NYT: "Muddled" Primaries in California

April 13th, 2006 1:10 PM

A story in the NYT this morning concerning the run-off election of disgraced former Congressman Duke Cunningham’s congressional seat has a curious number of liberal activists quoted, when compared to the number of those from the other side of Cunningham's corner.

Before we get to the bias, here is the line-up of “experts:” Polisci. prof. Stephen Erie, Dem. Congressional Caucus leader Rahm Emanuel, MoveOn.org executive director Eli Pariser, leftwing blogger Markos “Screw them” Moulitas (aka Kos), and some unnamed “analysts” that have high hopes for Democrats in the district. There was one Republican quoted.

And now, few choice slices for your daily NYT bias:

The race has been closely watched by both sides for a clue to the extent corruption investigations of Congressional Republicans could help Democrats in their drive to take back the House. Ms. Busby said Wednesday that she thought her strong showing suggested the power of the attack concerning the issue of ethics.

Nobody is denying that there is congressional corruption on both sides. However, the “paper of record” does its readers a great disservice by constructing a fake universe in which Democrats are immune to political corruption (and are therefore saviors from it). I suppose that there are no corrupt Democrats in congress, right? Well, not quite but the NYT ceased to be a paper of record of such Democrat indiscretions long ago.

For the record, these are just three corrupt Congressional Democrats and Democrat staffers that I found via Technorati-fu within three minutes of looking. I just did the other 50% of Adam Nagourney’s job.


Democratic officials said they remained wary of expending political capital or funds in a race that, on paper at least, appeared daunting. They have taken pains to keep some distance from it in an attempt to make it harder for Republicans to portray a Democratic loss there as a repudiation of corruption as a campaign issue.

“They,” in this case, means “they and we.” If the NYT were an objective watchdog looking out for corruption in any party, they would have noted at least one of the two Congress people I cited above for balance. Instead, we get Democrat strategy put forth as fact, and not a mention of anything that would “make it easier for Republicans to portray a Democratic loss there as a repudiation of corruption as a campaign issue (to quote from the above excerpt with my editorial discretion)."

Moving right along, we get some predictably hyped analysis from Mr. Pariser:

"There were overly high expectations that she could beat 50 in a race with 14 people. It certainly keeps her in the game."

MoveOn’s over-inflation of expectations (think 2004 election), coupled with Kos’s perfect 0-14 record of political victories for Democrat candidates he has backed, seems like the perfect source of authoritative Democrat strategy for the “paper of record” to be consulting as representatives of the Democrat movement. How about Republicans – for the sake of fairness and balance?

We get one:

"She underperformed John Kerry," said Carl Forti, a spokesman for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, referring to the percentage of the vote Mr. Kerry drew in the district in the 2004 presidential race. "She's pretty much at her high-water mark."

In addition, we get a fair analysis from Amy Walter at the non-partisan Cook Political Report:

“It's still a Republican district. There is nothing I saw from the results that suggest there is some sort of wave building behind Busby."

Reporter Adam Nagourney will not let the article end on that note, and concludes with perhaps the most curious passage in the piece (utilizing David Brock’s favorite technique of the “some people say” attribution – only a crime if done on FOX):

But other analysts said the road ahead for Republicans was hardly easy. There is a Democratic primary for governor on June 6, which is likely to draw Democrats to the polls, a benefit for Ms. Busby.

In addition, they said, after this highly contested primary, it is not certain that Republicans will rally around one candidate.

Who said? Who are these nameless, faceless “analysts?” And drawing Democrats to vote for a Democrat is a benefit for Democrats? Aren’t you glad the NYT is here to clear up things like this for all of us?

As for the identities of the unnamed analysts, file that one under “information Bill Keller and Adam Nagourney deem you peons unworthy to know.”