In a remarkable example of "Name that Party," the Associated Press, in an unbylined report about the beginning of his divorce trial appearing in USA Today, failed to name the party of former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey, who resigned in 2005, or of his former "male staffer."
Beyond that, AP did not accurately describe the circumstances that triggered McGreevey's resignation.
Here's how the report began (bold is mine; HT to an e-mailer):
After two tell-all books, tawdry sex claims and 3½ years of living apart, New Jersey's gay ex-governor and his estranged wife showed up for court Tuesday morning to begin the process of ending their marriage.
..... The issues to be decided in the divorce settlement involve custody, alimony and child support, and whether McGreevey, now openly gay, committed fraud by marrying a woman.
As readers of NewsBusters are no doubt aware, we've tracked how the media have regularly refused to acknowledge the political party affiliation of indicted Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D).
Well, today, Associated Press reporter Julie Carr Smyth did acknowledge Kilpatrick is a Democrat, albeit in a roundabout sort of way in an article about Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann being the latest in a series of Democrats to find themselves in legal hot water due to sexual indiscretion.
Oh, you've never heard of Dann? That may be because the Ohio AG's scandal lacks the tech savvy of text messages or the sleaze factor of high-priced call girls. But now that it appears that the nuclear option of impeachment may come into play, Time.com is picking up on AP's May 6 article:
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.
Four, count them, four ABCNews.com reporters hacked out a three-page April 30 article for the alphabet network's Web site that dealt with new steamy text messages between Democratic Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his then-chief-of-staff Christine Beatty. Kilpatrick, indicted on twelve criminal counts including perjury and obstruction of justice, could see time in prison thanks to these text messages which would prove he lied under oath about his affair with Beatty.
Here's how the Kwame Quartet of Vicki Mabrey, David W. Scott, Mary-Claude Foster and Katie Escherich opened their story:
More steamy text messages sent between Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff reveal intimate details about their relationship, and further indicate the mayor played a part in the dismissal of a police officer whose lawsuit brought their affair to light.
When you're a Clintonite, you're a Clintonite all the way. From your first Monicagate defense, To Hil's last primary day.—with apologies to Leonard Bernstein*
Look next to the definition of "Clinton loyalist" in the dictionary, and you're likely to find a photo of Lanny Davis. The man who would have put Baghdad Bob to shame for his unflinching flackery during Bill's Monica mess is back on the beat for Hillary. Yesterday, Davis wrote a HuffPo column purporting to set forth 10 Undisputed Facts showing Obama's weakness as a general election candidate against John Mccain. As Jake Tapper has observed, some of those "facts" are "both disputed and not facts," including the risible notion that Hillary didn't run any negative ads. Guess the commercial featuring Osama Bin Laden slipped Lanny's mind.
Davis was back at it on today's Morning Joe. After repeating his claim from the HuffPo column that Obama is in a dead heat with McCain in super-blue in Massachusetts while Hillary's up by 15%, Davis took his anti-Obama argument a giant step further. Davis claimed that Barack is on track to lose in a blow-out of epic, McGovernesque, proportions.
Well, this time the AP has really done it. Dateline Custer County, Oklahoma: Sheriff Mike Burgess resigns after authorities charged him with running a sex-slave operation out of his jail using female inmates he bribed for the purpose. So, which party did the AP tell us our crafty entrepreneur was from? Well, they seem to have forgotten to mention it... shocking, I know.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to liberal priest, Fr. Thomas Reese, who also appeared on Monday’s show, and asked about the sex abuse scandals in the American Catholic Church as well as the comments of Pope Benedict XVI regarding the issue: "We heard from some victims' families that a mea culpa is not enough. That merely saying you're "deeply ashamed" is not enough. Do you think anything more will come of this?"
This question followed a report by correspondent Jeff Glor, who began by declaring:
It's believed the Pope could address the issue even further on his visit, either here in Washington or in New York, but some are wondering, why not Boston? For Gary Bergeron, the Pope not going to Boston on this trip is like saying the Pope's not Catholic. It just doesn't make sense... Bergeron was abused and still lives in New England, the epicenter of the scandal.
Glor also played clips of Bergeron, who said of the Pope: "I think it's an opportunity he missed...I would hold out my hand to him so that he could shake it, understand that I'm not the demon here." Of course, the Pope has not "demonized" any victims of abuse, but Glor still decided to use the quote for his report. Despite Rodriguez’s claim that "not enough" had been done, Bergeron actually helped win an $85 million dollar lawsuit for church abuse victims and met personally with Vatican officials.
All three broadcast networks on Tuesday led their evening news programs with Pope Benedict XVI’s arrival at Andrews Air Force Base to begin his visit to the U.S., as well as his comments during a press conference on the plane about the priest sex abuse scandal. ABC’s "World News" and CBS’ "Evening News" especially focused on the scandal. In addition to this, "World News" also highlighted what the Pope said about illegal immigration during the press conference and gave a false impression of what the Pope had said on the issue.
ABC correspondent Dan Harris gave the following spin on Benedict XVI’s comments on immigration. "Also on the plane, the Pope addressed another hot issue, immigration. Hispanics are the fastest-growing part of the American church right now, and the Pope said he would discuss this issue with the President, particularly the 'dangerous' impact of families of illegal immigrants being separated."
Cindy McCain granted an interview to Access Hollywood anchor Nancy O’Dell, and NBC’s Today picked right up on it Friday morning – shamelessly repeating O’Dell’s questions recycling the unsubstantiated New York Times story alleging Sen. John McCain had a sexual relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman. (Access Hollywood is produced by NBC Universal.)
Some might wonder why Mrs. McCain would agree to an interview with that topic on the menu, even if she forcefully denied the adultery charges. But here’s where it gets interesting. When Access Hollywood’s Maria Menounos interviewed Hillary Clinton on January 7, Menounos asked softballs, and NBC only used footage of Mrs. Clinton talking about free time on a Saturday: "I find, like, cleaning closets and drawers to be extremely gratifying."
Today led off the show with a plug for the adultery smear, as if it was a hot story, and not a dated embarrassment for the New York Times: "Standing by her man. Cindi McCain speaks out about that report suggesting her husband had an improper relationship with a lobbyist. The candid interview, today, Friday, April 11th, 2008."
About halfway into the 7 am half hour, NBC delved deeper:
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith discussed a question being asked of Chelsea Clinton about Monica Lewinsky on the campaign trail with Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn, who was baffled by the media’s refusal to ask Chelsea tough questions: "Frankly, in all of my years of journalism, I have never seen the press lie down like this before. This is -- this is not what the American public thinks of as the critical and sort of -- killing, marauding, press corps – " Smith responded by admitting that: "Yeah, we're not exactly -- we're not exactly watchdogs here." [Audio available here]
Those comments were sparked by Smith asking Quinn: "As a press, though, we have basically, you know, said, 'okay, if those are the rules, you know, that's fine.' Have we sort of -- you know, have we laid down?"
Prior to talking to Quinn, Smith interviewed the Butler University college student, Evan Strange, who asked Chelsea the question at a campaign forum on campus. Strange, as it turns out, is a Clinton supporter:
On Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to Khym Worthy, the prosecutor in the perjury case against Detroit’s Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and asked about sexually explicit text messages that proved Kilpatrick lied under oath about having an affair: "We know that in these thousands of text messages they talk about being madly in love and dreaming of spending days making love. But texting and actually doing are two different things. Is innuendo evidence?"
Worthy explained that there was vast amounts of other evidence in addition to the text messages and that there were other crimes involved. Rodriguez was incredulous: "Do you really believe someone would go so far to cover up an affair?"
Rodriguez also went on to portray Kilpatrick as the victim of selective prosecution when she asked Worthy: "And so what -- I mean, yesterday you spent 24 minutes when you made this announcement scolding the Mayor for lying. He faces 15 years in prison for perjury alone. Are you trying to make an example?"
Here at NewsBusters yesterday, Brent Baker, Ken Shepherd, and Scott Whitlock noted now the TV networks, with rare exception, avoided calling indicted Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick a Democrat.
On the print and online side of Old Media, the Associated Press also avoided identifying Kilpatrick's party (HT to an anonymous e-mailer). This follows on the heels of another such example almost a week ago.
AP writer Corey Williams, in a 400-plus word article carried at Breitbart and posted just before noon yesterday, missed clear opportunities in at least the first, second, and sixth paragraphs of his report to tell readers that Kilpatrick is a Democrat:
While investigating legal brothels in Nevada, including the famous Moonlite Bunny Ranch, "Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer received a bathrobe, the same one that the prostitutes wear. It was embroidered, "Diane: Trainee," this according to a report in Monday's New York Daily News.
Sawyer will host a two hour "20/20" special onMarch 21 that examines the world of prostitution. The Daily News quoted Bunny Ranch head Dennis Hof, who gave Sawyer the bathrobe, as saying the GMA host "really hit it off with all my girls." The article went on to note that the project languished for two years before finally being scheduled to air. Apparently, disgraced ex-Governor Elliot Spitzer's call girl controversy prompted ABC to finally broadcast this investigation.
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts interviewed Bill Clinton for nine minutes over two segments on Monday and somehow managed to avoid discussing the disgraced Eliot Spitzer and controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Instead, GMA again featured another positive look at the Clinton Global initiative and its plan to fight poverty and get young people involved. Roberts gushed, "It's got to warm your heart 'cause this is something that's very-- has always been very dear to you about getting them involved."
Roberts found no time to ask the ex-president, who was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice in relation to a sex scandal, for his thoughts on former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's entanglement with a prostitution ring and his eventual resignation. The segment, which was highly edited, featured the ABC journalist making only a glancing reference to Wright, Senator Barack Obama's incendiary former preacher and the man responsible for racially charged statements. She mildly added, "...Geraldine Ferraro, Reverend Wright. I mean, both sides-- things that are being said by surrogates." Roberts then shifted the conversation back to a much older topic, Clinton's South Carolina comments linking Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama.
On Monday, the same morning that the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal broke, Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee posted an e-mail from the Associated Press which explained the newswire's policy against blogs using AP photos. The long and short of it: unless you have a license from AP, you're violating copyright to use an AP photo.
But today, blogger Jules Crittenden informed me, the AP is defending its policy of lifting from her MySpace page copyrighted photos of Spitzer call girl Ashley Alexandra Dupre:
My colleague Brent Baker has painstakingly documented how the big three broadcast networks have gone out of their way to avoid labeling scandal-scarred New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a “Democrat.” An examination of the fifteen ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows through Wednesday night finds Spitzer was called a Democrat just 20% of the time — twice on CBS, once on ABC, and never on NBC.
So how do the networks treat Republicans involved in sex scandals? Always, always as Republicans, and as problems for their party.
Last July, Louisiana Senator David Vitter’s name surfaced in the phone records of the “DC Madam,” Deborah Jean Palfrey. Over the next week, ABC talked about Vitter twice on World News and twice on Good Morning America, labeling him as a “Republican” or “conservative Republican” all four times.
Finally: a news network that made Gov. Eliot Spitzer's party affiliation clear. Chances are you've never heard of it, however.
During live coverage of Spitzer's resignation announcement, Washington, D.C.-area News Channel 8 informed viewers of Spitzer's party affiliation in an on-screen graphic reading "Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) NEW YORK." (see screen grab at right)
NewsChannel 8 is carried on D.C.-area cable systems and is owned along with ABC affiliate WJLA by the Allbritton Communications Company.
Maybe it takes one to know one, but CNN is nonetheless a little red in the face over the gaffe of turning to a man with a troubled past in "adult entertainment" -- so to speak -- as an analyst for the Elliot Spitzer prostitution story. CNN has apologized for offering up as an analyst one Kendall Coffey, a fellow who had to resign as a U.S. attorney over an incident in 1996 when he attacked a topless dancer during a visit to an adult club.
When it came to getting informed comment Tuesday on New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's involvement in a sex scandal, CNN got a real expert -- with more experience in the field than he let on. Billing him only as "a former U.S. attorney," without any reference to how he achieved his former-ness, the network interviewed Miami's Kendall Coffey, who had to resign the job in 1996 after biting a dancer during the process of running up a $900 bill at a strip club.
Coffey told CNN that Spitzer should find major trouble with this incident, especially when money changed hands. After all, Coffey ought to know.
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on today's "Fox & Friends" to discuss findings by MRC analysts that Gov. Eliot Spitzer's (D-NY) party affiliation (and Hillary Clinton superdelegate status) has been persistently overlooked in broadcast and print media outlets.:
BOZELL: ABC and then NBC "Nightly News" two days ago, not once mentioned that he was a Democrat. "Good Morning America," not once mentioned that he was a Democrat. ABC nightly news, not once mentioned that he was a Democrat. CBS, one mention on the nightly news, no mention on the morning news. AP did a three-paragraph breaking story, never mentioned that he was a Democrat, then they came out with a full story, never mentioned that he was a Democrat. Last night, NBC, never mentioned he was a Democrat. Last night, ABC never mentioned that he was a Democrat. It is unbelievable.
Co-host Steve Doocy noted that this is not new for the news media, recalling the 2001 Gary Condit saga. Condit, you will recall was suspected in the disappearance of former intern Chandra Levy:
On Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez did a segment on "why powerful men cheat," in the wake of Eliot Spitzer’s sex scandal, and talked to guests Dr. Sari Locker, a sex expert, and Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn, who said of Spitzer’s wife as well as other wives of cheating politician husbands: "The wife is always standing there while the husband is -- is apologizing. And -- I look at those women, and I think they might as well be in Perda, they might as well be Taliban women with scarves over their heads standing there because not once has any woman ever said, this is not acceptable."
Dr. Locker added to the discussion by condemning Spitzer and demanding his wife speak out:
And I'll tell you, I want it to stop because the fact is, in his inauguration speech, Governor Spitzer said that he wants to transform this government into something that is as ethical and wise as all of New York. And as a New Yorker, I'm appalled. And as a woman, though, I want to see his wife also say that she's appalled. So, I think it's time for women to really stop letting this happen.
Quinn later went to explain that some wives of politicians remain silent to hold on to political power, citing one example in particular:
QUINN: ...you know, you have to look at the motivations that the wives -- I mean, a lot of these wives' power is derivative. I mean, for instance, Hillary Clinton would not be running for president if her husband had not been running for president.
In 1,760 words, Tuesday's front page USA Today article on New York Governor Eliot Spitzer never identified him as a Democrat, not even in photo captions, though the online version was updated with his party affiliation, yet described Senators Larry Craig and David Vitter as Republicans in the first mentions of their names in the story. Here's the lead of the hard copy edition delivered to the MRC's offices Tuesday morning:
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was the brash Wall Street corruption buster who made ethics his trademark. He was on many lists of future presidential contenders. On Monday, he apologized after he was accused of meeting a high-priced prostitute in a Washington, D.C., hotel last month.
However, in the online “print edition” posting (not the updated throughout the day USAToday.com site) of the March 11 newspaper, “he” was updated to “the Democrat” so the online version begins:
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was the brash Wall Street corruption buster who made ethics his trademark. He was on many lists of future presidential contenders. On Monday, the Democrat apologized after he was accused of meeting a high-priced prostitute in a Washington, D.C., hotel last month.
Saying that he's "breaking our hearts," Seattle Post-Intelligencer "Big Blog" breaking news editor Candace Heckman is chagrined about the probable demise of Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-N.Y.). Yet while Heckman praised Spitzer as an intrepid friend of Everyman, the populist defender of the masses against powerful Big Business.
Not once did Heckman note Spitzer's party affiliation in her March 11 post (emphasis mine)
Say it ain't so, Eliot! Governor, you're breaking our hearts.
He was once known as the Sheriff of Wall Street, an investigator unafraid of attacking even the most powerful of corrupt institutions and people. He joined Microsoft in taking on spammers, and started criticizing mortgage-lending practices long before the market's recent problems. I mean, if there was a guy to stand behind, it was he.
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a hero to consumer crusaders across the nation, is today the laughing stock for standup comics and barroom hecklers from Flatbush Avenue to Glenoaks Boulevard.
Anti-male sexism once again became a topic on the March 11 edition of "The View." Discussing New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s prostitution scandal, Joy Behar, who called men "idiots" who "think with Mr. Happy," shouted "I am sick of men and their sexual proclivities." Sherri Shepherd quickly responded "don’t put it on men." Elisabeth Hasselbeck noted the prostitute was a woman and "there are two people to blame there, two people that tangoed here." Later in the conversation Behar claimed "I don’t hate men. I hate politicians."
Behar also added "it seems as though power and sex go together with men." She also said she "would like to see a scandal where a woman is getting great sex." Whoopi Goldberg then inquired what kind of reaction would ensue if a female politician was caught with a male prostitute. Behar theorized that "they’d burn her at the stake."
The relevant portions of the conversation are below.
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show"a 1,612 word story on New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s sex scandal did not feature the word ‘Democrat’ even once, nor was the word used in any further coverage of Spitzer during the show. A 'D' did appear briefly next to Spitzer's name on screen at two points during the show, for a total of 14 seconds. In addition, the story portrayed Spitzer as a great crusader against corporate corruption as reporter Jeff Glor explained: "Eliot Spitzer was once called 'Crusader of the Year' by "Time" Magazine...Spitzer built his career by taking down white-collar criminals and righting the wrongs of Wall Street."
During his report, Glor mentioned Spitzer’s "political opponents" calling for the Governor’s resignation making sure not mention those "opponents" were Republicans. At the very end of the segment, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to political correspondent Jeff Greenfield and hinted at Spitzer’s party affiliation as she mentioned that Spitzer was a Hillary Clinton superdelegate: "You're our political guy, so I have to ask you, Eliot Spitzer was a superdelegate for Hillary Clinton. That meant one vote for the nomination towards her. What happens to that head count now?"
A few days before Eliot Spitzer went down in flames, a highly-connected Barack Obama* [Update: Kilpatrick has not committed to Obama] superdelegate was mired in accusations of corruption, bid-rigging and a dead-stripper sex scandal. Usually the media love to report the downfall of party bigwigs, but not in the case of Detroit's youngest mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Much of the media downplayed the mayor's scandals and did not report his party, let alone his status as a Democratic power player who can influence the election.
Kwame, who is the son of Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), is not just any mayor. He was a Democratic rising star, who spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and is the superdelegate to the 2008 convention thanks to his position as Vice President of the Conference of Democratic Mayors.
But now “The First Hip Hop Mayor” is in serious trouble, with members of the city council calling for his resignation. Controversy has engulfed his two terms, and the latest bout involves a report that his wife assaulted a now-dead stripper whose shooting is still unsolved. At the same time, the mayor's longtime pal Bobby Ferguson won at least $45 million in city contracts while reportedly receiving inside information from Kilpatrick and his chief of staff.
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."