No Party ID for Troubled Dem Detroit Mayor and Superdelegate

March 19th, 2008 6:36 PM
Photo--Paul Sanoya/AP at the New York TimesThe media just won't identify Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's party or his high-powered political connections, now that he is knee-deep in scandals. This March 19 New York Times article is no different. Recently, 14,000 text messages were discovered that indicate he lied under oath in a whistleblower trial to avoid admitting he used his police security detail to cover up an affair with his female chief of staff.

The NYT also didn't mention that, as the son of Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), the mayor was a Democratic rising star. He spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and more importantly, as Vice President of the Conference of the Democratic Mayors, Kilpatrick will be a Barack Obama*  superdelegate at the 2008 convention. Resigning as mayor could affect his superdelegate status. Considering the tight race, isn't this news?

But the Times didn't report any of that political red meat in this article which reported a City Council resolution that asked Kilpatrick to step down:

The City Council on Tuesday asked Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick to resign in light of evidence that he had lied under oath and plotted to cover up an extramarital affair with his former chief of staff.

The 7-to-1 Council vote is not binding, and Mr. Kilpatrick has vowed to remain in office.

Nonetheless, the Council’s action is a political blow for the mayor, and support for the measure was greater than expected. Council members spoke highly of Mr. Kilpatrick but said he could no longer govern effectively, given the scandal that has enveloped Detroit for nearly two months.

The media poured over every single text that former Republican Congressman Mark Foley sent to former Congressional pages. While the local Detroit Free Press is all over this story now, these incriminating text messages don't seem to be worth the national media's time.

In this article by NYT reporter Nick Bunkley, the only mention of the dreaded D-word was a reference to another politician (bold mine):

The only Council member to vote against the resolution was Monica Conyers, the wife of Representative John Conyers Jr., a Michigan Democrat; Ms. Conyers said the Council should have waited until it had more information before voting on such a statement.

“I’m being neutral,” Ms. Conyers said. “I’m concerned with doing it the right way, based upon facts, and not doing a symbolic resolution that means nothing.”

The Council’s ninth member, Martha Reeves, the former Motown singer who had said she supported the resolution, was absent because of illness.

I know the media don't report Dem scandals in the same manner that they report GOP flaps, but considering the close superdelegate count, shouldn't the media care that this vote might be in play—even if it casts a negative light on the Dems?

As with the Eliot Spitzer coverage, the media have an almost childlike aversion to reporting Kilpatrick's party and political connections. Those who remember the 2006  “Culture of Corruption” media drumbeat, which just happened to coincide with an election year, might wonder where all of those aggressive journalists went.

*Correction: Kilpatrick is uncommittted and has not pledged to Obama; headline changed to reflect that.

Lynn contributes to NewsBusters. Email her with tips or even complaints at tvisgoodforyou2—at--y a h o o—dot--c o m