Imagine for a moment that a high-ranking Republican was accused by a Democrat of violating House rules in order to get a $23 million earmark approved for his district.
Would the media report it?
Probably on front-pages all across the country, and on morning and evening network newscasts for days, right?
Well, last Thursday evening, Politico reported (emphasis added throughout):
Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) threatened to deny any further spending projects to a Republican who challenged him over an earmark last week, the GOP is charging — a potential violation of House rules that could cause a spike in partisan tensions.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who questioned money that Murtha inserted into an intelligence bill last week, turned the tables Thursday night by saying he would call for Murtha to be reprimanded for violating House rules.
Didn’t hear much about this, did you?
Don't feel bad. After all, a LexisNexis search identified that of the three broadcast networks, through Monday’s news cycle, only ABC reported it, though briefly during an interview between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and George Stephanopoulos on Sunday’s “This Week.”
Nothing else. No morning show discussions on Friday or Monday, and no evening news broadcasts either.
Yet, this was pretty juicy stuff as reported by Politico:
According to the draft resolution, Murtha shouted at and chastised Rogers on the House floor Thursday for offering a motion last week to challenge $23 million Murtha requested in an intelligence bill.
Murtha had requested the money to prevent the administration from shuttering the National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown, Pa., which is part of Murtha’s district.
“I hope you don’t have any earmarks in the defense appropriations bills because they are gone, and you will not get any earmarks now and forever,” Murtha told Rogers, according to the draft transcript given to The Politico.
“This is not the way we do things here — and is that supposed to make me afraid of you?” Rogers replied.
“That’s the way I do it,” Murtha said.
Once again, just imagine if this had been Tom DeLay before he resigned, or current minority leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). Think this would have been ignored, especially as the House is about to vote on a reprimand of Murtha? Isn’t this newsworthy?
For the record, CNN did several reports on this subject Friday, as did Fox News. The Los Angeles Times covered it in a national news roundup Monday on page A10. The Washington Post covered it in a similar roundup Saturday on page A05. The New York Times and USA Today ignored it.