Tim Mahoney, Adulterer: More Dignified Than Sarah Palin?

A week ago, Rep. Tim Mahoney, the ethically compromised liberal legislator who replaced Rep. Mark Foley, admitted to adultery, but unlike Foley, is running for re-election anyway. It’s time for an update on the lack of Mahoney coverage on the networks, and the news magazines. CBS and NBC still have done zero. ABC, which broke the story on its Blotter blog of Mahoney putting a mistress on his payroll and paying her $120,000, has offered two little sentences on last Saturday’s Good Morning America. Time has nothing so far. Newsweek only mentioned it in passing in its cutesy "Dignity Index" feature...and declared that Sarah Palin was even less dignified.

ABC's sentences passed quickly from the lips of news reader Ron Claiborne:

And a married Florida congressman now admits that he had at least two affairs, but insists he broke no laws and he will not resign. Democratic Representative Tim Mahoney replaced Republican Representative Mark Foley, who resigned after a sex scandal.

Time and Newsweek blatantly enjoyed the Mark Foley scandal two years ago, and Foley’s face "graced" the cover of Newsweek. But so far, Time hasn’t mentioned Mahoney. Newsweek briefly addressed the matter in their "Dignity Index" feature. The index is described as "A weekly mathematical survey of dubious behavior that measures, on a scale of 1 to 100, just how low you can go."

But according to the moralists at Newsweek, Mahoney’s adultery and payoffs are not as "low" as Sarah Palin's Troopergate/Tasergate antics: 

Florida Rep. Tim Mahoney, who replaced Mark Foley (the Capitol Hill male-page guy), gets his own sex scandal: cops to multiple affairs. Something in the water? Score: 52

Responding to the Troopergate report, Gov. Sarah Palin says she's "pleased to be cleared" of "any kind of unethical activity." Nice try. The report said exactly the opposite. Score: 67

Mahoney’s story has surfaced on CNN a little. It emerged Thursday night on Election Center with Campbell Brown, where liberal legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said this sex scandal is nutty, just like that nutty family that wanted to keep Elian Gonzalez out of communist Cuba:

BROWN: What is it about this district, Jeff?

TOOBIN: What is it about Florida? Florida is bringing the crazy -- come on.

BROWN: Oh, come on. My mom lives in Florida. They're not all crazy.

TOOBIN: Well, no, there was a period there where it looked like Florida was really taking over as the nuttiness capital. You had Elian Gonzalez. You had the recount in Florida, Mark Foley.

Foley wasn't just a massive story, it was also the subject of major media polls. Newsweek assertively polled and found that 52 percent thought House Speaker Dennis Hastert tried to cover it up. Newsweek isn't about to do a Pelosi poll over Mahoney -- not while he still has a chance at getting re-elected.

Tim Mahoney
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