AP Reporter Selectively Notes Calls for Sex-Scandalized Ohio AG to Resign
Why does it seem that, when a Democratic politician's career is on the line, Old Media reporters find a way to make it look like it's only Republicans who want to push him or her out the door?
Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, who for a while was seen as the Buckeye State's version of New York's now-disgraced former governor Eliot Spitzer, is fighting for his political life.
In a Friday press conference statement (a JPG transcript of statement, opening in a separate window, is here), Dann admitted to an extramarital affair with an unidentified employee and announced that he was discharging three of his closest advisers over formal complaints of sexual harassment. Storm clouds potentially loom over the fallout from this, plus other events and incidents too numerous to detail here, occurring on Dann's watch.
Dann declared Friday that he has no plans to resign.
By mid-Saturday, two of Ohio's major newspapers, and many of its smaller ones, had issued editorial calls for Dann's resignation. It was clear that many others would follow on Sunday -- and they did. Ohio's left-leaning blogs are also mostly in the Dann-must-go camp.
Yet here's how the Associated Press's John McCarthy played the Dann story in his Saturday mid-afternoon report:
Ohio attorney general wants campaign donor to lead reform
Embattled Attorney General Marc Dann is relying on a campaign donor to clean up an office marred by a sexual harassment scandal, campaign finance records show.
Dann has asked Cleveland lawyer and lobbyist James Friedman to lead a group that will make management and personnel changes. Records show Friedman contributed $500 to Dann's campaign for attorney general in 2006. Friedman, a Democratic Party insider, was chief of staff for former Gov. John Gilligan in the 1970s.
Dann spokesman Ted Hart said Saturday that Dann is aware of the contribution but doesn't see a conflict since Friedman isn't being paid.
..... Hart said Dann was in Arizona on Saturday but didn't know the nature of the trip. Republicans have called for Dann's resignation, something Dann has said he won't do despite being scolded by investigators for his conduct.
..... Leaders of both parties have been critical of Dann, one of several Democrats swept into office in 2006 after a scandal over state investments sullied Republicans.
..... Dann, 46, apologized for the scandal and other problems at his office, including profanity and inappropriate communications that were outlined in a report released Friday by internal investigators. He said the extramarital affair was consensual and refused to disclose the name of the employee.
Although it's clear in context by the second paragraph, "Name that party" monitors will note that McCarthy missed several opportunities to specifically identify Dann himself as a Democrat before finally getting around to it in the tenth paragraph.
It should also be noted that in the "scandal over state investments sullied Republicans" the AP reporter referred to, the money misappropriated by a convicted Republican donor-offender has largely been recovered, while literally hundreds of millions of dollars lost by a convicted Democrat donor-offender has not been, and never will be.
But back to Dann -- McCarthy makes it appears as if it's those mean, old, partisan Republicans who are the only ones calling for the AG to skedaddle by ignoring the following newspapers' editorial calls for Dann's resignation -- calls that he surely should have been aware of when his story hit the wires (looking at this link, that would have been between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday):
- The Warren Tribune Chronicle, described as "Dann's hometown paper" elsewhere -- Friday, 1:45 p.m.
- Canton Repository -- Friday, time not disclosed.
- Dayton Daily News -- Friday, sometime before 10:40 p.m. (based on when this entry at an Ohio left-leaning blog appeared).
- Lorain Morning Journal -- Saturday, sometime before 5:45 a.m. (based on when first reader comment appeared).
- Cincinnati Enquirer -- Saturday, 7:06 a.m.
- Lancaster Eagle Gazette -- Saturday, sometime before 10:20 a.m. (based on when first reader comment appeared).
The following papers are among those who issued resignation calls after McCarthy released his story:
- Cleveland Plain Dealer -- Saturday, May 3; 3:53 p.m.
- Youngstown Vindicator -- Sunday, time not disclosed. (Update and correction: The linked item, though not labeled when you go there, is apparently by a Vindy columnist. The Vindy's editorial today actually advocates giving him a second chance.)
- Columbus Dispatch -- Sunday, 3:28 a.m.
If he had been interested in doing so, the AP reporter surely could have placed a phone call or two attempting to confirm that one or more of these editorials were coming.
The far-left Toledo Blade, which penned a bizarre editorial on Saturday, did not issue a resignation call. This list of editorials at the Akron Beacon Journal's ohio.com web site indicates that the ABJ hasn't yet weighed in.
It's no secret that many of Ohio's papers lean left, even in the editorial rooms. McCarthy's omissions of the papers' resignation calls, and of the lefty blogs who also want Dann gone, leave the impression that it's only the Attorney General's partisan political enemies who are demanding that he step down. That planted impression is patently false. That planted impression is patently false.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.