Time's Tumulty: Attorney Firings Deserve 'Massive Commitment of Journalistic Resources'

Writing in the "Swampland" blog for Time magazine today, Karen Tumulty insisted the U.S. attorney firings deserved "massive commitment of journalistic resources" before going on to cite a study showing that media attention in the past few weeks has skewed heavily towards the non-scandal scandal:

... And before all our commenters jump on me, let me stipulate: I think the unfolding U.S. Attorneys story is a huge one, it deserves a massive commitment of journalistic resources, it is not likely to go away any time soon and I'm skeptical that Alberto Gonzales is going to survive it. I also believe that history has shown us many times that the broadest measures of public interest are a lagging indicator of the significance of a story. Finally, the blogosphere deserves huge credit for leading the way on it.

Translation: "the public don't know it yet, but this is an important story, we're going to make it an important story, and, kudos to liberal bloggers for making a fuss over it."

In 1993, Time magazine didn't show the same interest in blowing up the Clinton/Reno firings into a story the public would care about. [continued...]

MRC/NB's Tim Graham did some digging in Time magazine's coverage as archived by Nexis and found anything but "massive" coverage from Time. In fact, the magazine practically surpressed yawns over possible political calculations behind the firings :

April 5, 1993 edition:

Last Tuesday, after being on the job only 11 days, Attorney General Janet Reno had the Justice Department moving and shaking. She requested the prompt resignation of all 93 U.S. Attorneys around the country "to build a team" that represents "my views" and those of the President. Although expected eventually, the move triggered alarms at the Washington prosecutorial office, which has been probing the finances of a key Democratic floor captain, House Ways and Means chairman Dan Rostenkowski. Reno insists there was "no linkage"' between the dismissals and the probe, which insiders say will continue.

April 12, 1993 edition:

WHEN U.S. ATTORNEY JAY STEPHENS RESIGNED FROM HIS POST under pressure from the Clinton Administration last week, he complained that his departure could impede the investigation of alleged corruption in the House post office as well as alleged wrongdoing by House Ways and Means chairman Dan Rostenkowski. But Justice Department sources confirm the case is set to move ahead without Stephens. Prosecutors are 30 to 60 days away from announcing the indictments of a former Congressman and a former top-ranking official at the House post office.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.