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.
Update (18:18 EDT): BBC has updated their article to note the Democratic party affiliation in the 3rd graf (link). Our tipster DB informs us that the BBC's North America editor Justin Webb replied to his e-mail with a promise to "try to get it changed."
The BBC initially noted Gov. Eliot Spitzer is a Democrat, in an early draft of an online news article. The mention was in the 6th paragraph. But that stuck for all of 37 minutes as NewsBusters reader DB informs us (screengrabs shown below page break):
A prostitution scandal strikes the Democrats? When Sen. David Vitter admitted he’d used the services of the "DC Madam," thanks to probing by ABC News, the major media saw harm for the entire Republican Party nationwide. Will Governor Spitzer become a national problem for the entire Democratic party? Or will the media suddenly keep the scandal as localized as they can make it?
NBC and MSNBC were especially aggressive in describing conservatives and Republicans "in crisis." The standout quote on the Vitter scandal (along with the Mark Foley internet-messages-to-pages scandal) came from MSNBC reporter David Shuster on August 29, 2007, who blurred the ethical embarrassments into Hurricane Katrina:
Update (16:50 EDT): Clay Waters of MRC's TimesWatch informs me the 3rd paragraph reference in a NYT article to Spitzer's Democratic Party affiliation has been removed. Only an oblique reference to his party remains in the 15th paragraph, notes Waters.
It's the first major political sex scandal of 2008 (aside from Detroit's Kwame Kilpatrick) and it involves a Democrat. So of course the Associated Press failed to note Gov. Eliot Spitzer's (D-NY) party affiliation. Via the LATimes.com Web site, published at 2:28 p.m. EDT:
The New York Times is reporting that Gov. Eliot Spitzer has told senior advisers that he had been involved in a prostitution ring.
On its Web site, the newspaper cites an anonymous administration official as the source and says Spitzer was meeting with his top aides.
Spitzer officials wouldn't immediately comment on the story to The Associated Press. An announcement was scheduled for 2:15 p.m. at his Manhattan office.
The New York Times has more here, and that paper notes Spitzer's party affiliation in the third graf:
Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, said the article about John McCain that appeared in Thursday's paper was about a man nearly felled by scandal who rebuilt himself as a fighter against corruption but is still "careless about appearances, careless about his reputation, and that's a pretty important thing to know about somebody who wants to be president of the United States."
Guilt by association, that's the trick that the AP just pulled on the wife of GOP presidential candidate John McCain. In a story about the non-story du jour, AP writer Libby Quaid has placed Cindy McCain in with jilted political wives of the likes of Hillary Clinton, Suzanne Craig, Dina McGreevey, and Carlita Kilpatrick. They even reached back into the graveyard of political careers and dug up Lee Hart, wife of Donna Rice's paramour Gary Hart.
The AP got all weepy eyed over how Cindy McCain "did not hesitate" to step forward to take "her place in the history of political wives who stood by their men in the face of rumored or alleged marital infidelity." The AP then states her first lines as "Well, obviously I'm disappointed." AP thinks this is interesting because, "A coterie of wives has confronted the public pain of such an accusation. Smaller still is the band who, like Cindy McCain, have spoken out."
As the AP begins the story, you'd think that John McCain is exactly the same as Bill Clinton or Gary Hart... in other words guilty of screwin' around on his wife. Even the way they quote Cindy McCain could be taken as that she is "disappointed" in her husband if the reader stops there!
The Left is positively gleeful at news that John McCainmay have had a "close bond" with lobbyist, Vicki Iseman. Apparently, anonymous claims that people close to the campaign were "concerned" is all it takes to justify a major story in the New York Times. And exuberant blogging from the Leftosphere.
Fortunately, one Lefty blogger -- Greg Sargent -- stopped to think about what they were making a fuss about...
Let's try a little experiment. Let's take the meat of the big New York Times story and substitute the words "Dem Presidential Hopeful" for "John McCain" [...] If these words had appeared on the front page of The New York Times, wouldn't we all be yelling and stamping our feet about "panty sniffing" and condemning the use of anonymous sources who suggest a possible affair that may or may not have happened and wasn't directly alleged by anyone?
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith teased upcoming coverage of accusations of John McCain having an affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman: "And Republican front-runner John McCain blasted on the front pages of The New York Times...not exactly the coverage you may be looking for if you're running for president." Later, Smith introduced the segment by exclaiming: "This bombshell report that Republican front-runner John McCain may have had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist who was a visitor to his office and traveled with him on a client's corporate jet."
In a following report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, the New York Times article was quoted:
According to The Times, the aides warned him "he was risking his campaign and career" because Iseman's firm had telecom clients with business before his Senate committee. They say quote, "McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Iseman."
Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, during an hour-long appearance on CNN’s "Larry King Live," didn’t take the New York Times story on "the possibility of a relationship between John McCain some years back and a female lobbyist" seriously, which, as King put it, was "in the embryonic stages" during the show. "[T]his has an awfully tired and dusty feel to it, in terms of the way that political reporting has been going." Stewart went on to criticize some of the Times’ reporting. "You know, The New York Times does some pretty amazing reporting and The New York Times puts stuff out there that is as sort of spurious at times. You know, Judy Miller's reports in The New York Times were about as fictional as James Frey's, you know, ‘Million Little Pieces.’"
King began the second segment of his program, which started about 10 minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour, by bringing up the Times story and after summarizing its contents, read a statement that had been issued by McCain’s campaign. He then asked for Stewart’s take on it. Stewart admitted that John McCain "is someone who I have great respect for" and thought that "this is a strange time to be injecting it into the race." He also lamented the entire situation. "It's just -- it's a shame and I feel badly for him and I feel badly for his family, because they're lovely people."
A story that mildly resembles today's McCain "scoop" came four years ago, the charge that young AP reporter Alexandra Polier may have had an affair with John Kerry. No proof emerged. How did the New York Times cover that charge?
On February 17, 2004, on page A-19, the Times ran a 434-word piece by reporter Jim Rutenberg, one of the four reporters on the McCain story today. The rumor had a "vibrant life on the Internet," but not in the New York Times. Here it is:
The New York Times's John McCain "bombshell" story, hinted at since December, was unloaded on Thursday's front-page -- and promptly fizzled out among conservatives and liberals alike, who dismissed the story from a four-person team as a strained mix of sex innuendo and old news (The Keating Five?).
It's no wonder if you take a look. This story is all hype and no substance:
The Washington Post carried the usual double standard on political ethics – highlight the party affiliation of the Republican, bury the party affiliation of the Democrat – all in one edition of the paper on Saturday. In the Metro section (page B-5), the headline proclaimed: "GOP’s McKee Resigns After Home Is Searched" (for child pornography). On the front page of Style (page C-1), a story on Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s adultery and lying was headlined, "In Detroit, Not Exactly LOL LOL! His Steamy Text Messages Turn Up the Heat on Motown’s Young Mayor."
Hello and welcome to today's episode of "Democrat or Not?" Today we have the sordid tale of a "top official" in Governor Deval Patrick's administration in Massachusetts who is accused of sexual misconduct with a minor in Florida. Oh, the story is filled with all sorts of details... well, all the details but one, of course.
A top official in Gov. Deval Patrick's administration is accused of sexually assaulting a boy in the steam room of a Florida resort and has been placed on unpaid leave... Carl Stanley McGee, the assistant secretary for policy and planning, was arrested Dec. 28 after the suspected assault at the Gasparilla Inn and Club in Boca Grande, according to the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
We are told over and over again that the United Nations is the answer to all the world's ills. It is often claimed that without the UN things would be so much worse in troubled spots around the world. But, when we look at the pernicious effect the UN has where ever it goes, it's awfully hard to reconcile the claims with the hard truth. For one thing, we've seen the UN responsible for turning indigenous teens into prostitutes for UN workers in Cambodia, Africa, and Bosnia. Well, now we can add vandalism of sacred, ancient wall-art to the ever growing list of evils perpetrated by UN operatives.
But, where is the media to report this outrage against human history and sacred religious relics and sites? About the same place they were when underplaying the reports of UN peacekeepers and employees forcing young women into prostitution the world over... absent from the scene.
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Dan Harris covered the growing sex scandal of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and, at the same time, skipped the fact that he is a Democrat. The story, which has, thus far, been ignored by both NBC and CBS's morning shows, relates to testimony Kilpatrick gave in the summer of 2007 when he denied having an affair with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty, and of using security to cover up the relationship. (14,000 just discovered text messages between the mayor and Beatty tend to refute the Mayor's statement.)
During Harris's segment, the GMA correspondent described the embattled politician who, prior to the scandal, was "considered a talented politician with a very bright future" in apolitical terms. Other than a brief, onscreen graphic, he didn't verbally mention Kilpatrick's Democratic Party affiliation. Harris also brought up related examples of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and San Francisco's Gavin Newsom, both of whom are Democrats. (Those facts also went unspoken.) In contrast, a 2006 Media Research Center study found that the three networks of ABC, CBS and NBC filed 150 stories in less than a two week period about Republican Mark Foley and his sex scandal.
Well, now Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) is facing mounting pressure to resign for pretty much the same thing: lying about sex under oath in a legal proceeding. While I'm personally curious whether any Democrats, particularly those supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) for president will come forward and defend Kilpatrick -- you know, urging him to stay in office and fight to "work for the people of Detroit" -- the more immediate concern here at NewsBusters is, are the media noting or ignoring Kilpatrick's Democratic Party affiliation?
The answer so far? No, at least not the Associated Press. Reporter Corey Williams failed to mention Kilpatrick's party affiliation, although Williams did note Kilpatrick faces similar legal problems as Clinton:
Ten years after the Lewinsky scandal broke, Barbara Walters is still acting as a spokeswoman for Bill Clinton’s former mistress. On the January 21 episode, Walters scolded fellow "View" panelist Joy Behar for incorporating Monica Lewinsky jokes into her comic routine, opining "I don’t think one should joke about it."
The veteran journalist, who landed the first interview with Lewinsky, hyped her recent master’s degree and claimed she is having difficulties finding a job. Elisabeth Hasselbeck felt "that’s what happens when you make decisions like that, that affect your future." Whoopi Goldberg ended the segment adding that women should support Lewinsky because she’s a woman. After the commercial break, Hasselbeck replied that she thinks " about supporting the person, you know, and taking gender out of it."
Half a decade after observing the fifth anniversary of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, "Good Morning America" correspondent Claire Shipman filed a report on Monday's show that commemorated ten years since the event. Shipman used the January 21 piece to take a swipe at Lewinsky-gate figure Linda Tripp, snidely labeling her "that questionable, tape-recording friend" and pointing out that she "has remade her face and her life." After observing that Tripp has since opened a store selling Christmas trinkets in Virginia, Shipman mused, "Atonement? Simply irony? Who knows?"
During the fifth anniversary segment, on January 16, 2003, this same GMA reporter appeared dismissive of the Lewinsky scandal. She claimed, perhaps hopefully, "It may be, especially in this newly-sobered world, that the Lewinsky episode, as riveting as it seemed at the time, will have little lasting impact, will be little more than a memorable footnote in our political life." A similar tone pervaded Shipman's report on Monday when she described the event as the "national political episode that a decade later, and in a post-September 11th, Iraq-dominated world, seems surreal."
In a breaking story, the recently elected Democrat Attorney General of Kansas has found himself caught up in a sex scandal and it's one he isn't even completely denying. A.G. Paul Morrison is admitting that he had a relationship with former staffer, Linda Carter (No, not of TVs Wonder Woman fame). And now, ladies and gentlemen, we get to play one of our favorite sex scandal games, "Democrat or Republican," where we see if in MSM reports we find out if our scandal enmeshed politician is a nasty Republican or a somehow unmentioned Democrat. But THIS story is going to make it hard on our left spinning MSM, because Paul Morrison is both a Democrat AND a Republican -- well, at least he was a Republican until he switched parties in 2005. The MSM are going to lose their tiny minds trying to spin this one!
It must be wonderful to be a Democrat and know that your indiscretions are very unlikely to get much attention by media minions only willing to cover the crimes and shortcomings of folks on the opposite side of the aisle.
Take for example James Michael McHaney, an aide to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) who NewsBusters reported had been arrested last Friday for trying to lure a thirteen-year-old boy into a sexual encounter.
Not only did this get buried on Friday so as likely not to take focus away from Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) looking regal and presidential during that day's hostage crisis in New Hampshire, but also once the Associated Press deigned to actually inform subscribers on Monday that something potentially nefarious had occurred, press outlets either continued to ignore the subject, or buried it nicely so that precious few would be made aware of it.
On the television side, according to LexisNexis, the only outlet which felt this newsworthy was CNN which aired its only report on this matter during the 6:00 AM EST "American Morning" Tuesday:
A segment on Monday’s CBS "Early Show" by co-host Julie Chen about accusations by the late President Ford of Bill Clinton being a "sex addict," was in sharp contrast to an interview last week with author Sally Bedell Smith, when co-host Harry Smith referred to the Clintons as a "still-young couple" and "political rock stars."
Smith teased the Monday segment on Clinton’s sex addiction by saying, "Plus, a presidential scandal comes back in the spotlight. Find out who's calling Bill Clinton a sex addict." Contrast that statement with Smith’s glowing assessment of the Clinton marriage from last Tuesday’s segment on Bedell-Smith’s new book on the Clinton marriage:
A simple Google search reveals there are more than 40 books about this still-young couple. They met in law school, two bookish, wonkish, idealistic kids who somehow transformed themselves into political rock stars.
Strangely, in last week’s segment Smith never thought to ask a single question about the affect of Bill Clinton’s sex scandals on the marriage.
I'd be curious to see how Tina Brown describes someone she doesn't like. Because after painting what seemed for all the world an unflattering portrait of Hillary Clinton, Brown proclaimed that she think's Hillary's great.
Brown, the former editor of Vanity Fair, the New Yorker and Talk appeared on today's "Morning Joe" largely to discuss British royal doings as dished in her "Diana Chronicles"and otherwise.
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Brian Ross continued his critical series of investigations into Republican presidential candidates. Just two weeks after he slammed Fred Thompson for his role in the 1973 Watergate investigation, the ABC correspondent looked into the fact that Rudy Giuliani's consulting firm has employed a priest that has been accused of molesting children in the '70s.
Of course, neither Ross, nor "Good Morning America" have seen fit to investigate Hillary Clinton's hiring of Sandy Berger, a man who has been convicted of stealing documents from the National Archives and stuffing them down his pants. Ross has similarly ignored the growing scandal of poor Chinese workers donating large sums of money to the Hillary Clinton campaign
He might be a middle-aged white guy from the Mountain West, but Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) suddenly understands the travails of people stopped for "DWB": driving while black. In the course of his interview with Matt Lauer, aired last night and excerpted on this morning's "Today," Craig tried to play the profiling card.
MATT LAUER: The fact that these motions seemed to replicate a well-established sequence of signals for soliciting anonymous sex, it's a coincidence?
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts, for the second day in a row, intimated that Clarence Thomas was guilty of sexually harassing Anita Hill. Interviewing Anucha Brown-Sanders about her successful harassment lawsuit against New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, Roberts gratuitously segued, "Yesterday, sitting where you are right now, Anita Hill, who was here to talk about what happened 16 years ago when she was brought before the Judiciary Committee, with Clarence Thomas being a nominee for the Supreme Court..." Roberts then asked Browne-Sanders, "Do you think your decision in your court case can have a similar impact?"
Implicit in this question is the idea that Hill’s claims against the now-Supreme Court justice are true. Would Roberts use Clinton-accuser Paula Jones as a similar comparison to a modern case? On Tuesday’s GMA, the ABC host employed the same tactic in the interview with Anita Hill. Roberts sympathetically questioned, "Is it better now in the workplace for women?" Again, this leaves the assumption that for things to be "better," Thomas must have been guilty of making them worse for Hill.
Following ABC’s lead and sixteen years of puffball precedent, a CNN camera crew with an unidentified reporter caught up with Anita Hill in New York City and threw softball questions at her. The interview aired on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room," at the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour. The "unidentified male" used the term "painful" in two of his questions to describe Hill’s past in the Clarence Thomas saga. For example, "Do you think your experience, as painful as it was, changed the society and its approach to this particular issue?" I guess that’s the kind of "withering scrutiny from the press" Robin Roberts was referring to on Tuesday’s "Good Morning America."
The full transcript of the Anita Hill interview from Tuesday’s "The Situation Room:"
Is "The View’s" Joy Behar comparing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to O.J. Simpson? With a comment on the October 2 edition of the women’s chat show, it sounded like it. The "Hot Topic" discussion involved Justice Thomas’ new book "My Grandfather’s Son" and Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations. In that context, Joy Behar offered the following snarky remark.
"Why is he writing this book? He won basically the round. He’s the Supreme Court Justice for life. He should write a book, ‘If I Harassed Her.’"
Presumably she was alluding to O.J. Simpson’s book, "If I Did It." Joy’s comments amused even the show’s "conservative" Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," ABC host Robin Roberts sympathetically interviewed Anita Hill and asserted that her 1991 testimony in front of the Senate resulted in the law professor enduring "withering scrutiny from the press." Roberts also pointedly noted that Hill "passed a polygraph test. Clarence Thomas refused to take one. You passed one." An ABC graphic defiantly observed, "Anita Hill: ‘I Stand by my Testimony’"
The segment on GMA stood in stark contrast to the mostly positive and fair coverage Thomas received on Monday’s "Good Morning America" and "Nightline." (The Supreme Court justice has been promoting his new autobiography.) Reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg allowed Thomas to tell his side of the story and attack accusers, such as when Greenburg noted, "Thomas says he faced more racism in the confirmation fight than he did as a child in the segregated south."
As the MRC’s Tim Graham wrote on Monday, Hill, who accused then Supreme Court nominee Thomas of sexual harassment, hardly suffered through "withering scrutiny" from many media outlets, especially in the wake of the hearings. In early 1992, "60 Minutes" reporter Ed Bradley gingerly asked Hill, "When someone looks at you and sees Anita Hill, what do you want that to mean?"