WSJ Omits Jackson Jr.'s Party Affiliation; NYTimes Leads With It, But Paints Chicago Dem as Tragic Figure

August 15th, 2013 3:45 PM

Of the East Coast's most prestigious papers -- The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post -- only the Journal today failed to note Jesse Jackson Junior's Democratic Party affiliation, with staff writer Devlin Barrett failing to mention that fact in his 11-paragraph story. For their part, Washington Post staffers Ann Marimow and Rachel Weiner did mention Jackson is a Democrat, but that came 13 paragraphs into their 32-paragraph front-pager in the August 15 paper.

But of the three major newspapers, it was the Times's coverage which gave readers the most biased coverage. Reporter Ashley Southall immediately noted Jackson's Democratic Party affiliation, but she painted his demise as a tragic fall from grace, not a run of the mill crooked politician-gets-his-just-deserts story:


WASHINGTON — Little more than a year ago, Jesse L. Jackson Jr. was a popular young Democratic congressman pushing to increase the federal minimum wage, an issue that fit his reputation as an advocate for the less fortunate, especially those in his Chicago-area district.

But on Wednesday, the former congressman was a felon standing in a federal courtroom in Washington to receive his sentence.


The sentencing marked a precipitous downfall for Mr. Jackson.

With the help of his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Mr. Jackson was elected to Congress in 1995 from a district that includes part of the South Side of Chicago. He became one of the most prominent young black politicians in the country, working on issues related to health care and education for the poor.

But his reputation was damaged in recent years after reports surfaced that he had had an extramarital affair with a woman from Washington. An Office of Congressional Ethics investigation that was released in 2011 concluded that there was probable cause to believe that Mr. Jackson broke House rules when he was seeking the Senate seat that Barack Obama vacated after the 2008 election, but he was never charged, and he denied any wrongdoing.

Last summer, Mr. Jackson took a medical leave from Congress and was later treated for bipolar disorder. Two weeks after being re-elected for a ninth time in November, he resigned, citing his health and the federal investigation into his use of campaign money.