African-American Former Congressman Artur Davis's Switch from Dems to GOP Not News at NYT, AP's National Site

May 31st, 2012 11:48 PM

Artur who? The seems to be the question at the New York Times and the national site of the Associated Press. Searches on former Congressman Artur Davis (in quotes at the Times, not in quotes at AP) return nothing relevant and nothing, respectively, even though Davis appears to be the only African-American current or former congressman to leave the Democratic Part and become a Republican in decades. As noted yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the AP treated the story as a local item yesterday, and the Washington Post carried the AP's story in its Metro local section.

It appears that the two entities might be using the old "Well, Politico covered it, so we don't have to" excuse. On Tuesday of last week, the online publication filed a story reporting rumors that Davis was changing parties. Two days ago (updated yesterday), Alex Eisenstadt made it appear as if anger and not political philosophy largely drove Davis to switch:

Artur Davis switches parties

Former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis announced Tuesday that he’s cutting ties with the Democratic Party, and said that he’s considering a future bid for Congress as a Republican.

Davis, who for a time had been considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, wrote a message on his website confirming that he is switching parties.

“[I]f I were to leave the sidelines, it would be as a member of the Republican Party that is fighting the drift in this country in a way that comes closest to my way of thinking: wearing a Democratic label no longer matches what I know about my country and its possibilities,” Davis wrote.

The former congressman said he was thinking about waging a comeback bid in Virginia, where he currently lives. Since leaving office in 2011, Davis has been working at a Washington law firm.

The announcement marks a dramatic turnabout for Davis, a Harvard-educated lawyer who had once been mentioned as a potential attorney general after Democrats won the White House in 2008. The ambitious Davis, who is black, routinely drew comparisons to Barack Obama.

But after Davis suffered a stinging defeat in the Democratic primary for Alabama governor in 2010, he turned sharply against his party. Much to the chagrin of party leaders, Davis refused to endorse the candidate who defeated him, Ron Sparks, and openly criticized his foe.

Note how the headline doesn't identify which party Davis leaving and the one to which he is switching. The headline also fails to tag Davis as anyone whose party switch would be considered important (how about "former four-term congressman," guys?). For all most readers probably know, Davis is just some local low-level politician.

Predictably, Isenstadt's story failed to note that Davis was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, was the only member of that caucus to vote against ObamaCare, and that he was Obama's 2008 presidential campaign co-chair.

If anyone knows the last time this happened, please let everyone else know, because I believe it's possible that it never has. In other words, it should be national news in the establishment press by any reasonable definition, and isn't. Imagine how much attention a Republican at this level deciding to become a Democrat would get.

Cross-posted at