UPDATE: Some hours after the Times's initial filing, the phrase "former senator" in paragraph one was changed to read "former Democratic senator."
Where’s the party? New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye filed an online report early Friday on the breaking story of the indictment on campaign finance violations of John Edwards, the former senator and 2008 Democratic presidential candidate (and John Kerry’s 2004 running mate), on charges he violated campaign finance law to conceal an extramarital affair during his presidential campaign. Only one thing missing: His political party.
The word “Democrat” does not appear at all in the nine-paragraph story, which simply identifies Edwards as a former senator and presidential candidate:
John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina and presidential candidate, was indicted Friday morning by a grand jury in Raleigh on charges that he violated campaign finance law during his 2008 presidential campaign.
In contrast, the Washington Post managed to identify Edwards as a Democrat in the first paragraph:
Former vice presidential nominee John Edwards was indicted Friday on charges of violating federal election law for allegedly using nearly $1 million in illegal campaign donations to conceal an extramarital affair during his 2008 run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
USA Today and the Los Angeles Times also made room for Edwards’s party affiliation in paragraph two of their stories.
The Times often omits the party affiliation of Democrats in trouble, like former Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, but is generally quick to label Republicans involved in controversies.
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