A Tale of Two Bills by the AP

October 21st, 2005 12:34 AM

The AP is still reporting news from Capitol Hill in its own "fair and balanced" way. Two stories were posted today concerning the status of bills in Congress.

AP writer Laurie Kellman checked in first with “Congress OKs Gun Industry Lawsuit Shield.” The lead paragraph is nearly innocuous and only slightly suggestive:

Congress gave the gun lobby its top legislative priority Thursday, passing a bill protecting the firearms industry from massive crime-victim lawsuits. President Bush said he will sign it.

The piece then proceeds in a fairly objective way until, at the end, Ms. Kellman lets the dirty cat out of the bag:

Democrats and Republicans alike court the NRA at election time, and the bill has garnered bipartisan support. But the firearms industry still gave 88 percent of its campaign contributions, or $1.2 million, to Republicans in the 2004 election cycle.

Gun control advocates, meanwhile, gave 98 percent of their contributions, or $93,700, to Democrats that cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

So while the GOP was busy sucking up to gun-makers to the tune of a million-plus dollars and the Democrats were left defending gun-grabbers for a measly 100K, AP’s Jim Abrams glumly informed us, “Senate Again Fails to Raise Minimum Wage.”

To be fair, Abrams made no attempt to hide the fact that big labor was behind Ted Kennedy’s amendment to the spending bill to raise the minimum wage.

A labor-backed measure by Sen. Edward Kennedy would have raised the minimum to $6.25 over an 18-month period…AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said minimum wage workers "deserve a pay raise -- plain and simple -- no strings attached."

But unlike Ms. Kellerman, Abrams provided no info on the financial connections between the labor lobby and the parties. Had he but surfed over to the Center for Responsive Politics webpage, opensecrets.org cited by his colleague, he could have told us that big labor gave 87% of its contributions in 2004--totaling a hefty $54 million--to the Democrats. Wonder why he didn’t?