Associated Press writer Glen Johnson's story on the indictment of a close friend of Salvatore DiMasi, Massachusetts's Democratic Speaker of the House, is the latest in a long line of fairly long stories about Democratic politicians in trouble that fails to identify their party affiliation.
The story names a half-dozen politicians, all of whom are Democrats, without identifying the party of any of them. No variation of the word "Democrat" appears anywhere.
When It's the Democrats, the Media Falls SilentWe are now a week into the wall-to-wall coverage of the tape recorded fall of Senate seat auctioneer and sometime Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. But there has always been a distinctly different tenor from the media in stories involving scandalized Democrats compared to their reports on corrupt Republicans.
During the 2006 mid-term elections, the news world was saturated with talk of a GOP "Culture of Corruption," a Democratic slogan repeated incessantly by the traditional media. The press cast three bad Congressmen and a single scamming lobbyist as representative of an entire Party gone bad, and their incessant drumbeat helped drive the GOP out of power.
Meanwhile, one prominent Democrat after another has been tinged with scandal, but the media has yet to stamp their Party as "Culturally Corrupt."
"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism," the Left was found of reminding us again and again during the Bush administration, particularly after the commencement of hostilities in Iraq. So now that Barack Obama is assuming office on January 20, surely patriotic liberal newspapers like the Washington Post will publish paid classified advertisements by conservatives that are critical of the soon-to-be-inaugurated President Obama, right?
Eh, not so much, reports FishbowlDC, noting that the fine print for the Washington Post's inaugural congratulations classifieds holds that "all ads must be congratulatory in nature" and that the Post "reserves the right to reject any notice."
The notices will appear in the January 20 dead tree edition as well as "online until President's Day."
What a difference an administration makes. During the Bush years, if a spokesman or the president himself attempted to dodge a tough question, the media would go into their Sam Donaldson impressions and pundits would see a conspiracy of silence.
But now that it's Obama, the dodging that was once denounced is suddenly celebrated. Thus, appearing on today's Morning Joe, Larry O'Donnell declared "impressive" Pres.-elect Obama's stiff-arming yesterday of a reporter who dared asked Blago-related questions.
The video clip also includes a gratuitous bit of nastiness from Obama adviser David Axelrod aimed at Mika Brzezinski.
The Chicago company that was the site of a six-day worker sit-in has filed for bankruptcy. Though this appears to have been expected, it seems that many aspects of this story went under-reported or unreported.
The Chicago Sun Times story written by Francine Knowles and Sandra Guy makes it appear that Bank of America, the lender whose refusal to extend a credit line allegedly caused the company's failure, ended up "lending" over $1 million to fired workers (bolds are mine):
President-elect Barack Obama said Monday a review by his own lawyer shows he had no direct contact with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about the appointment of a Senate replacement, and transition aides did nothing inappropriate.
Obama pledged to make the review public, but said he decided to hold off because prosecutors asked for a delay and "I don't want to interfere with an ongoing investigation." U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald released a statement confirming the request.
By contrast, back in October when Gov. Sarah Palin (R) released her own report denying impropriety in her firing of Alaska's public safety commissioner, the AP noted that "Palin Pre-Empts State Report, Clears Self in Probe." As e-mail tipster Matt Healy observed in his e-mail:
There was a fire Friday at Wasilla Bible Church, where GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family are members. The fire did $1 million in damage. The photo at the right is among three that are in a slide show at Wasilla's local paper, the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, whose story is here.
The Washington Post has a short AP story at Page A02 (more on that shortly). The New York Times has nothing about it on its home page. A Times search on "Palin Church" (without quotes) leads to the same AP story; a review of today's print edition shows that the story appears on Page A41.
Does anyone think a similar fire at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, which Barack Obama attended for almost two decades until earlier this year, would have been as quietly covered -- even if Obama had lost?
Maybe it's just as well that the AP's coverage isn't too prominent yet, because Rachel D'Oro's story added an agenda-driven undercurrent in the last excerpted paragraph:
A collection of "The Faces of Political Scandal," assembled by ABC News yesterday (HT to an e-mailer), once again demonstrates the media's relative reluctance to identify the membership of Democrats involved in scandal.
Of the 14 politicians identified, seven are Democrats and seven are Republicans. Five of the seven GOP members are identified as such, while only two of the seven Democrats were flagged. The montage also has a couple of surprising factual errors.
Here's the detail, slide by slide:
Current Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich -- Party not ID'd, while containing a quote with a Republican frame of reference ("Gov. Blagojevich has taken us to a new low," U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said. "This conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.").
More Than Mere Shouting Distance From ObjectivityTom Brokaw's last performance as fill-in moderator of NBC's premier news show, Meet the Press, included a pretty blatant Leftist query. Interviewing President-elect Barack Obama, southpaw Brokaw uncorked a wild one on energy:
"Let's talk for a moment about consumer responsibility when it comes to the auto industry. As soon as gas prices began to drop, consumers moved back to the larger cars once again, the SUVs and the big gas consumers. Why not take this opportunity to put a tax on gasoline, bump it back up to $4.00 a gallon -where people are prepared to pay for that - and use that revenue for alternative energy and as a signal to consumers that these days are gone. We're not going to have gasoline that you can just fill-up for $20 anymore."
Brokaw's last stand as MTP host served as the perfect lead-in to his final official MTP duty -- introducing his permanent successor, longtime NBC and MSNBC White House reporter David Gregory.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested today. The Associated Press's Mike Robinson actually identified "Blago's" party in the third paragraph of his 10:27 a.m. report (link is dynamic; cited report is also here for future reference; underlying news HTs to an e-mailer):
Condensing a December 7 story by Des Moines Register's Grant Schulte on a lawsuit in Iowa that may create same-sex marriage in the Hawkeye State, USA Today's left out the meat of conservative critiques of the lawsuit, citing three supporters of the lawsuit to one conservative critic.
Jonathan Alter was an early accuser of new President George W. Bush when he and VP Cheney began to try to warn the country that an economic downturn was well underway as he was taking office. As Bush tried to warn the nation, the media jumped all over him for "talking down the economy." Yet, as we watch the reporting of Obama's current down talking of the economy, the media has said nothing similar to the condemnation reigned upon Bush.
The myth that people like Alter was pushing in 2001 was that Clinton bequeathed a good economy to Bush, but the reality was that the spiral had already begun to fall into negative territory months before Bush took office. Despite that obvious downturn, the media formed a chorus of attacking Bush for being too negative in the face of the American people. On March 26, Alter unleashed his Newsweek piece headlined "Thanks Ever So Much, President Poor-Mouth." Alter called Bush's warnings "risky and unusual," and made the pronouncement that Bush was wrong to do so. "Even if Bush turns out to be right in his predictions of gloom," Alter wrote, "that doesn't mean he was right to make them."
Attention, y'all in the South: Urban crime is partly your fault.
You see, if you didn't own so many guns, you wouldn't have so many of them stolen or sold at gun shows. Right now, those evil guns cross state lines and get used to commit crimes in urban areas.
I know all of this because the Associated Press's Seanna Adcox, acting as a mouthpiece for the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has told me so (link is dynamic; 2 AM version saved here for future reference):
Report: South a big exporter of guns used in crime
The Columbus Dispatch has done some impressive work exposing the unauthorized and arguably illegal database diving done by State of Ohio employees into the records of Joe the Plumber in October. The rest of Ohio's and the nation's media have been virtually asleep.
In a previous post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Vanessa Niekamp, the state employee who blew the lid off the underhanded undertaking, was virtually unknown, while many other past government whistleblowers have been treated as media heroes.
A story in the Dispatch this morning that should be read in full (HT Michelle Malkin) about Ms. Niekamp's testimony before the Ohio House's Government and Elections Committee reveals just how imperiled she was.
While carrying out a personal order from a superior who was trying to cover his tracks, she was reminded that she was an "unclassified" employee. In plain English, she was threatened with her job if she didn't do what she was told (bolds are mine):
The party-ID treatment of Fabian Nuñez, whose term as California Assemly Speaker ended on May 13, but whose term in the Assembly ended just this past Sunday, was barely better than what Kerry observed in the articles she reviewed yesterday.
Here's the rundown, which I will follow with past examples of obviously disparate treatment of Republican politicians whose sons got into much less trouble with the law:
As we saw on Tuesday, when Chris the Contender gleefully reported on another potential Senate challenge, of current Alaska GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski by her Governor, Sarah Palin. There was just so much wrong with this segment; it was a rich pageantry of ridiculous bias, rank hypocrisy and Matthews's snarkiness and adolescent boy sexual frustration.
I will let the video (located, with the audio, below the fold) speak for and to the entirety of the patheticness, and write further merely to point out some of the more ludicrous highlights.
At first glance, it's hard to figure out who is the bigger buffoon:
Is it Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, for suggesting that Arizona Governor and Obama Homeland Security Secretary-Designate Janet Napolitano is perfect for her presumptive position because she's single and can therefore "have no life"?
Or is it CNN's Campbell Brown, for criticizing Rendell's sexism and bias against employees who don't have families -- after Brown herself suggested in September that Sarah Palin shouldn't have accepted John McCain's vice-presidential nomination because of her daughter's pregnancy?
If Britney Spears wants to launch her grand return with a trite and tacky rough-sex pantomime, I suppose that's her business. She's not known as a pop tart for nothing. What I do find noteworthy is the way GMA celebrated that bit of rough stuff, featuring it in its opening minutes. Even there, it's not ABC's descent into schlock that jumps out so much as the double standard. Can you imagine the dutifully feminist ABC applauding such junk if the gender tables had been turned? Me neither.
Diane Sawyer, uh, teased things during the show opening.
Note to Chris Matthews: when mocking someone for using a ghostwriter, it's best to avoid doing so on a day when Hillary Clinton is prominently in the news . . .
On this evening's Hardball, Matthews went out of his way to mock Joe The Plumber for his use of a ghostwriter on his just-released book. This on the day Hillary Clinton was in the headlines, having been named Barack Obama's Secretary of State. You know, Hillary Clinton. The woman famous, in writing "It Takes A Village," for failing to credit her . . . ghostwriter.
A multitude of organizations, hundreds of thousands of individuals join together to defend the First Amendment from a reinstatement of the so-called "Fairness" Doctrine
Editor's Note: You too can join the Free Speech Alliance. Click here and sign the petition, and stand at the ready for whenever any liberal again threatens the First Amendment with talk of reinstating the Censorship Doctrine.
Spreading the Word The Media Research Center today officially announced the Free Speech Alliance, a gathering of a multitude of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individual citizens dedicated to ensuring that the Censorship Doctrine, mis-named the "Fairness" Doctrine, is never again reinstated.
The Free Speech Alliance member organizations are themselves engaged in a wide array of issues, but they all recognize the preeminent importance of defending the First Amendment and protecting free speech from government censorship, a fundamental Constitutional safeguard.
The Free Speech Alliance member organizations thus far:
In the interview for Wednesday’s Barbara Walters Special on ABC with Barack and Michelle Obama, excerpts of which were also shown on Wednesday’s World News with Charles Gibson, Walters asked few questions that put the Obamas on the defensive, in contrast with her January 2001 interview, aired on 20/20, with then-President-elect Bush in which she challenged him on a number of fronts. Most notably, she seemed to chide Bush for choosing John Ashcroft as Attorney General because he "openly opposes abortion," and claimed that Ashcroft was "not considered a friend to civil rights." She asked Bush about reports that, as governor of Texas, he "spent relatively little time studying specific issues," and "only does a few hours of work" a day. The ABC host also challenged Bush from the left on the trade embargo against Cuba, and even asked Laura Bush if her more "traditional" plans for her time as First Lady would be a "setback for women." It is also noteworthy that Walters asked Bush about his plans for dealing with Saddam Hussein and cited "people in the know" who contended that the Iraqi dictator was "stronger than ever."
YouTube is promoting as its "citizen news report of the day" a video of an alleged attack on Greenpeace activists at a coal plant in Poland. There are two problems with the news judgment behind this video selection.
First, both the initial report on the video and YouTube's description of it overstate what actually happened. Watch the video for yourself and see. Aside from some unjustifiable shoving, kicking of snow and grabbing of signs, there is no attack.
In one instance, the pushing is to get protesters out of the way of an oncoming bulldozer. Another clip appears to show a coal miner helping up a protester who fell, and the Greenpeace activists eventually are allowed to display their "Quit Coal" banners without interference -- presumably on private property where they had no right to be.
But the bigger problem with the news judgment in this case is the blatant double standard at work. Why is YouTube helping to publicize an obscure, pro-environmental protest in Poland while ignoring citizen journalism reports of recent bad behavior by protesters that are far more noteworthy and much closer to home?
In Old Medialand, all it takes for a personal habit -- in this case, exercise -- to go from vice to an overhyped virtue is a change in the party affiliation of the White House occupant.
Yesterday, NB's Tim Graham commented on a puff piece about the Obamas' exercise routines by Associated Press groupie -- er, reporter -- Deanna Bellandi, who characterized the couple as "fabulously fit."
Several NB commenters at Graham's post pointed out that Barack Obama has been smoking cigarettes for years, something Bellandi "somehow" overlooked. Further, Obama has promised to quit, and it's not at all clear that he has.
More to the point, during the Bush presidency, the press treated the current White House occupant's exercise routine quite differently, characterizing it as "creepy," an "obsession," and an "indulgence," even in supposedly objective wire service reports.
ABC Channel 7 in Chicago aired a "Special Report" on Sunday night, November 16, in which they gushed that Michelle Obama was going to "break down barriers" for America's black women. Reporter Cheryl Burton waxed poetic, moon-eyed over the fact that a black woman was soon take her place as first lady of the United States, wife to the president. But, that's just it... wife to the president. Not to belittle the important role that a wife has in a marriage (or a husband has for that matter), and not to diminish the importance of traditional marriage, but a wife is not an elected position. It is not one with the sort of power to be "transformational." On top of that, the role of first lady should not be considered a role with power or one capable of transformation!
To be sure, we have to be honest about the triumphalism on Obama’s behalf and realize that it truly is expected, even healthy. Obama marks the final piece of the puzzle of repairing American race relations. Blacks really have gone from the lowest of chattel slavery to seeing one of their own elected to run the country and we should all marvel at and be grateful for that fact. No one should try to belittle this achievement. But, one must be careful not to make of it more than it is. Obama is not the first piece, but the last. We should not celebrate as if he’s the only good break blacks have ever gotten in the US. To do so belittles all the many examples of progress that came before him. And his wife has no formal part in it at all. She was not elected to first lady and she does not hold an office in government.
The Dallas Independent School District (DISD) has been committing crimes that would cause private companies performing similar acts to be raided and/or shut down: issuing fake Social Security numbers to foreigner with visas and/or illegal immigrants to get them on the payroll.
This is serious stuff. Yet Hobbs and her paper did everything they could to minimize the impact of the story, as seen in these excerpts:
How is it that in this time of historic change and euphoria, the media can remain so pessimistic?
The messiah has been elected, ACORN and Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie are stealing an election in Minnesota, conservatives are going to be silenced via the Fair-Less Doctrine, and gay marriage activists are assaulting the elderly. It is a time of hope and optimism in this, our liberal country.
So, why so negative?
The answer of course is, certain news might be perceived as a positive point in the waning days of the Bush Administration.
Imagine if you will, President Bush or Gov. Sarah Palin saying the following in a sit down interview or a Sunday morning show appearance:
We had a crisis, we kicked it down the can.... These are – just taking those two examples, these are crises you can no longer afford to kick down the can.... The crisis we have here, the American people know we have one and they are ready and willing to start to tackle those problems. You cannot afford now to kick those down the can any longer.
Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann would have their share of guffaws at the gaffe. The Daily Show might use it as a "Moment of Zen" and other broadcast and print outlets would be sure to get their licks in.
Yet neither President George W. Bush nor the Alaska governor said those things. President-elect Barack Obama's chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel did, much to Politico's delight. Yet rather than heap scorn on Emanuel, reporter Carol Lee found the Illinois Democrat's "Rahmbonics" endearing, comparing them favorably to beloved baseball icon Yogi Berra's way with words:
British premier Gordon Brown, a former chancellor of the Exchequer -- analogous to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury -- delivered a thinly-veiled entreaty to President-elect Barack Obama to eschew trade protectionism in a November 10 speech, reports Kevin Sullivan of the Washington Post Foreign Service. Post editors buried Sullivan's 18-paragraph article on page A15:
LONDON, Nov. 10 -- Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday warned that trade protectionism would worsen the global financial crisis, a remark widely perceived as aimed at U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.
In a speech lauding the "global power of nations working together," Brown called for "rejection of beggar-thy-neighbor protectionism that has been a feature in transforming past crises into deep recessions."
Obama's campaign rhetoric struck some allies as protectionist, particularly his calls for tax incentives to discourage companies from relocating jobs away from the United States.