In a rare moment of reluctant semi-journalism which didn't name names, the Politico's Reid Epstein, in reporting about the God-Jerusalem debacle at the Democratic Convention Wednesday night, buried the lede, waiting until his third paragraph to tell readers (belated HT to Weasel Zippers) that "While the campaign at first said Obama had seen the language prior to the convention, it later said he did not learn of the issue until Wednesday morning, when he became aware of seeing news coverage of the issue." (Sidebar: Does that mean Dear Leader watches the despised Fox News?)
Then Epstein just let the disclosure sit there with no additional follow-up. His story has what is in my view a deliberately "this is boring" headline ("Division over platform at DNC" ... zzz). However, it would appear that the folks over at the Associated Press got to Epstein's third paragraph, and went into full-keister-covering mode.
While CNN's Soledad O'Brien tossed softballs at Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, she was not so kind to her Republican guest during the next hour, on Thursday's Starting Point. O'Brien reported poor poll numbers for both the Romney and Obama campaigns, but went after only the Romney campaign's economic message in detail.
O'Brien teed up the Democratic mayor to respond to Romney hitting Obama for wanting more public sector workers. But she posed the same question of Romney advisor Jim Talent, putting him on the defensive, rather than bringing up, say, President Obama's remark that the private sector is "doing just fine," a statement he later retracted.
CBS's Bob Schieffer took on the role of a left-wing activist on Sunday's Face the Nation, as he pressed all four of his guests from both parties about cuts in state and local spending. Schieffer bewailed how both Republican Governors John Kasich and Scott Walker "cut deeply into education" and asked Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa if he felt good about making "draconian cuts" [audio clips available here]
The anchor brought on the governors of Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as the mayor of Los Angeles and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, for his half-hour program to discuss the impasse over the federal budget and the debt ceiling and its impact on their states. After an initial question to Governor Kasich, where Schieffer claimed how, apparently, "things are worse than ever" between the two political parties, Schieffer set up his first question to Governor Walker with his lament of the apparent cuts to education in the states of his two Republican guests:
On ABC’s World News on Sunday, a report by correspondent Jim Avila highlighted the complaints of left-wing mayors who expressed wishes that more defense spending would be redirected at projects in their cities.
The NBC correspondent speculated about what other items could be paid for using the money used by the Pentagon in Afghanistan and Iraq, and concluded the report seeming to suggest that spending on the wars had played a role in causing "damage" to the economy of the U.S. Avila: "It's a growing part of this country's war fatigue - a decade of human cost and damage to a struggling economy."
Despite the latest NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo poll showing 61 percent of Americans support Arizona’s new immigration law, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell on May 26 failed to interview a single supporter for MSNBC’s special, “A Nation Divided.” She did, however, manage to scrounge up plenty of vocal opponents, including two high-profile Democrats who believe the law is unconstitutional.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa agreed that the legislation Arizona Governor Janet Brewer (R) signed into law in April divides the country along racial lines and think the federal government should pass comprehensive immigration reform.
“But the fact of the matter is this is a divisive measure, it’s unconstitutional,” insisted Villaraigosa, who supports the Los Angeles City Council’s decision to boycott Arizona. “It violates the rights of people in Arizona and it’s the wrong way to go.”
Instead of asking Richardson and Villaraigosa to explain how the new law is unconstitutional and divisive, Mitchell fired off bursts of piercing, penetrating questions, such as:
While the liberal Democratic mayor of Los Angeles has a thing for news babes, it seems his hometown paper has a penchant for leaving out the mayor's party affiliation from reporting on his liaisons.
"A Los Angeles television reporter is dating Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, about two years after his extramarital affair with another local newscaster led to the breakup of his 20-year marriage," Phil Willon of the Los Angeles Times informed readers in a June 2 article devoid of the mayor's Democratic party affiliation:
KTLA-TV Channel 5 reporter Lu Parker, a former Miss U.S.A., has been dating Villaraigosa since March, station officials confirmed Monday. On Sunday, while working as a weekend anchor, Parker announced a story about the likelihood of Villaraigosa running for governor in 2010.
"Villaraigosa affair may not be one to remember," prophesied the July 7, 2007 headline in the L.A. Times. A year and a half later, the Associated Press danced around the Democratic Los Angeles mayor's adulterous liaison with a Spanish-language reporter assigned to the city hall beat.
From today's story on his March 3 re-election accessed at CBSNews.com (emphases mine), notice how the AP pulls its punches, euphemizing the adulterous affair in the 12th paragraph of the story:
The mayor of Los Angeles easily won re-election after a bumpy first term in the nation's second-largest city, fueling speculation that he will be among contenders next year to succeed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the first Hispanic mayor in more than a century, was rewarded Tuesday with a second, four-year trip to City Hall despite an uneven first term that saw the breakup of his marriage and the defeat of his signature plan to reform city schools.
Los Angeles Times's L.A. Now blog today picked up on reporter/former L.A. mayoral mistress Mirthala Salinas:
Her rise through the ranks at Telemundo was swift. Her fall following the disclosure of an affair with Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of our fair city, was a spectacle. And now she's back - on the radio this time. Hoyinternet.com is the first with the news:
One major flash-point in the January 21 Democratic debate was when Hillary Clinton slammed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for ties to Tony Rezko, an indicted real estate developer. Shortly thereafter a photo from the Clinton administration depicting Sen. Clinton with Rezko and her husband came to the fore, and Clinton subsequently denied knowing Rezko.
Fast forward to today and the Associated Press reporting that Hillary Clinton booster L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took campaign contributions from Rezko. The question remains how much the media, outside the Associated Press, will care:
Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona was indicted "on federal corruption charges stemming from a lengthy investigation into allegations that he had misused his office for financial gain," the Los Angeles Times reported on October 30. Reporters Christine Hanley, H.G. Reza and Paul Pringle noted that Carona was once considered a "rising star" for the GOP.
It's a fair point to make note of Carona's party affiliation, but the Times unevenly applies party labels when it comes to elected officials' scandals.
As NewsBusters contributor Dave Pierre noted on September 11, Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's (D-Los Angeles) campaign violations and the corresponding punitive fine of $5,200 were buried on page B-4 of that day's Los Angeles Times. The same squib failed to disclose Villaraigosa's Democratic Party affiliation. (more follows after page break)
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that Telemundo reporter and mayoral mistress Mirthala Salinas is heading back at work after a two-month suspension, albeit demoted to a less prominent job within the network:
Television newscaster Mirthala Salinas, who was suspended without pay for two months in August after her affair with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa became public, is scheduled to return to work Monday. But she won't be taking up her old job as a fill-in anchor on evening newscasts for KVEA-TV Channel 52.
Instead, executives with the Spanish-language Telemundo network confirmed Monday that Salinas would be sent to the station's Inland Empire bureau in Riverside as a general assignment reporter, a notable fall for a one-time rising star who has become one of the most recognizable faces in local Spanish-language television.
Antonio Villaraigosa is not some small-town mayor. The former president of the ACLU of Southern California leads one of the largest cities in the Western hemisphere. He's graced the cover of Newsweek magazine. Hillary Clinton was thrilled to win Antonio's endorsement, and she appointed him to be a national co-chair of her campaign (link/link). Did I mention that he's a Democrat?
So wouldn't it be fairly big news that the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission fined the mayor $5,200 for 30 campaign violations related to his 2003 run for a District council seat?
Apparently, the folks at the Los Angeles Times did not see it as such a big deal. They buried the story in the "Los Angeles County 'In Brief'" section with a puny 148 words on page B4 (story) (see an image of the article here).
Yesterday I wrote a piece about reporter Mika Brzezinski's handling of a story that reflected a political double standard on her part. While hosting MSNBC's "Morning Joe" for the vacationing Joe Scarborough, Brzezinski aired a video of a female reporter chasing after Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Before she could catch up with the mayor however, the reporter was intercepted by a very large security guard and sent barreling into the side of what appeared to be a nearby dumpster. At the time Brzezinski brushed off the incident as "not that pressing," in stark contrast to the seemingly endless attention the David Vitter scandal received on "Morning Joe" throughout July. This morning however, Brzezinski seems to have changed her mind and now believes "That story's important."
For a little context, Villaraigosa, a Democrat, has been under scrutiny since he confessed to an affair with Spanish language reporter, Mirthala Salinas. Not surprisingly, Salinas received special access to the mayor during their affair.
Yesterday, after airing the video, Brzezinski gave her opinion as to the newsworthiness of the story. Here is her quote from the August 7 show:
Liberals can rest easier knowing that despite her outspoken views on newsworthiness and ethics, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski can still be counted on to go to bat for the Democrats. The reporter and "Morning Joe" regular showed off her famous sense of journalistic integrity while filling in for host Joe Scarborough on Monday morning. In the first half hour, Brzezinski played a video of a journalist trying desperately to get an interview with Antonio Villaraigosa, the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles. Villaraigosa has been surrounded by controversy since revelations that he had engaged in an extramarital affair with Spanish language reporter Mirthala Salinas.
The video clip showed one female reporter and at least two cameramen chasing the embattled mayor hoping for an interview. Before she could reach the mayor however, one of Villaraigosa’s hired thugs intercepted the reporter, sending the much smaller woman barreling into what appears to be a dumpster.
The Los Angeles Times reports in the August 3 paper that "Los Angeles television newscaster Mirthala Salinas was suspended without pay for two months — but not dismissed — Thursday from KVEA-TV Channel 52 for covering Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa while they were romantically involved, a relationship that journalism experts said damaged the station's credibility."
But wait, there's more. The Telemundo reporter (pictured at right with Villaraigosa*) apparently has a history of dating Southern California Democratic politicians:
Her affair with Villaraigosa was an open secret in KVEA's Burbank newsroom and in the mayor's office at City Hall. Salinas also had dated Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) when he was divorced — and before he remarried his wife — as well as former Los Angeles City Council President Alex Padilla, now a state senator.