MSNBC host and native Philadelphian Chris Matthews devoted less than a minute tonight to news of numerous federal indictments handed down today against Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.). The Hardball host prefaced the story by editorially commenting, "This is sad news."
Here's the transcript for the 43-section anchor brief:
July 29, 2015; 7:46 p.m. Eastern
CHRIS MATTHEWS, host: Well, this is sad news: Philadelphia Democratic congressman Chaka Fattah, along with four others, have been indicted on racketeering charges in connection to his 2007 run for mayor. Among the 29 counts, prosecutors allege Fattah used charity donations to pay off a campaign loan and used money from both his congressional and mayoral campaigns to pay for his son's students loans.
The congressman has stepped down from his leadership position on the Appropriations Committee, but today denied any wrongdoing.
Rep. CHAKA FATTAH, to NBC's Luke Russert: This is not Deflategate. We now have actual allegations, we'll have a chance to respond, but I'll stand by my previous statement that I've never been involved in wrongdoing, any unlawful activity and any misappropriation of federal funds.
Oddly enough, Matthews left perhaps the most damning allegation out of his summary, that Fattah "disguised a lobbyist’s bribe as payment for a Porsche his TV anchor wife never sold," as the AP reported, adding (emphasis mine):
Fattah’s wife is accused of helping hide an $18,000 bribe from a lobbyist through a sham sale of her 1989 Porsche. Renee Chenault-Fattah, who is not charged in the case, is on leave from the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia, the station announced Wednesday.
The couple used money from the purported car sale to help get a mortgage for a Poconos vacation home, the indictment said.
Any journalist worth his salt would not leave out the sexiest angle when briefly noting corruption story, in this case it's the Porsche/Poconos vacation home one. But then again, Matthews is more an activist and narrative-setter than a journalist, no matter how much he protests he's the latter.