NewsBusters posters have already given Old Media deserved grief about its reluctance to pin the Democratic Party label on Eliot Spitzer, who, as of this moment, is still governor of New York (Brent Baker on evening news show coverage; Ken Shepherd on the BBC; Shepherd on the AP). But, as blogger Ace noted last night (warning: some profanity at Ace's link), ABC has outdone the other outlets one better. ABC's "Political Sex Scandals Redux" popup slideshow has a series of 13 slides relating to current and past politicians. If Republicans are or were involved, the network, with one rare and minor exception, consistently applies the "R" label almost immediately. With Democrats, with one very old exception, the party label isn't there. Here are the specifics:
- Slide 1, Eliot Spitzer -- No party ID on New York's current Democratic governor.
- Slide 2, Mark Foley -- immediately labeled "R-Fla."
- Slide 3, Randy "Duke" Cunningham -- immediately labeled "R-Calif."
- Slide 4, David Vitter -- immediately labeled "R-La."
- Slide 5, Randall Tobias (Deputy Secretary of State; April 2007) -- party affiliation not identified, and apparently not known.
- Slide 6, Bill Clinton -- No Democratic party ID. The slide only mentions Monica Lewinsky. Others, who the BBC 10 years ago referred to as "All the President's Women," are nowhere to be found: Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Kathleen Willey, and several others. Juanita Broaddrick (backup link)? Surely you jest.
- Slide 7, Jim McGreevey -- No party ID on the former New Jersey Governor, who resigned in 2004.
- Slide 8, Larry Craig -- immediately labeled "R-Idaho."
- Slide 9, James E. West -- No party ID on Republican former Spokane, WA Mayor, 2005. Big whoop, as if a lower-level GOP overlook makes up for the other oversights identified here.
- Slide 10, Bob Livingston -- GOP Party ID noted in the first sentence.
- Slide 11, Daniel Crane -- immediately labeled "R-Ill."
- Slide 12, Gerry E. Studds -- immediately labeled "D-Mass." The Studds scandal dates to 1983.
- Slide 13, Wilbur Mills -- No party ID on the former Democratic House Speaker.
- Six Republicans immediately identified; one relatively obscure GOP member not ID'd.
- Four Democratic affiliations not noted; one, involving a matter dating back a quarter-century, immediately identified.
- One party affiliation not clear, and apparently not known.
Ace's key comments:
This is all in our minds, huh, MSM? It's all accidental, right? Then why does it keep happening, and why do you stubbornly refuse to make a simple style guide change -- requiring the party ID of any and all politicians caught in scandals upon first mention, in the first paragraph? It's because you want to preserve your freedom to continue doing this. Only Republican scandals are, in fact, Republican scandals. Democratic scandals are never identified as such, and instead are, in your "nuanced" telling, either scandals of a particular man alone or of "The System" generally.
Exactly. Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.