The results of a search on the name of former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick at the Associated Press's main national site are revealing — both for what is there and what isn't. It's an understatment to say that the wire service's priorities are warped.
What isn't there is any news about the results of a Boston Herald investigation which found that "Patrick’s administration secretly diverted nearly $27 million in public money to off-budget accounts that paid for a $1.35 million trade junket tab, bloated advertising contracts, and a deal with a federally subsidized tourism venture backed by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid." The AP determined that this news only deserved a brief and woefully inadequate local story.
The search returned three items the wire service apparently thought are far more important to the rest of the nation than significant alleged corruption:
- One is about how Boston's mayor has "created" gender-neutral bathrooms at City Hall, thanks in large part to Patrick signing a 2011 law "adding 'gender identity and expression' to the state's civil rights laws."
- A second story notes that "Female Same-sex Nuptials Far Outnumber" male same-sex "marriages" in the Bay State. Patrick's name appears because he "officiated" the "2012 wedding of former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank to his longtime partner."
- Finally, there's a story about the latest in a legal "Dispute Over (a) Martha's Vineyard Casino Plan." Patrick's name appears because when he was governor, he "negotiated an agreement with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe," while he declined to "negotiate an agreement with the Aquinnah Wampanoag." This is apparently riveting information the nation absolutely needed to have.
As to Patrick's money-siphoning operation, here is the complete, pathetic "You can't possibly want to read this, because it's so boring" squib the AP filed on Thursday:
Here are just a few of the newsworthy nuggets the AP failed to communicate from Joe Battenfield's coverage at the Herald:
- Significant amounts of money: "All told, contributions from the quasi-public agencies to the trusts totaled $37.35 million."
- Secrecy: "The maneuver to fatten the hidden 'trust' accounts with millions from state quasi-public agencies allowed Patrick to skirt the state Legislature and evade state budget cutbacks during the recession."
- Cronyism: "One of the trusts was run by a close Patrick loyalist, Betsy Wall, a former top campaign aide later appointed as the $134,000 head of travel and tourism."
- More cronyism: Diverted funds inclued "$223,000 in extra funding to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and $500,000 to Brand USA, a Washington-based public-private partnership launched by Congress and strongly backed by (Harry) Reid ... Brand USA has been criticized for being a haven for Democratic cronies and a benefit for Las Vegas casinos in Reid’s home state."
- Possible legal exposure: "The trust dinging taxpayers for Patrick’s around-the-world travel was funded by Massport and the Mass Tech Collaborative, an obscure agency that gets state and federal dollars, including an injection of Obama stimulus money." Concerning this, Steven Ahle at RedStatements first asserts that "it’s illegal for him to spend money not allocated by the state legislature." Additionally, he notes that "The money that came from MTC (Mass Tech Collaborative) could create even bigger problems for Patrick as they receive federal money annually and were also granted money by Obama’s stimulus package, making it a possible federal crime."
As seen above, the AP's perfunctory dispatch turned all of this into a mere "Gosh, I didn't know that" matter, while ignoring the cronyism, the Reid connection, and Patrick's legal exposure.
As to the AP's local-story treatment, no one can possibly believe that the wire service wouldn't give a similar scheme carried out by a Republican or conservative governor national exposure — especially if there was a connection with a nationally prominent heavy hitter equivalent to Reid.
There is also no story on the Deval Patrick slush funds at the AP's "Big Story" site.
The wire service's double standard is, as usual, disgraceful.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.