Continuing a well-established pattern, the broadcast network evening newscasts all failed to point out the party affiliation of the major New Jersey office-holders amongst the 44 people the FBI arrested Thursday for corruption. As the AP pointed out, all but one are Democrats: “Among the 44 people arrested were the mayors of Hoboken, Ridgefield and Secaucus, Jersey City's deputy mayor, and two state assemblymen. A member of the governor's cabinet resigned after agents searched his home, though he was not arrested. All but one of the office holders are Democrats.”
Nonetheless, CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Deborah Feyerick saw a bi-partisan scandal. In the 5 PM EDT hour of The Situation Room, though five of the six elected officials (including all three mayors and the deputy mayor) are Democrats, Blitzer announced: “Dozens of public figures, including mayors, are caught in a stunning corruption sweep. They belong to both major parties.” From Newark, Feyerick reported “nearly 30 politicians and public officials, Democrats and Republicans, were rounded up in what prosecutors called the largest sweep of its kind.”
On CBS, reporter Kelly Wallace noted: “This is all part of a ten-year public corruption investigation that has already yielded two other high-profile indictments. Officials say some politicians don't seem to be getting the message.” Neither have the media about reporting party affiliation as both of those earlier “high-profile indictments” were of Democrats: Former state Senator Wayne Bryant and Assemblyman Joseph Vas.
Joe Strupp at Editor & Publisher reports the revolving door between the media and government spun wildly out of the New Jersey Star-Ledger: "at least 16 reporters and newsroom staffers at The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., most of whom left the paper in the past year's massive buyout, are now working for public officials or state agencies the paper covers...With 151 newsroom staffers taking buyouts last October, out of 330 total, that figure represents about 10% of the departed reporters, although some left prior to that round of buyouts."
Topping that list is Deborah Howlett, a former statehouse reporter who is now Gov. Jon Corzine’s communications director. However, this is not Howlett’s first job in politics. We at MRC reported in 1990 that before joining USA Today, Howlett, spent four months in 1983 as Press Secretary to Oregon State Senator Margie Hendricksen, a Democrat who later opposed moderate-to-liberal GOP Sen. Mark Hatfield. The Almanac of American Politics blamed Hendricksen's loss on her "consistently liberal views" which, as The New Republic once noted, include favoring unilateral nuclear disarmament.
As the 1980s wound to a close, Howlett sneered at the Reagan '80s in a November 27, 1989 USA Today "news" story: "The '80s were the years of excess. We swaggered through the portals and grabbed as much as we could. We were greedy and gluttonous. As long as we wore starched shirts, we could belch at the dinner table. And Ronald Reagan led us."
In another of a never ending line of self-congratulatory but quickly fading news paper journalists, Newark Star-Ledger writer Paul Mulshine has bravely taken it upon himself to warn us all that we'll miss him and his kind when they are gone. By his kind, of course, he means print journalists.
Mulshine assures us all that, Mencken-like, he feels that the masses are idiots that cannot even pronounce pundit much less spell it well enough to become citizen journalists on the Internet. He is certain that without the assistance of professional journalists we lowly citizens will never be able to find out what's going on in our local governments. This is because, he says, bloggers won't take the time and haven't the ability to, "sit through town-council meetings and explain to you why your taxes will be going up."
Of course, he is completely wrong. Left and right there are many such bloggers doing just that on a daily basis.
The Associated Press's Ed White used almost 700 words in his story (link is dynamic; story in form found at 5:04 p.m. is also here) about the latest developments relating to Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit, and failed to name his party affiliation even once.
Even beyond that, though he did tell readers that Kilpatrick faces a criminal trial for perjury, misconduct, and obstruction of justice, White failed to note that calls for Kilpatrick's resignation, which began in earnest with City Council's 7-1 vote in March, continue to mount.
Old Media business reporters have a definitionally-incorrect habit of labeling single industries or economic sectors as being "in recession," when the term, as defined here, can only describe national economies or the world economy. Two examples of this are New York Times reporter David Leonhardt's description of manufacturing as being in recession in February 2007 (laughably incorrect, in any event), and the Times's employment of the term "housing recession" 25 times since October 2006, as seen in this Times search (with the phrase in quotes).
But if I wanted to be consistent with this routine form of journalistic malpractice, I would characterize the newspaper business -- at least in terms of the top 25 in the industry's food chain -- not as being in recession, but instead as going through a deep, dark, painful, protracted depression.
A piece of artillery that was apparently misfired by the military crashed through the roof of a New Jersey home miles away Friday and injured a young girl's cat, which had to be euthanized, officials said.
Picatinny officials told The Star-Ledger of Newark they were investigating. The base had been conducting tests Friday, and it wasn't immediately clear what type of artillery hit the home.
In a post mockingly titled "Watch out for flying artillery," blogger Domenico Bettinelli mocked the reporter's complete lack of dictionary skills:
Former Atlantic City Mayor Robert Levy (D) pleaded guilty today to lying about his military service in order to obtain financial benefits to which he was not entitled. Levy is a Democrat, but keeping with AP tradition, his party affiliation was not disclosed in Geoff Mulvihill's 8-paragraph article "Former Atlantic City Mayor Pleads Guilty." (h/t NewsBusters reader Martin Edward)
On October 21, the New Jersey Family Policy Council held a protest against "same-sex marriage" in state capital of Trenton, but no one in the media seemed to notice the hundreds of citizens who showed up. On October 27, 150 protesters in Camden, New Jersey protested the Iraq War. Yawn? Not if you’re the Camden Courier-Post, which covered the liberal protest, and ignored the conservative one.
Reporter Lavinia deCastro wrote:
About 150 people stood in the rain in front of the Walt Whitman Arts Center in Camden on Saturday morning to participate in an anti-war rally that started in South Jersey and ended in Philadelphia. It was part of a nationwide "Day of Mobilization to End the War in Iraq."
It's time for 'Name That Party' again. The besieged mayor of Atlantic City, Robert Levy, resigned today after allegations of claiming false military benefits, according to his lawyer. The lawyer also gave a reason for Levy's disappearance.
Attorney Edwin Jacobs said that the mayor had been undergoing treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues since city officials last heard from him Sept. 26.
However, according to the story in the Los Angeles Times, there were even larger reasons for Levy's disappearance- he was under investigation by Federal officials for falsely claiming military benefits to which he had no right. The Times reported,
Federal officials have been looking into whether Levy, 64, lied about his service in order to increase his veteran's benefits. The mayor was in the Army for 20 years -- serving two tours of duty in Vietnam -- and received numerous medals, awards and citations, Jacobs said.
Democratic mayor Robert Levy, accused of being a phony soldier of sorts, went AWOL on September 26, failing to report to work on behalf of the citizens of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Reported the AP in an October 9 article:
Levy has been mired in scandal for nearly a year.
Last fall, the Press of Atlantic City reported that the Vietnam veteran's claims that he was a member of the Green Berets were untrue. He apologized.
But federal authorities have been looking into whether the 64-year-old Levy made that claim to increase his veteran's benefit payments.
Hmm, no party label? Even though this is not just resume embellishment but a possible case of veterans benefits fraud?
Imagine this scenario: A Republican Mayor of a famous city lies about his service in Vietnam and is caught at it but before that revelation comes to light he was already in trouble as he was about to be recalled by the citizenry for commonly being absent at city council meetings. What's more he also presides over a city council that has several members under investigation for sexual misconduct, drunk driving and at least one recent council member who is in jail serving a conviction for bribery. Imagine how the MSM would howl over the Republican "culture of corruption?" And yet, this scenario that I describe actually exists with but one small alteration in the particulars. The mayor in question actually exists. His city council is as corrupt as I describe. Only the mayor is a Democrat instead of a Republican... not that the MSM seems to have noticed.
Once again, the AP seems to have forgotten to mention the party affiliation of a wretchedly corrupt Democrat who is under fire for his perfidy.
Rutgers University is known as the birthplace of college football, but in the last few weeks it’s seemed more like the deathplace of sportsmanship. On September 7, Rutgers hosted Navy’s football team. What respect was shown in the wake of the Midshipmen’s forthcoming service to the country and the approaching September 11 anniversary? The rowdy student fans of Rutgers hurled obscenities at Navy, thoroughly embarrassing their college and their town.
Rutgers won the game, but lost any sense of honor and decency. Navy was booed and peppered with "You suck!" chants when they stepped on the field to start both halves. When Navy kick returner Reggie Campbell came up limping after a tackle, students chanted, "You got f--ed up! You got f--ed up! You got f-ed-up!" Toward the end of the second half, Rutgers students in began to serenade an adjacent section of Navy fans and uniformed Midshipmen: "‘F-- you, Navy! F--you, Navy! F-- you, Navy!’"
The indicted former Newark Mayor and current NJ state Senator Sharpe James sure is mysterious. According to the New York Times, WNBC and via the AP, the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, Philadelphia Inquirer and the UK's Guardian, among others, James seemingly does not belong to a political party. Maybe he belongs to the same non-party as Rep. William Jefferson who was indicted on corruption and bribery charges earlier this year (hat tip to a NewsBusters reader):
Strangely, after a little digging, I discovered that James is a Democrat and that according to the prosecution, some of his alleged expenses included costly trips to Jamaica, Rio de Janeiro and Puerto Rico on the taxpayer's dime, as well as letting a girlfriend buy city property at bargain-basement prices.
A cartoon in the May 13 "Sunday Briefing" on page F2 of the Washington Post furthered a left-wing talking point against "Big Oil" that a comprehensive study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) debunked last year: that oil companies artificially manipulate gas prices by squeezing supply.
A cartoon from the Newark Star-Ledger's Drew Sheneman depicts a man fueling his car asking a cigar-smoking "Oil Co." representative, "Why do gas prices always go up right before the summer vacation season?" "Coincidence," replies the oil executive, as he stands atop the fuel line, bottlenecking the gas on its way to the motorist's car. The price atop the pump reads $3.50.
The implication, of course, is that the petroleum industry artificially bottlenecks supply to jack up fuel costs.
But that's not true, previous probes into allegations of price gouging have determined, including a May 22, 2006 FTC study of post-Hurricane Katrina gas prices.
Among the major conclusions, the FTC post-Katrina found:
Yahoo picked up a fluff AP article that distorted Democratic NJ Governor Jim McGreevey’s 2004 resignation. It perpetuated the success of what should have been a politician’s attempt to cover allegations of corruption by using his closeted sexuality to distract an incurious and complicit media. This puff piece kept alive McGreevey’s pattern of announcing something socially startling to draw attention away from the incredible graft, scandal and alleged sexual harassment that would have otherwise defined his administration. When threats to McGreevey's reputation arise, he uses his status as a gay man to deflect unwanted attention, and the AP went along with it by reporting this latest “shocker” and omitting his political affiliation while identifying his opponents’ party (emphasis mine throughout):
Jim McGreevey has gone from altar boy to mayor to the nation's first openly gay governor.
From the moment he stood at a podium in 2004 and announced he was a "gay American" who was resigning because of an affair with a male staffer, people wondered what McGreevey's next act would be.
Now we know: He wants to become a preacher and a teacher.
In a stunning news conference in August 2004, then-Governor Jim
McGreevey (D-NJ) acknowledged that he was "a gay American" and announced he
was stepping down as chief executive of the Garden State. At the time
McGreevey had some dark clouds hanging over his governorship, but the
gay subplot distracted media attention from his ethically-plagued
Standing by his side throughout the press conference was the wife and mother of his child, Dina Matos.
Now McGreevey wants his wife to pony up child support. You just can't pass up a story like that, so the Associated Press filed a story.
curiously, McGreevey's party affiliation went unmentioned. Also left
out of the article, McGreevey's sexual
advances on aide Golan Cipel, an Israeli citizen, was hardly scratching the surface of the scandal. Rather than a simple case of sexual harassment at the very least, Cipel's hire for a key homeland security post was inadvisable from the start. Cipel, it turns out, was granted the security-sensitive
post without the proper scrutiny. Indeed, Cipel, an Israel citizen, didn't even have an FBI clearance.
The Washington Post placed a Republican Senate challenger on the front page of Monday's Style section, but David Segal's profile of New Jersey's Tom Kean, Jr. compared the candidate to a murderous Los Angeles street gangster: Kean, "who looks like a Mountie and fights like a Crip, isn't selling honesty and integrity so much as a brand name that represents honesty and integrity." Like other liberal reporters, Segal asserted it was too "complicated" to state that Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez is under federal investigation, and began the article by joking that if you took a drink every time Kean mentions federal investigation, "you would be drooling drunk 10 minutes after meeting the guy."
Segal, who is usually the rock-and-pop music critic for the Post -- but like many liberal media types, worked at the liberal magazine The Washington Monthly before hitting the major leagues -- started with an entertainment writer's breezy attack style:
Aren’t reporters supposed to nail facts down for the public? On Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, reporter Chip Reid explored the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey, but could not explain to viewers whether or not Sen. Bob Menendez is under federal investigation. "It’s not entirely clear who’s right," Reid claimed. As Menendez denounced Republican opponent Tom Kean Jr. for "the politics of smear," Reid seemed unable to declare a basic fact local media outlets have repeated for weeks: federal investigators subpoenaed a Menendez tenant’s leasing agreement with Menendez. NBC doesn’t even seem to trust its own New York affiliate WNBC to locate the facts, even though it broke the subpoena story in September.
While the national media begin to revisit the "corruption" issue -- largely as a Republican problem, as you can see from Monday's front page Washington Post story on GOP Sen. Conrad Burns -- it's important to remember where Democrats could have problems. Take appointed Sen. Bob Menendez, who's now the subject of a federal investigation for accepting $3,000-a-month rent from a group he's also sought to enrich with federal funding. NRO blogger Jim Geraghty reported:
So here outside Philly, we're getting New Jersey political ads, too, including one for Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, that features him in a courtroom. Oh, no, wait, it's not what you're thinking - he's not a defendant, he's touting his credentials fighting political corruption, not facilitating it.
The Washington Post's political feature writer Mark Leibovich today reports on the jostling to succeed Sen. Jon Corzine in New Jersey, headlined "For Sen. X, D-N.J., the Line Forms to the Left." But the ideological label that might be expected in the text, Democrats on the "left," or "liberals," are never used.
Since Corzine is now Governor-Elect, he can select his successor until next November. (This doesn't always go well: ask Sen. Sheila Frahm or Sen. Bob Krueger). But c'mon, Post people, some of the applicants have liberal voting records, if you check ACUratings.com. Donald Payne has a lifetime ACU rating of 3 percent out of 100, Rush Holt has an 8, Frank Pallone has a 15, Bill Pascrell has an 18. Finally, the two I've seen mentioned in the national press the most, and occasionally tagged as centrists or moderates, are Bob Menendez (11) and Rob Andrews (19). The most amusing part of the article is how Sen. Chuck Schumer (head of the Senate Democrats' campaign committee) interviewed applicants as if he had some role in Corzine's decision. Leibovich notes:
Do the votes in New Jersey and Virginia signal a "Republican unraveling," as the Times suggests, or is the paper just promoting wishful Democratic thinking?
Thursday's "House Shelves Plans for Alaska Drilling" by Carl Hulse is ostensibly about the issue raised in the headline, but much of it harps on the Republican losses in Tuesday's elections (even though the party didn't actually lose any seats). The text box argues: "A concession adds sting to Republican election losses."
Actually, if current returns hold up, Republicans actually made gains in the two contested states by unseating Virginia's Democratic Lt. Governor and narrowly retaining the Attorney General slot.
New Jersey and Virginia's tradition of odd-year elections for governor give the media ample fodder for speculation on how Democrats and Republicans will perform in future congressional and presidential elections. But for the New York Times, the Democratic successes of 2005 seem to have far more significance than did the Republican successes of 1993 and 1997.
In 1997, New Jersey's Republican governor Christine Whitman won a close race for re-election, while Republican James Gilmore won in Virginia. The Republican successes in Bill Clinton's second term, when he wasn't up for reelection, were downplayed by the Times two days afterward in a headline: "With Big Issues Absent, The Little Things Count." Reporter Richard Berke didn't see any political significance at all: "Forget the post-mortems about ideological shifts, Republican revivals or which candidate had the most money. The legacy of the off, off-year elections on Tuesday may simply be this: Think small."
Bloggers are beginning to speculate about a new scandal that may effect New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Jon Corzine. Enlighten-New Jersey writes of an allegedly damaging videotape that may surface within the next few days. At this point the story involves nothing more than speculation.
Whether or not the story is true, the MSM's silence is significant. Had this story related to a Republican, every morning talk show would be speculating about it. The MSM had Rove convicted of outing a spy more than two years ago. The same shows have been speculating about secret grand jury proceedings for weeks.
When it was revealed that conservative columnist Armstrong Williams had received payments for advocating certain positions of the Bush administration, the MSM and the left had a field day. Williams was forced to defend himself on the morning talk shows and was parodied by syndicated cartoons. Most conservatives also rightly criticized Williams.
But now the Newark city council has awarded a $100,000 no-bid contract for the Newark Weekly News to publish only the good news about Newark and the city government. James Taranto has provided mild criticim, based mostly on the newspaper's amateurish content. Enlighten-New Jersey provides broader context: