2008: Another Year of the Dropped-D Scandal

One of the ways we can remember 2008 as another year of the dropped-D Democrat scandals is how we can hardly remember they happened. The remarkable (and very brief) end of the career of Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York is one.

On November 21, ABC’s 20/20 scored a big interview with Ashley Dupre, the high-priced call girl with the code name "Kristen." Whatever its rating, it did not make a wave in pop culture. But here’s what’s remarkable (or maybe not): ABC and Diane Sawyer never mentioned Spitzer was a Democrat, either on 20/20 that night or on a segment promoting this booking coup on Good Morning America. That episode of 20/20 began like this:

ELIZABETH VARGAS, co-host: Good evening. Many times before, we’ve covered the dimensions of prostitution in America. The numbers, the human cost involved. Tonight, though, a new page in the scrapbook of women who make these choices and why. This story could be one of hundreds, except for one crucial difference.

JOHN STOSSEL, co-host: And that difference, of course, is that her client was the Governor, the seemingly strait-laced Governor of New York. Tonight, her side of the story.

Then after a news clip of George Stephanopoulos cleanly noting "New York Governor Eliot Spitzer" (no D) was under fire, Diane Sawyer briefly mentioned him:

SAWYER: Eliot Spitzer, the Governor of New York. The scourge of corruption on Wall Street. The former attorned general who had famously moved to shatter prostitution rings. But there he was, standing in front of cameras acknowledging he had hired call girls himself....[Dupre] had no idea her client in Washington was the Governor of New York. The young woman has not spoken on television until now. Not even to say her name."

Sawyer and Dupre briefly discussed how Dupre felt badly for Mrs. Spitzer, but not for the Governor. (Sawyer did not press on how anyone who works as a prostitute for a living is helping betray a lot of wives.) The vast majority of the interview focused on Dupre’s family, on how her loved ones dealt with the news, and not on Spitzer. Here’s a sample of how it was promoted on Good Morning America:

SAWYER: But first, an ABC News exclusive. It was stunning when one of the most powerful men in the country, the Govenor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, announced that he had been hiring young women from an escort service. And by the way, he’s a former prosecutor as well. But what about the young woman who was at the center of that storm?

Notice how the liberal media always treats the "storm" of controversy as a form of political weather it can manipulate, either making the storm a Category 5 hurricane or a brief and very limited lightning strike. Democrats who have to resign are pressed to go quickly and be forgotten.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis