Politico's Priorities: Story About Event With 'No Formal Allegations of Wrongdoing' Merits 1,400 Words, 'Breaking' Email Alert

To get an idea of the Politico's priorities, first do a search on "Corzine." You'll find nothing from last week other than a reference to him as the defeated former Governor of New Jersey in an item about current Governor Chris Christie speaking at the upcoming Republican National Convention. So apparently no one cared to take notice of a New York Times story about how Corzine and apparently all other major players at bankrupt MF Global, which raided customers' accounts to the tune of $1.6 billion as it attempted to avoid its visit to death's door, will not face criminal prosecution.

Then go to something really, really important -- so important that it merited its own special breathless breaking news email a few hours ago. The nearly 1,400-word story from Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan that couldn't wait (actually, I believe it did, but more on that in a bit) is that a U.S. Congressman swam in the nude in Israel. Seriously -- I mean, unseriously (bolds are mine):


Exclusive: FBI probed GOP trip with drinking, nudity in Israel

The FBI probed a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee that involved drinking, numerous GOP freshmen lawmakers, top leadership staff – and one nude member of Congress, according to more than a dozen sources, including eyewitnesses.

During a fact-finding congressional trip to the Holy Land last summer, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) took off his clothes and jumped into the sea, joining a number of members, their families and GOP staff during a night out in Israel, the sources told POLITICO. Other participants, including the daughter of another congressman, swam fully clothed while some lawmakers partially disrobed. More than 20 people took part in the late-night dip in the sea, according to sources who took part in the trip.

“A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit,” Yoder said in a statement to POLITICO. “It is my greatest honor to represent the people of Kansas in Congress and [for] any embarrassment I have caused for my colleagues and constituents, I apologize.”

Travis Smith, Yoder’s chief of staff, told POLITICO “Neither Congressman Yoder, nor his staff, have been interviewed by the FBI.”

... The FBI looked into whether any inappropriate behavior occurred, but the interviews do not appear to have resulted in any formal allegations of wrongdoing.

But Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who was the senior most GOP lawmaker in Israel on the trip, was so upset about the antics that he rebuked the 30 lawmakers the morning after the Aug. 18. 2011, incident, saying they were distracting from the mission of the trip.

... The account of that Aug. 2011 night in Israel was pieced together for the first time by POLITICO based on interviews with more than a dozen sources, including eyewitnesses, as well as public records of the trip.

... After what they describe as a “long, hot day,” more than 20 lawmakers and senior aides decided to jump into the sea, sources said. Some went in wearing all their clothes, although others partially undressed.

Yoder removed all his clothes, the only person to do so, according to multiple sources.

Note that the incident happened a year or more ago ("last summer"). It's not unreasonable to contend the online publication has had this info for some time and sat on it, waiting for an opportunity to throw it onto the tubes, and that perhaps tonight was chosen because of need to distract people from the Newsweek bombshell cover previewing a deep rebuke of Barack Obama and his presidency by Niall Ferguson.

The offending congressperson hasn't even been interviewed by the FBI, and there were "no formal allegations of wrongdoing." Translation: There was nothing in this story that made it worthy of burning bandwidth.

Sherman, Bresnahan, and heaven knows who else at the Politico involved in interviewing (are you kidding?) "more than a dozen sources" somehow couldn't be bothered to look into how Jon Corzine, former Democratic governor, former Democratic Senator, Democratic Party bundler, with a past association with Eric Holder's law firm -- and a guy who according to the Times is thinking about starting up another hedge fund -- is on the verge of avoiding prosecution while any number of teens who make the stupid mistakes like shoplifting routinely face serious consequences up to and including time behind bars.

On top of that, the pair went all sanctimonious about the impact all of this might have on the public's perception of Congress. Gee, what does a Justice Department letting a Democratic cronly cabal which conducted a large-scal raid on customer accounts and condoning (or worse) a gun-running operation thanks to which hundreds of Mexicans and a Border Patrol agent have died do to that bunch's reputation?

What a warped sense of priorities at what is turning into a sick joke of an online publication.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.