AP's Palin Derangement Extends to Her Parents ('Rat Killers')
The Associated Press apparently isn't satisfied going after Sarah Palin full throttle.
The GOP Vice-Presidential nominee's visit to New York City apparently went so well that an ABC pictorial series is called "Sarah Palin Takes News York" -- though the last slide takes a shot at the McCain campaign for setting boundaries on access to Palin during her meetings with foreign leaders. ABC claims that the media threatened to boycott covering her (yeah, right).
Both the New York Times and the AP chose to address Palin's observation that her parents had involvement in the recovery effort in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. In a surprisingly pleasant development, the Times's story covered that angle reasonably well. But the AP's story (as carried at the Times web site), was incomplete, nasty ("rat-killers"), and condescending.
Here's how the Times's coverage started:
Palin’s Parents Aided in Sept. 11 Cleanup
Gov. Sarah Palin visited ground zero on Thursday and said her parents had come to New York after 9/11 to help with the recovery effort.
Her parents, Chuck and Sally Heath, worked at the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island in January and February 2002 as part of a federal Department of Agriculture program.
In a telephone interview on Thursday, Mr. Heath said he and his wife had worked to keep sea gulls and rats from scavenging remains in the debris. Mr. Heath, 70, a retired science teacher, and Mrs. Heath, 68, a retired secretary, have worked for the Agriculture Department for 15 years. They travel around the world dealing with "nuisance" animals like rats and bears.
All in all, not bad.
The same can't be said for how AP handled it:
Palin's parents: Retirees, part - time rat killers
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- More than six years before Sarah Palin visited ground zero as the Republican vice presidential nominee, her parents were there as part of the response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- trapping rats.
Chuck and Sally Heath have been part-time U.S. Department of Agriculture wildlife specialists for the past 15 years, traveling throughout Alaska trapping or killing animals. They've eradicated rat infestations, shooed geese from runways and killed foxes that were keeping threatened Canada geese from nesting.
In January 2002, they went to New York City for a two-week assignment that fit their specialty. Their job was to make sure birds and rats did not disturb the debris from the collapsed World Trade Center towers that was being searched by forensic teams for human remains in Staten Island's Fresh Kills landfill.
- The AP's headline and first paragraph were deliberately incomplete, negative, and designed to make Palin's parents come off looking like a couple of sadists. That's especially obvious when you see from the Times article that "trapping rats" isn't all the Heaths did. In fact, the Times piece mentions rats after seagulls.
- More on the headline -- Since Palin was visiting Gotham and made the comment about her parents, the story was what the Heaths did in connection with 9/11. The AP article's eighth paragraph noted that the rats at Fresh Kill were "dispersed," and apparently not killed. So why is "rat-killers" in the headline? The Heaths' involvement in rat eradication, which AP decided to call "killing," actually took place on an unrelated assignment thousands of miles away.
- The AP, in unexcerpted text, mentioned that Mr. Heath was a retired teacher, but despite their article running twice as long as the Old Gray Lady's, never mentioned what Mrs. Heath did for retirement (she was a secretary).
I learned by going to this AP-Google link that the pitiful headline was the same, and that the story's author was Matt Volz.
Volz has been exhibiting ever more serious symptoms of Palin Derangement. NewsBusters' Jason Aslinger observed earlier this week that:
Volz has been a busy bee covering the Troopergate anti-scandal over the last two weeks. Not surprisingly, he continues to write story after story without citing to the obvious bias underlying the entire investigation.
By extending the vitriol to her parents, Volz is demonstrating that his strain of PDS is particularly virulent. I fear for the AP reporter's stability if Palin takes up residence where Dick Cheney currently lives.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.