AP: Tenn. Pol. Pleads Guilty to DUI... Democrat or Not?

You know, if the Associated Press ever straightens up and starts reporting the news like a truly unbiased news agency it would ruin our little game of "Democrat or Not?" Fortunately for us, it doesn't seem like the AP is going to go legitimate any time soon and our little game can go on ad infinitum. Today our game is being hosted in the Tennessee House of Representatives where State Representative Bob Briley pleaded guilty to a DUI from last September.

The AP gives us the low down on the lowlife with all the details... except one.

State Rep. Rob Briley of Nashville has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and property damage prior to leading authorities on a high-speed chase last September... Authorities said he struck the rear of a truck and then left the scene.

Now, you know how our game is played. We find a story about a politician who breaks the law or is caught up in some criminal activity or scandal. Then we canvass several stories to see how often the press mentions the party affiliation of the perp in question. Usually, if it is a Democrat, the party is rarely mentioned, if a Republican from that "culture of corruption" we are all so familiar with... well, not surprisingly, Republicans are pegged to their party in almost every case.

Admittedly, this particular story is not the stuff of national news. A local pol gets popped for a DUI and a hit and run -- not really very big stuff there. Most of the published stories about Rep. Briley's DUI have come from inside the state. And so far, the only outside news source that has mentioned this newest story is the AP. Naturally, as is their wont, the AP does not mention the fact that Bob Briley is a Democrat.

Now the local sources don't often mention Briley is a Dem either, but It may be unsurprising that a local news source wouldn't mention the party of an accused or convicted politician. Perhaps they might expect the locals to already know such information? Still, it is amusing that they don't treat Republicans with such expectations. Whether the people know the politician in question or not, he is nearly always called a Republican should he happen to be one. But, being a national news service, the AP couldn't expect everyone to just know that Briley is a Democrat. The AP should have mentioned the man's party. Of course, they did not.

Both WREG TV and WTVF TV do not mention Briley's party. Neither did several of the Nashville newspapers back in September.

So, there you have it. Once again, the news about a criminal politician receives the party whitewashing that nearly every Democrat gets in such a time of trials and convictions.

For a little bonus in our game, here is excerpts of the speech Briley delivered last January on the floor of the House in Nashville where he promised that he was going to "get help" for his "alcohol addiction."

"While it is somewhat difficult for me to stand here today I welcome the opportunity to do so. I have made some notes ... but mostly I just want to speak from the heart. ... Last year I did some things that I’m not proud of. And I think most of you all know what I’m talking about. In fact my behavior at times was nothing short of irresponsible and reckless.

"Fortunately, I’ve been able to grow and change from that experience in a way that I believe God sees fit for me today. I’m not going to get into the details of what happened last year. That has been reported frequently enough by my friends in the media. And there’s no need to revisit those facts today. There is one fact that I do want to mention this morning. I’m an alcoholic. I’m neither proud of that fact or ashamed of it. It’s just a fact and I’ve had to deal with that disease my entire adult life. Many of you have gotten to see the face of alcoholism that lives inside me at many times and I’m not proud of that either. Sometimes I wish I could blame all my problems and my behaviors on alcoholism but I should not, could not and I will not do that. I committed those acts, that was my behavior and I’ve taken responsibility for it. I can’t blame it on my alcoholism. ...

"In short, members of the House, there’s I no fancy way for me to say this to you. I’m sorry and I thank you. ... I’m sorry that I have embarrassed you in any way. Mostly however, I’m sorry for the damage and harm that I have caused this great institution. Today I stand before you and humbly ask for your forgiveness. I also want to say thank you for the thoughts and prayers that everytone has shown me over the past couple of months. I’m living proof that prayer works. ...

"There is nothing I can say here in this well that will make amends for the things that I’ve done. That can only be done by my actions, my actions in the days and weeks to come as I try to regain your confidence."

He really, really is sorry, ya know?

Anyway, thanks for playing "Democrat or Not?" Tune in next time for more criminal politicians who might be a Democrat, not that ya'd know by the news reports.

See related story by NB Managing Editor Ken Shepherd here.