It was the best of coverage - it was the worst of coverage.
Democrat John Kitzhaber announced his resignation as Governor of Oregon shortly after 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday (noon Pacific Time).
By 3 a.m. Eastern time Saturday morning, as seen here, less than 12 hours after the announcement, the Associated Press's "Big Story" page, the collection of current stories the wire service considers especially important, had no stories on Kitzhaber. But there were items on Jackie Chan's son leaving prison, the cricket World Cup, and the Australian Ladies Masters golf tournament.
Late Friday afternoon, roughly two hours ("shortly after noon" Pacific Time) after the press release announcing Oregon Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation effective next Wednesday, Philip Bump at the Washington Post's "The Fix" blog tried to explain away the national press's nearly complete failure to cover Kitzhaber's mounting ethical and now potentially criminal problems for nearly four months. This is the same bunch which obsessed over Republican Governor Chris Christie's "Bridgegate" non-scandal for months on end.
Bump specifically linked to and quoted — and, predictably mischaracterized — yours truly's related Thursday afternoon post at NewsBusters. The short answer to Bump's whining is simply that Kitzhaber's problems were self-evidently very serious from the get-go in October, and grew by degrees with virtually each passing week, while Bridgegate, which was beaten like a drum for months on end, never progressed beyond the status of a pathetically weak hatchet job.
Update, 3:50 p.m. Eastern: Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D) announced his resignation Friday afternoon and will be effective next Wednesday (February 18).
With calls for Democratic Govenor John Kitzhaber to resign and Secretary of State referring to the Governor’s behavior Thursday as “strange” and “bizarre,” one would think that the media would devote time to a story that has dominated the Beaver State and could lead to a longtime Governor leaving office in disgrace. Alas, the networks refused to cover it on both their Thursday evening and Friday morning broadcasts.
In a sign that the walls are truly beginning to close in around him, the Associated Press's national site and the New York Times, both of which have largely ignored the growing ethical scandals surrounding Oregon Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber and his fiancee Cylvia Hayes for months, have gotten busy during the past 24 hours.
The very belated national attention cannot possibly be helpful to his survival prospects. It should have come months ago, but apparently ensuring that a Democrat would remain in charge of the Beaver State was too important a matter for the national press to consider spreading the results of the outstanding investigative journalism done by Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week beyond the state's borders.
While previewing President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, NBC Nightly News had on Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, who told viewers that the President will set out to “do a little victory lap about the state of the economy” and opined how Obama “got the post-election honeymoon, not the Republicans” thanks to his moves on illegal immigration and Cuba.
Following the move of fellow networks ABC and CBS, Todd touted the positive numbers for Obama in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll after having largely ignored the negative ones in the lead up to the 2014 midterm elections.
On Sunday, CBS News Sunday Morning reporter John Blackstone sat down with Governor Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) for an exclusive interview aimed at promoting the long-time liberal’s political career. The nearly 9 minute interview featured Blackstone heaping praise on the California Democrat while offering no critique of his liberal record in office. Instead, the CBS reporter spun Brown’s tenure as “solid” and “ahead of their time” and suggested that he bring his liberal governing style to Washington to "learn about how political problems have been solved here in California."
During John Boehner's weekly press conference on Thursday, MSNBC's Luke Russert took advantage of the recent raucous speaker election to praise the Ohio Republican as “one of the most conservative members” of the House of Representatives “during the last 20 years.”
“I tell you what pains me the most is when they describe me as ‘the establishment,'” the newly re-elected speaker stated. “Now, I’m the most anti-establishment speaker we have ever had.”
While there were six governors sworn into office on Monday, it was liberal Democrat Jerry Brown taking the oath of office for a record fourth term in California that caught the fawning eye of NBC Nightly News and anchor Brian Williams who, in turn, spent a news brief gushing over how his first stint in office was during the Ford administration and that he had improved the state’s finances.
Following a brief on news that the owner of the St. Louis Rams plans to build a stadium outside Los Angeles, Williams pivoted to the Golden State at-large and Brown’s fourth inauguration: “Then there's Jerry Brown, today at age 76 he was sworn today to a record fourth term. He first came into office when Jerry Ford was President his first time around. No one has led the most populous state in the Union longer than Jerry Brown, who's finally been able to turn around California's troubled finances.”
Chris Megerian at the Los Angeles Times, in a report first published online on Tuesday, had a difficult time trying to downplay the fact that Democrat and leftist mega-donors outspent their Republican and conservative couterparts by an overwhelming margin during the past election cycle.
But Megerian made the best of it, giving readers the impression that David Koch, of the supposedly evil Koch brothers, was the fourth-largest such donor. Times editors did their part to keep the news as quiet as possible by publishing the obviously national story in the California secion of its Wednesday print edition.
The American Prospect’s Paul Waldman claims that right-wingers’ “belief in tax cuts doesn't rest on the practical effects. That's an argument that's meant to appeal to everyone, since it concerns something (growth) that just about everyone thinks is good. But the real source of the conservative support for tax cuts is moral, not practical. They believe that taxes are inherently immoral.”
Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer has had a really bad year.
He failed to get other left-wing donors to join his crusade to make climate change the No. 1 election issue. Then he wasted nearly $75 million backing liberal candidates. Four out of the seven politicians he and his NextGen Climate Action group backed lost. And the few races where liberals won owed little or nothing to Steyer’s bizarre and sometimes inaccurate campaign ads.