Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona was indicted "on federal corruption charges stemming from a lengthy investigation into allegations that he had misused his office for financial gain," the Los Angeles Times reported on October 30. Reporters Christine Hanley, H.G. Reza and Paul Pringle noted that Carona was once considered a "rising star" for the GOP.
It's a fair point to make note of Carona's party affiliation, but the Times unevenly applies party labels when it comes to elected officials' scandals.
As NewsBusters contributor Dave Pierre noted on September 11, Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's (D-Los Angeles) campaign violations and the corresponding punitive fine of $5,200 were buried on page B-4 of that day's Los Angeles Times. The same squib failed to disclose Villaraigosa's Democratic Party affiliation. (more follows after page break)
Two weeks later, Times reporters Duke Helfand and Meg James noted that Villaraigosa's mistress, a Spanish-language journalist, had been reassigned within the Telemundo's network, having completed an unpaid suspension for having an affair with the mayor while covering city politics. Once again Villaraigosa's party label was curiously absent.
Another curiosity is how Times writers used the "rising star" language to describe charismatic politicians. While Hanley, Pringle and Reza used the term to describe Carona's once bright prospective future in the GOP, conveying the tragedy of dashed hopes for the minority Republican party, "rising star" language was bandied about when Villaraigosa was inaugurated, but is not in vogue now.
Here's one such reference (as accessed via Nexis) from a July 2, 2005 article regarding Villaraigosa's inauguration festivities:
While some city workers hit the proceedings to score a free lunch, an array of national political figures -- including former Vice President Al Gore and the Rev. Jesse Jackson -- came to score a free moment in the spotlight with Villaraigosa, a Democratic rising star who overnight became the charismatic leader of an increasingly powerful Latino voting bloc.
The celestial metaphor seems of late to evade coverage of the L.A. Mayor, although it was applied to his former mistress in a September 25 article:
Television newscaster Mirthala Salinas, who was suspended without pay for two months in August after her affair with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa became public, is scheduled to return to work Monday. But she won't be taking up her old job as a fill-in anchor on evening newscasts for KVEA-TV Channel 52.
Instead, executives with the Spanish-language Telemundo network confirmed Monday that Salinas would be sent to the station's Inland Empire bureau in Riverside as a general assignment reporter, a notable fall for a one-time rising star who has become one of the most recognizable faces in local Spanish-language television.