USA Today's Richard Wolf and Fredreka Schouten wasted no time this morning distorting the Supreme Court's April 2 ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC, which essentially holds that a provision of federal law setting an aggregate limit on an individual's campaign contributions violates the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech.
Wolf and Schouten, however, practically endorsed the lament of liberal detractors, opening their story with a loaded lead paragraph that had nothing to do with the merits of the case and followed up by weaving a narrative focused on the "bitter national debate" about campaign finance rather than strictly adhering to the constitutional merits of the Court's ruling.
USA Today's "breaking news" email ("Ex-Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. sentenced to 30 months") opened with the following opening sentence: "The nine-term Democrat from Illinois and son of the former civil rights leader had pleaded guilty in February to using $750,000 in campaign money to pay for living expenses, clothes and luxury items."
So it seemed like it would be a waste of time to click through to confirm that Jackson would be tagged as a Democrat in the story itself, right? Wrong. (UPDATE, Aug. 15: USAT revised the story and included a couple of Democrat references later in the day. The original as it appeared when this post was written is here.) USAT's Fredreka Schouten applied the "Democrat" tag once — to describe Mel Reynolds, the disgraced Congressman Jackson replaced in 1995, in her 18th paragraph. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):