NYT: No Democrats Involved With Abramoff Probe?

There were no Democrats involved with the Abramoff probe? After reading the latest online NYT assesment of the facts, you'd think that.

Ladies and Gentlemen - we have entered the twilight zone. In their ongoing efforts to obscure the depth and bipartisan nature of the congressional corruption scandal, the New York Times shows itself to be little more than a public relations organ of the Democrat Party. Committing the sin of omission once again, a piece on the Abramoff probe by Anne Kornblut neglects to implicate any Democrats in the scandal, instead focusing on slicing and dicing Bob Ney. The Grey Lady accomplishes this by dumping every allegation made in Abramoff's plea agreement all over the pages, mixed with the filtered responses of anyone who might support him (including his lawyer, who is quoted once with two sentences).

There are a number of opinions and contextual irregularities that call into question the amount of balance provided in the story. For example, the piece opens with this line:

"Until recently, Representative Bob Ney was little more than an obscure, sometimes eccentric, lawmaker from Ohio."

Is that a fact? It sure sounds like an opinion to me, but what would I know with my newspaper experience and communications degrees? Will the reporter back it up? Not here, that's for certain. Now that the article about the "obscure, eccentric" Republican from Ohio (the Democrat's favorite battleground state) has been set up, the case against Ney can now commence in typical NYT "trial by media" fashion. The NYT bleats on:

"Even more than Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader, Mr. Ney has become the most visible elected target of the broad Justice Department inquiry into corruption and influence-peddling in Washington. He is under increasing attack from Democrats over allegations that he assisted Mr. Abramoff in exchange for gifts and travel."

Gotta throw Delay under the bus at every turn as well, right? I'm not defending him or what he may have done, but it is worth noting that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D) took approximately $67,000 from said Abramoff groups and has refused to return any of the money. Charlie Rangel and Pat Kennedy are among the top recipients as well - far from "obscure" congressmen (although Rangel is a tad eccentric). Where is this mentioned? Nowhere. Not once. After reading this article, you come away with the impression that Tom DeLay and Bob Ney are the two primary participants in this sickening corruption scandal, and that Democrats are a singular, pure entity that has nothing to do with it at all. Of course, the truth has always been hard for the NYT to face, let alone print.

And in keeping with NYT tradition, unnamed "participants" and sources "involved in the case" are the people quoted and cited as evidence of all this. The plea agreement is one thing, but it is augmented by numerous quotes from unnamed "participants" in the case. Bob Ney's laywer is quoted in one paragraph at the beginning of the piece, noting that he is cooperating with authorities and has already produced reciepts to bolster his case. The rest of the piece is dedicated to laying out (in some detail) "possible" charges. Why the NYT attempts to lay out the "argument against" in such a thorough manner without laying out a defense in an equally vigorous manner is revealing in itself, but what is ultimately clear is that you are supposed to expect indictment, conviction and a frogmarch.

And of course:

"Republicans are scrambling to contain the political fallout from the lobbying scandal, while some Democrats hope to capitalize on it. Congressional Democrats plan to unveil a lobbying overhaul plan on Wednesday, and House Republicans are working to assemble one as well, with Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois proposing a ban on the typeof private travel that Mr. Abramoff provided."

What well-meaning newspaper indictment would be complete without the obligatory "Republicans are all in trouble" bone thrown to the more left-leaning readership? A serious and fair minded piece illuminating the full context and scope of the investigation, that's what.

This is typical of the NYT coverage one can expect throughout the probe. In addition, we are to believe that the Democrats, likely to be portrayed by the NYT as the saviors from these crimes, are not even involved in the slightest. No involvement at all. None. They are all free of Abramoff's stain - every single Democrat. All of them. Every last one. How do I know this? Don't ask me, just ask Howard Dean. His word is as good as any source's, right? Even Abramoff (who is in heap big trouble himself and is saying anything to cut a better deal) is taken at his word throughout the entire piece (presumably because the accusations involve a Republican congressman). I will be waiting to read about the Democrat escapades in the near future, Ms. Kornblut. For some reason, I am not optimistic that article will even be written.

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