13 NewsBusters posting, “Hell Freezes Over? NBC Nightly News Finally Calls Spitzer 'Democratic Governor,'” recounted:
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, substitute NBC Nightly News anchor Ann Curry and reporter Mike Taibbi failed to identify disgraced outgoing New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat, but on Thursday night Curry finally informed NBC viewers of the party affiliation -- a fact network journalists always consider relevant when a Republican gets caught in scandalous behavior. Curry set up a story on incoming Governor David Paterson by uttering the word she's avoided all week: "Now to the fast moving developments in the wake of the revelations that New York's Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer was a client of a prostitution service. NBC's Mike Taibbi now with the man who's to take over for Spitzer on Monday."

But, reverting to her default conduct, in an item about the passing of very liberal ex-Senator Howard Metzenbaum, Curry never mentioned his ideology or party as she hailed his life as "the classic American success story" of a man who "always fought for the little guy, taking on the oil and insurance industries" while he "stuck to his populist principles."
The Friday, March 21 NBC Nightly News story:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: The city of Detroit is in a crisis over government and leadership. The current Mayor is just the latest Detroit Mayor elected on a promise to clean up and revitalize the city. Now he's been caught in a sex scandal, a trail of electronic messages reportedly provides the evidence, it threatens his career and then some. Here is NBC's Kevin Tibbles.

KEVIN TIBBLES: In a city long beset with problems-

VOICE: Seven yeas one nay.

TIBBLES: The Detroit city council votes overwhelmingly to ask the Mayor to resign. 37-year-old Kwame Kilpatrick, in his second term of the Mayor of the Motor City, is mired in financial, political, and personal scandal, but refuses to budge.

MAYOR KWAME KILPATRICK: We have nothing to hide. We have been totally up front.

TIBBLES: It was while testifying under oath last summer in another matter that the Mayor's critics say he did hide something: An affair with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty.

REPORTER's VOICE: Were you and Mayor Kilpatrick either romantically or intimately involved with each other?

CHRISTINE BEATTY: No.

TIBBLES: The Detroit Free Press examined nearly 14,000 messages from Beatty's city-issued pager, messages critics say may prove the pair lied on the stand. Some of the messages concern city business. But many others were personal and explicit. Now a local prosecutor is considering whether to charge the pair with perjury.

PAUL ANGER, DETROIT FREE PRESS EDITOR: On the one hand, a tremendously talented individual and on the other hand you have an individual who has made really bad decisions.

TIBBLES: When the scandal broke, Kilpatrick, who is married with children, went on television.

KWAME KILPATRICK WITH HIS WIFE, JANUARY 30: I truly apologize to you.

TIBBLES: And has continued to defend himself.

KILPATRICK, MARCH 11: This unethical, illegal, lynch mob mentality has to stop.

TIBBLES: The speech prompted a veteran Detroit anchorwoman from NBC station WDIV to deliver a rare on air editorial calling on Kilpatrick to step down.

WOMAN ON TV: The Kwame Kilpatrick roller coaster has to stop.

TIBBLES: The prosecutor is expected to announce Monday whether charges will be filed. Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Chicago.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center