Update at bottom of post: Williams responds (18:24 EDT)
I have to hand it to the AP this time. They actually noted the political party affiliation of another Democrat in legal hot water. So did CNN.com and Reuters.
But for some reason, MSNBC's Pete Williams left out the party affiliation of Louisiana's Rep. William Jefferson (D) in this March 31 item at the First Read blog:
In something of a surprise, the U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear an appeal involving the FBI's unprecedented search of the Capitol Hill offices of Congressman William Jefferson.
A federal appeals court ruled that the FBI wrongly used its own agents look through the material seized to determine what might be covered by congressional privilege. This is a considerable victory for Jefferson, largely validating his objections to the search and giving him certain bragging rights. But prosecutors claim they have sufficient evidence independent of the search. The cash in his freezer, for example, was found well before Jefferson's offices were searched.
On Monday night, the CBS Evening News failed to identify Kwame Kilpatrick as a Democrat in reporting criminal charges filed against the Detroit Mayor, but on Friday night the same anchor, Harry Smith, used the very first word, of his introduction to a story on another politician in criminal trouble, to name the party:
Republican Congressman Rick Renzi of Arizona goes on trial next month, charged with using his office to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars. He denies breaking any laws, but the indictment spells out a string of alleged dirty deals.
A little under two years ago, then-CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer avoided the party affiliation of a Democratic Congressman in introducing a Monday, May 22, 2006 story:
The government says FBI agents videotaped Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson taking $100,000 in cash from an informant and later found $90,000 in his home freezer. But Jefferson said today he will not resign from Congress and he said he thought it inappropriate for the FBI to search his Capitol office this weekend. To the surprise of some, the Senate Republican leader said he too has concerns about the search.
Agence France-Presse, in a report on Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on Pennsylvania's death row for over twenty-five years for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981, referred to the cop killer as a "human rights campaigner." Abu-Jamal, whose birth name is Wesley Cook, had his murder conviction upheld by a panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, but the court also decided that either he must receive a life sentence, or receive a new sentencing hearing.
AFP’s headline for their report read, "US court overturns rights campaigner’s death penalty," and its opening sentence referred to "the death sentence passed against human rights campaigner Mumia Abu-Jamal." In its closing sentence, AFP referenced how Abu-Jamal "became a leading campaigner against the death penalty" while on death row.
The Associated Press, reporting the indictment of Puerto Rico Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila (pictured at right via AFP/Getty Images file photo) failed to note Vila is a Democrat, let alone that he is an Obama superdelegate.
But Vila's party affiliation is hardly a state secret. Indeed, ABC's Jake Tapper noted the Obama connection on his Political Punch blog this morning:
From windy Washington, D.C., to sunny Palm Beach, Florida, the liberal print media are refusing to note the liberal bent of an interest group vocal in the health care debate.
The March 26 edition of the Palm Beach Post -- a broadsheet notorious to conservatives for its unbalanced treatment of Rush Limbaugh -- featured not one but two articles which pushed government-run universal health care. In both of them, the Post asserted that Floridians are dying daily due to a lack of health care coverage.
The source for the Post’s assertion was a recent study by the liberal group Families USA. Not surprisingly, the Post described the organization as simply a “nonpartisan” group that advocates for “comprehensive health care” while conveniently leaving out the group’s liberal tendencies, its support of socialist-style universal healthcare and that its political allies include liberal Democratic politicians such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.)
If you ask the average man on the street, regardless of his religion, he'd probably tell you that anyone who would disrupt an Easter Mass with a political protest -- complete with stage blood and attempted "die-in" -- is a jerk with little if any reverence for God or the sanctity of a church as a place of worship.
But according to the Chicago Tribune's Manya Brachear the so-called Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War are representative of a "frustrated faction" of Catholic faithful (emphasis mine):
Cardinal Francis George has long opposed politics at the communion rail. But Sunday’s anti-war protest at the start of his Easter homily spotlighted a frustrated faction in the Roman Catholic church who believe committed Catholics must do more than preach and pray for peace.
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:
Two weeks since the ABC and NBC evening shows took multiple days before getting around to informing viewers that disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer belonged to the Democratic Party -- after every ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news program last year immediately highlighted the party of Republican Senators David Vitter and Larry Craig -- Monday's broadcast network evening newscasts all failed to note, verbally or on-screen, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's party.
ABC anchor Charles Gibson announced on World News: “Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged today with felonies that could cost him his job and 15 years in prison.” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams relayed how “Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick...was indicted on perjury and other charges in the wake of a sex scandal there.” (NBC also refused to tag Kilpatrick in a full story aired Friday night.) Over on Monday's CBS Evening News, fill-in anchor Harry Smith introduced a full story: “In Detroit, a sex scandal led to criminal charges today against the Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, a married father of three.”
The rantings of Barack Obama's pastor sound strange to most Americans, Christian or non-Christian, black or white. Yet to some in the media, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's preaching is in the "mainstream" of Christian doctrine.
Take the Chicago Sun-Times's David Roeder, reporting on Trinity United Church of Christ's (TUCC) Easter Sunday service:
Theirs is a mainstream Christian theology, but shaped by oppression that they feel yields a connection to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. It's a church they said most Americans could embrace if they only got beyond media sound bites.
Roeder noted that TUCC, as it proudly declares on its Web site, is "Unshamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian." The TUCC Web site also celebrates the church's identity as "an African people" that "remain[s] 'true to our native land,' the mother continent, the cradle of civilization."
Now, of course, there's a wide array of debate among "mainstream" Christians over varying points of Christian doctrine, both between and within denominations, but the notion of ethnocentric identity within the church itself is alien to the preaching and teaching with which most American Christians, black or white, would be familiar:
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo somehow managed to make it through an entire segment on Kwame Kilpatrick, the scandal-ridden Democratic mayor of Detroit, without mentioning his political affiliation (other than a brief, non-verbal video graphic). Cuomo described Kilpatrick as the "beleaguered mayor," a "prominent politician," and, simply, "the mayor."
In contrast, while GMA's report on Kilpatrick was a rather straight forward recitation of the facts, the morning program wondered in August of 2007 if Senator Larry Craig's bathroom scandal could spell doom for the Republican Party. On August 28, 2007, guest co-host Bill Weir gravely wondered, "Is the GOP losing its grip?"
The week after it took the NBC Nightly News until the fourth day of coverage to inform viewers that disgraced then-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is a Democrat, Friday's NBC Nightly News ran a full story on the scandalous behavior surrounding Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, but never identified his political party. Naturally, given the lack of a party identification by the mainstream media journalists, he's a Democrat. Anchor Brian Williams set up the story:
The city of Detroit is in a crisis over government and leadership. The current Mayor is just the latest Detroit Mayor elected on a promise to clean up and revitalize the city. Now he's been caught in a sex scandal, a trail of electronic messages reportedly provides the evidence, it threatens his career and then some.
Reporter Kevin Tibbles, also sans any mention of a party affiliation, outlined:
The Detroit city council votes overwhelmingly to ask the Mayor to resign. 37-year-old Kwame Kilpatrick, in his second term of the Mayor of the Motor City, is mired in financial, political, and personal scandal, but refuses to budge.
When is a terrorist simply an aged "radical" to the Los Angeles Times? When the terrorist is Kathleen Soliah, who in her glory days was a "fetching high school pep-squad member turned fugitive." Soliah was a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a group that plotted to blow up Los Angeles Police Department cruisers in the 1970s.
Here's how Times staff writer Joel Rubin opened his March 21 story on Soliah's recent release from prison:
Kathleen Soliah, a former member of the radical Symbionese Liberation Army, was released on parole this week from a California women's prison after serving about six years behind bars for her role in a plot to kill Los Angeles police officers by blowing up their patrol cars.
The white-haired convict, who has changed her name to Sara Jane Olson, had been sentenced to 12 years in prison. Like most California inmates, Soliah earned credit against her sentence for working while in prison. She served on a maintenance crew that swept and cleaned the main yard of the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, prison officials said.
The media just won't identify Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's party or his high-powered political connections, now that he is knee-deep in scandals. This March 19 New York Times article is no different. Recently, 14,000 text messages were discovered that indicate he lied under oath in a whistleblower trial to avoid admitting he used his police security detail to cover up an affair with his female chief of staff.
The NYT also didn't mention that, as the son of Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), the mayor was a Democratic rising star. He spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and more importantly, as Vice President of the Conference of the Democratic Mayors, Kilpatrick will be a Barack Obama* [Update: Kilpatrick has not committed to Obama] superdelegate at the 2008 convention. Resigning as mayor could affect his superdelegate status. Considering the tight race, isn't this news?
There was recently a brief flurry of a few incorrect labels of [former] NY Governor Eliot Spitzer -- noting him as a Republican. Perhaps the most inventive excuse for that mistake comes from Reuters via Newsbusters reader Doug M. Doug had sent an e-mail inquiring as to why Spitzer was mislabeled in this story. Here's the response from Reuters' Vincent Baldino:
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you but I wanted to look into this. Our online photo editor just got back to me and confirmed that the (R) means that he is the person on the right side of the photo. It has nothing to do with democrat or republican.
Take a look at the picture and corresponding caption again. Being that onlySpitzer and his wife are in the photo, why is it even necessary to indicate that the former governor is "on the right"? Doesn't "wife" denote "female?" Where else could Eliot Spitzer possibly be but on the right? In addition, wouldn't "(at right)" be the common method of indicating direction in a photograph?
You be the judge on whether Reuters' excuse holds any water.
As the ongoing Tony Rezko trial yields more news of corruption, once again the mainstream media aren't identifying the party affiliation of the Democratic perpetrators. This time, the culprit is the Chicago Tribune in an article regarding a witness testimony that Alderman Richard Mell, father-in-law of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, hoped to receive kickbacks from an insider deal at a state pension fund. The article goes on to describe this new information along with the details of the deal for which Mell hoped.
The Tribune also noted that this finding adds to the "Mell-Blagojevich relationship that has devolved to downright dysfunctional in recent years."
Yet despite running a thirty paragraph article over two pages, the Tribune failed to recognize either Mell or Blagojevich are Democrats.
Like Colored and MindedThis is past a bit ridiculous, is it not?
Agence France-Presse (AFP) yesterday disseminated to its client list a headline and photograph caption labeling sex scandalized and self-ousted New York Governor Eliot Spitzer an (R), when he is in fact a (D) -- emocrat.
They then responded -- to correspondence on the subject of their error and the error itself -- rather meekly.
AFP having only corrected their copy -- leaving myriad errors strewn throughout the print and web worlds -- left wide open the possibility that others would follow their poor suit.
Not Minding Their Ps & QsWe on Thursday brought you the Agence France-Presse (AFP)'s ludicrous labeling of self-ousted New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as an (R). This after a week's worth of the Gong Show Media's failure or utter refusal to ascribe any Party affiliation to the man.
Well, we have heard word from the horse's ... mouth.
DScott, an intrepid NewsBusters participant, contacted AFPto point out their inanity. And in the wee small hours of Friday morning -- they wrote back.
DScott was generous enough to share it with us, and we now, in turn, share it with you:
Contemplating the SwitchThose of us who have been participating in the Eliot Spitzer Media Waiting Game -- halting our respitory activity in anticipation of the Jurassic Press actually ascribing Party affiliation to the recently resigned Big Apple Governor -- can finally breathe easy.
The Agence-France Presse and Yahoo! have teamed up to finally do what's right.
Democrats dialing for damsels don't get labeled with the big "D"
Changing His MindRonald Reagan often said "I did not leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me."
For floundering and foundering New York Governor Eliot Spitzer -- a twist on the Gipper's words. Spitzer didn't leave the Democratic Party: the Media just didn't see the need to mention the fact that Spitzer was - at least until noon Wednesday -- one of the most powerful Democrats in the nation.
On Monday afternoon, the Big Three Networks (NBC, ABC and CBS) and the Associated Press led the charge of the wall-to-wall coverage of the breaking news that Spitzer was involved with an interstate prostitution ring. And with near unanimity they failed to mention that Spitzer is a Democrat.
Spitzer - who since his years as the Big Apple's swashbuckling anti-capitalist Attorney General the Press has glowingly called the Champion of the Everyman -- was caught on one or more wiretaps dialing for damsels to the tune of $5,500 an hour.
Only the press can fail to see the irony of calling someone who inherited $500 million - and who hires ladies of the evening at hourly rates equal to a semester's tuition at a state university - a champion of the everyman.
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.
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:
We've written at NewsBusters at how reticent the Associated Press is to note the Democratic Party affiliation of controversial or disgraced politicians, the latest of which is New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. But right off the bat the AP yesterday disclosed the party affiliation of an Oklahoma state legislator strongly critical of gay rights activists.
OKLAHOMA CITY – A Republican member of the Oklahoma Legislature has received death threats since telling a political group that "the homosexual agenda is just destroying this nation" and poses a bigger threat to the U.S. than terrorism or Islam.
"I'm not gay-bashing. But according to God's word that is not the right kind of lifestyle," Rep. Sally Kern of Oklahoma City said during an appearance before a group of Republicans. Her comments were recorded and posted on the video sharing Web site YouTube on Friday by the Washington, D.C.-based Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
The AP made certain to stack the article with critics of Kern, one of whom called Kern's comments "hate speech":
NewsBusters Associate Editor Noel Sheppard appeared on the March 10 "Glenn Beck" program on CNN Headline News to discuss the left-wing Web's recent smear of the radio host. Beck was taken out of context for comments he made about Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). [See Sheppard's related March 8 blog entry here.]
GLENN BECK, host: Noel Sheppard is the associate editor of newsbusters.org, a conservative watchdog of the liberal blogs. Noel, you apparently did a Google search on this story. How out there is my bigotry?
NOEL SHEPPARD, Associate Editor, NewsBusters.org: Well, I Googled "Glenn Beck," "Obama" and "Anti-Christ," and I got 744,000 hits. Now, that doesn't mean that there's been 744,000 articles already written about this. That`s a little bit nuts.
ABC News has a photo montage of political sex scandals, featuring both Republicans and Democrats. But a few bloggers have noted that the captions for these photos often ignore the Democratic Party affiliation of Democrats while highlighting the GOP affiliation of Republican.
Out of 13 pols featured, there were five Democrats, four of whom (80 percent) were unidentified by party. Of the eight Republicans, only two (25 percent) were unidentified by party. Jay Tea at Wizbang has the breakdown here:
Here's a rundown of the disgraced pols, with party affiliations as ABC notes:
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.
Incredibly, in lead stories Monday night about New York Governor Eliot Spitzer being linked to a prostitution ring, neither ABC's World News nor the NBC Nightly News verbally identified Spitzer's political party. Must mean he's a liberal Democrat -- and he is. CBS anchor Katie Couric, however, managed to squeeze in a mention of his party. Last August when news of Larry Craig's arrest broke, both ABC and NBC stressed his GOP affiliation.
On ABC, the only hints as to Spitzer's party were a few seconds of video of Spitzer beside Hillary Clinton as they walked down some steps and a (D) on screen by Spitzer's name over part of one soundbite. NBC didn't even do that.
While ABC and NBC failed to cite Spitzer's political affiliation in the four minutes or so each network dedicated to the revelations, both managed to find time to applaud his reputation and effectiveness as the Empire State's Attorney General before becoming Governor. Fill-in ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas hailed how “he gained a reputation around the country for aggressively cracking down on corporate corruption. He was elected Governor with a reputation for fighting crime.” ABC reporter Dan Harris maintained “Governor Spitzer is known as a straight arrow, an ambitious overachiever...” Substitute NBC anchor Ann Curry pointed to how Spitzer's “reputation for righteously prosecuting wrongdoing gave him the nickname Eliot Ness.”
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: