Name That Party, NY Times: Charges for Republican Collins vs. Democrat Brown

August 9th, 2018 4:03 PM

Thursday’s New York Times showed itself all too eager to use new charges against Republican Rep. Chris Collins of New York, accused of insider trading, to help Democrats. First, the front-page story by Alan Feuer and Shane Goldmacher was accompanied by an over-the-fold photograph of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman announcing the charges against Collins, which the photo caption took care to identify as a “Republican of New York.”

The paper piled on with a story inside by Goldmacher, showing the paper already taking a sharp pro-Democratic partisan angle on the November elections: “A Republican’s Legal Troubles Give Democrats a Chance to Flip a Seat.” It too included a photo caption identifying Collins as a Republican.

Contrast that instant identification by The New York Times (coverage both extensive and prominently placed, even considering Collins represents the state of New York, in the Buffalo area) to how the paper covered a Democratic congresswoman convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for enriching herself off a fake charity via mail and wire fraud.

The May 2017 conviction of Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida was relegated to page A22 of the paper. A search indicates the paper didn’t even bother covering her initial indictment, only a single story both on her conviction and her sentencing. Even worse, The Times account of her conviction initially managed to leave off her party affiliation completely, absolutely failing to mention that Brown was a Democrat, pathetically calling her only "a resident of Jacksonville."

The story of Brown’s sentencing mentioned she was a Democrat in the second paragraph, but again buried the story on page A18. Photo captions of both stories failed to register Brown’s party affiliation.

Collins is far from the only Republican in legal trouble to merit instant party ID by The Times. In November 2016, for instance, reporter Christine Hauser couldn’t wait half a sentence before identifying former Rep. Aaron Schock when he was indicted for wire fraud: “Aaron Schock, the former Republican representative from Illinois whose taste for first-class travel and a ‘Downton Abbey’-themed office design led to questions about his judgment and adherence to spending rules, was indicted on Thursday by a federal grand jury on 24 counts, including wire fraud and theft of government funds....”