It's become axiomatic that the mainstream media are reluctant to identify the party affiliation of public officials found engaging in untoward behavior. If the offending party is a Democrat, that is.
Today's CNN story, Pennsylvania official checks into rehab following arrest, is yet another example. It begins:
Pennsylvania's acting secretary of labor and industry has entered a rehabilitation program for at least two weeks after her arrest on a public drunkenness charge last week.
Just a few hours before her arrest, Sandi Vito backed out of a scheduled interview with a CNN correspondent about the state's controversial use of debit cards to pay unemployment benefits.
Vito, who was appointed acting secretary of labor and industry in February 2008, "has entered a treatment program for two weeks," according to Gov. Ed Rendell's chief spokesman.
The article runs for a dozen paragraphs. Never mentioned is the fact Vito is a Democrat. We know this not just because she's an appointee of Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, whose party is also not reported, but because Vito has given money to Democratic political campaigns.
I wish Sandi Vito success in confronting her problem. My point is not to ridicule her, but to again document how the mainstream media handle such stories. When members of the GOP get in trouble, their party is clearly identified and the spin is that it's a Republican scandal. When it's a Democrat who's involved, then the story line is that the scandal involved an official who just happens to be a Democrat. If the person's party is identified at all.
The names may change, but the game plan is always the same.