Here we go again with another story where a Democrat is being accused of sexual misconduct, yet the Associated Press doesn't feel that mentioning the man's party affiliation is important to the story. In this case, the AP is carrying a story on "State Senator Dan Sutton of Flandreau" (that would be in South Dakota) who is being sued for "allegedly groping a male legislative page." Sutton is a Democrat -- not that you'd be able to tell from this story. All AP reporter Chet Brokaw gives us to describe Mr. Sutton is "State Senator Dan Sutton of Flandreau." The story does, however, report in the last line that the S. Dakota Senate "voted to censure Sutton rather than expel him." This sounds rather more damning for the Senator than a mere allegation by some disgruntled page, doesn't it? That the State Senate took this unusual action seems to say that there is more than smoke with this but a fire raging. And still we get no mention of party affiliation from the AP. Here is the full report: Lawmaker sued for allegedly groping a male legislative page
FORT PIERRE, S.D. (AP) State Senator Dan Sutton of Flandreau has been sued for $250,000 in damages by former legislative page Austin Wiese (WEES), who alleges Sutton groped him in a motel room in Fort Pierre. Wiese's lawsuit alleges two counts of sexual battery and one count of sexual assault. It's a civil lawsuit no criminal charges have been filed. The suit claims Sutton invited Wiese to stay with him at the motel during the 2006 session. Court documents say they shared the one bed in the room and that on three nights in a row, Sutton inappropriately touched and fondled Wiese, who then moved out of the room. Wiese, now 19, says he has suffered mental anguish, shame, indignity, embarrassment, pain and suffering. He's being represented by former Congressman and Governor Bill Janklow. Early this year, the state Senate held a hearing on the allegations. The Senate then voted to censure Sutton rather than expel him.The Associated Press maintains that they have a policy that a lawmaker's political party affiliation is only mentioned when it is germane to the story. Of course, what "germane" means to the AP is a criteria that is never satisfactorily explained by the AP. One thing is sure, I personally have never seen a lawmaker misconduct story where the perp... I mean pol... in question is a Republican without his party affiliation being mentioned. Apparently, anytime it is a Republican in such a story it is "germane" to AP's story to mention his party! Yet, mysteriously, when the story centers on a member of the Democrat Party, the AP quite often posts its story on lawmaker misconduct without the Democrat's party label mentioned. Sure is mysterious, don't you think?
Warner Todd Huston