In 2007, Senator David Vitter was implicated in a prostitution ring involving the infamous “D.C. Madam.” Since then the senator apologized to his wife and family as well as the citizens of Louisiana, who, apparently, forgave him, as attested to their reelecting him to the U.S. Senate.
But that didn’t stop The Times-Picayune from publishing a story recently which selectively quoted from Family Research Council president Tony Perkins -- himself a former Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives -- in such a way as to suggest that the "far right" -- their words -- social conservative leader was opposed to Vitter's candidacy.
Perkins gave an interview with C-SPAN on January 23 and made the following comments on Senator Vitter:
I know him personally. Back when the things came forward that he was involved in, he used a phrase that had not been used before in the city in a long time. he said I "sinned." I think people were breaking out the dictionary to see what that meant. he was taking ownership. I know his wife Wendy. I believe he is dealt with those issues.
I believe he is on the right track. I do think he will always have that cloud over him. people will be watching him closely. They have the right to do it. When you do something like that, you open yourself up to greater scrutiny and criticism. These issues have been dealt with. He is now on the right track. Just like everybody else, this is something that will constantly be there.
While Perkins clearly indicated that he believed Mr. Vitter had sinned, he noted that “he is now on the right track.” Despite this acknowledgment, Times-Picayune writer Lauren McGaughy decided to omit Perkins’ comments on Vitter being “on the right track” and instead focused on his remark that Vitter would “always have that cloud over him.” The sub-headline even reads “Perkins: DC Madam Scandal Will Be Cloud Over Vitter Campaign.”
McGaughy chose to describe Perkins as president of the “far-right Family Research Council.” What’s astonishing is that in the very next sentence she quoted Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum who believed that Vitter had absolved himself of a “very serious sin” by working to regain his wife’s trust. So McGaughy found the time to quote another conservative who heaped praise on Vitter’s repentance, but the “far-right” FRC president’s comments saying essentially the same thing were omitted.
Vitter will always have a cloud over him, in no small part because liberal media outlets -- which are quite happy to help rehabilitate sexually indiscreet Democratic politicians -- are trying their best to dog him with the phantom of disapproval from social conservatives, despite evidence to the contrary.