AP Fails to Tag Longtime Dem Arrested in Alleged NYC Mayor Election-Rigging Plot

Here's a case of "name one party and not the other."

Though there is no question that arrests made this morning in connection with an alleged plot to rig the 2013 New York City mayor's include Republicans, and that they of course should be identified as such, there is also no question that the very first person named in the breaking Associated Press story which follows the jump is a Democrat, and should have been tagged as one:


Malcolm Smith is a Democrat, and a leading one at that:

After the 2008 state elections, Democrats gained a majority of seats in the state senate for the first time in 40 years, and Smith was subsequently chosen as Majority Leader and Temporary President of the body in January 2009. He was the first African American to hold this position. But on June 8 of that year, two Democrats joined with the thirty Republicans in voting to replace Smith, triggering the 2009 New York State Senate leadership crisis. The crisis concluded the following month, when the two Democrats left the Republican coalition. As a compromise, Smith retained only the title of Temporary President, with the title of Majority Leader going to Pedro Espada Jr., one of the two Democrats who initially voted to remove Smith from his leadership position.

The New York Times identified Smith as a Democrat in a December 4, 2012 story.

Today, the New York Daily News tagged Smith as a Dem in a picture caption and opened its coverage far more appropriately:

The FBI busted Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith of Queens Tuesday and was set to haul in City Councilman Dan Halloran on charges they tried to buy Smith a spot on the Republican ballot in the 2013 mayoral election, sources said.

Agents were also rounding up four suspects, including Bronx Republican Chairman Jay Savino and Queens GOP vice chairman Vincent Tabone who were to receive bribes in exchange for backing Smith when he switched sides last year in a never-realized run for City Hall.

Smith may have "switched sides," but unless one can show that he actually changed his voter registration, he remains a Democrat.

To be clear, AP was equally negligent in failing to tag Halloran as a Republican. But that cleared the way for the wire service to name others else involved as Republicans -- which they sadly are -- based only the party positions they hold.

Future AP dispatches may well properly tag Smith, but they won't get the attention the breaking news story will during its first few hours. How convenient.

Oh, and I almost forgot -- The Spring Valley mayor named above is a Democrat, according to this NBC Los Angeles story.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.