Name That Party
Manny Aragon was one of New Mexico's most powerful law makers and power brokers. A former Senate president, Aragon was this week convicted and given a 67 month sentence for lining his pockets and that of his co-conspiritors with millions in fraudulently billed state contracting money.
While his "iconic" status is mentioned and his long standing position as a "Senate leader" is dutifully chronicled, his status as a Democrat doesn't seem to make the cut of a large portion of the stories on his sentencing.
Fill-in anchor Maggie Rodriguez avoided Murtha's party as she asserted “there are few politicians as polarizing as Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha” and referred to him as “a powerful member of Congress.” In a story which consumed about-two-and-a- half minutes, reporter Sharyl Attkisson also failed to identify Murtha's party.
Vincent Fumo's chronicle of corruption is extraordinary, even by the "standards" of Philadelphia, PA.
Thus, it's a journalistic fail that in a story about the convictions of former 30-year state senator Fumo and longtime associate Ruth Arnao, NBC Philadephia (HT Michelle Malkin) did not identify his or her Democratic Party party affiliation.
Here is a portion of NBC Philly's early-morning story:
Fumo Guilty on All Counts
Guilty is the verdict on all 137 counts for Vince Fumo in his federal corruption trail. His co-defendant Ruth Arnao is also guilty on all counts against her.
Today's CNN story, Pennsylvania official checks into rehab following arrest, is yet another example. It begins:
Pennsylvania's acting secretary of labor and industry has entered a rehabilitation program for at least two weeks after her arrest on a public drunkenness charge last week.The article runs for a dozen paragraphs. Never mentioned is the fact Vito is a Democrat. We know this not just because she's an appointee of Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, whose party is also not reported, but because Vito has given money to Democratic political campaigns.
Just a few hours before her arrest, Sandi Vito backed out of a scheduled interview with a CNN correspondent about the state's controversial use of debit cards to pay unemployment benefits.
Vito, who was appointed acting secretary of labor and industry in February 2008, "has entered a treatment program for two weeks," according to Gov. Ed Rendell's chief spokesman.
The Associated Press wire relayed a short item on Friday about how outgoing Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman (D-Salisbury, Md.) recently slammed bloggers as the greatest threat to her fair Eastern Shore city.
Via the Maryland Daily Record:
SALISBURY — In her final State of the City address, Salisbury Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman warned residents of what she sees as a great danger to the city: malicious bloggers.
Tilghman said in her address Thursday that over the last five years, the presence of a small group of suspicious, mean-spirited people focused on the negative has grown, endangering the city's vitality.
Tilghman says some people are avoiding serving their city because it's not worth chancing the scorn of bloggers. But Tilghman says they need to stand up for the city.
Tilghman's final day in office is April 19, but she says she plans to remain active in the city. She says she plans to give a less formal farewell address before leaving office.
As you can see, Tilghman's Democratic Party affiliation is curiously missing from the story, even though her party affiliation is no mystery to mainstream journalists such as Andy Green of the Baltimore Sun, who took note of her retirement in a December 15, 2008 blog post:
"Villaraigosa affair may not be one to remember," prophesied the July 7, 2007 headline in the L.A. Times. A year and a half later, the Associated Press danced around the Democratic Los Angeles mayor's adulterous liaison with a Spanish-language reporter assigned to the city hall beat.
From today's story on his March 3 re-election accessed at CBSNews.com (emphases mine), notice how the AP pulls its punches, euphemizing the adulterous affair in the 12th paragraph of the story:
The mayor of Los Angeles easily won re-election after a bumpy first term in the nation's second-largest city, fueling speculation that he will be among contenders next year to succeed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the first Hispanic mayor in more than a century, was rewarded Tuesday with a second, four-year trip to City Hall despite an uneven first term that saw the breakup of his marriage and the defeat of his signature plan to reform city schools.
You've got to hand it to Jim Provance of the Toledo Blade. He managed only to identify the party of a Republican in a story that is primarily about a Democratic administration's failure to produce timely financial statements.
Democratic Governor Ted Strickland, his administration, and his appointed Democrats in Ohio's Office of Budget and Management are not going to have the state's records in auditable condition until after the General Assembly passes the budget for the NEXT biennium beginning July 1 of this year. This is a situation that Republican State Auditor Mary Taylor yesterday called "unprecedented."
So "naturally," Provance identified Taylor's twice party in his report covering the situation, and failed to specifically name the party of any other statewide official -- or Strickland himself. Oh we can infer it, but inferences don't show up in search engine results. The words "Democrat" or "Democratic" are nowhere to be found.
Here are the key excerpts from the story (link corrected from original when posted):
There's an N-Word you apparently write at your own risk if you're in the establishment media. It's "nationalization."
The Associated Press's Stephen Bernard, with the help of old reliables Jeannine Aversa and Martin Crutsinger, blew through almost 800 words (link is dynamic; 12:49 p.m. version is saved here for future reference, is now authored by Crutsinger, and is longer than what I originally read) about the deal between Uncle Sam and Citigroup, under which the government could end up with a 36% ownership stake -- almost certainly enough, as Citi's largest shareholder, to impose its will -- without mentioning the term.
Another precious tidbit is in the story's second-last paragraph (bold is mine):
Last month, Robert Rubin, a former Treasury Secretary who was a longtime Citigroup board member, and Win Bischoff, most recently chairman at Citigroup, both announced their retirement from the company.
"A" former Treasury Secretary?
Gee, until recently he was known as Democratic Treasury Secretary under Democrat Bill Clinton.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. We do want to thank you for starting with us. It is the 21st of February, and we do want to begin with some breaking news.
HOLMES: Yes, and kind of a -- a shocker that went through the -- the newsroom this morning.
Yes, you remember that name and you remember that face in all likelihood. That is Chandra Levy, the 24-year-old who went missing some nine years ago now -- eight years ago, more specifically. An arrest, we're being told now, is imminent in this case. This is coming to us from our CNN affiliate out in the Bay Area, KGO. This is one of the most infamous D.C. cold cases out there. Again, some eight years old.
Just a little background on this case. You remember this young lady went missing in D.C. Got a lot of attention for one reason because of her relationship that it came out that she had with Congressman Gary Condit, who is no longer a congressman now. But a relationship that came out.
He was never -- there he is there -- never officially a suspect in the case.
HOLMES: But that was a reason this case got so much attention. And now, Betty, as we're hearing, an arrest...
HOLMES: ...is imminent in this case.
NGUYEN: The case not only ended Condit's career, but we are learning this morning that there is a suspect, a man who is indeed behind bars at this hour.
In a December post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I reviewed ABC's online "The Faces of Political Scandal" slideshow, which featured mini-profiles of 14 politicians in recent years who have been tainted by scandal and/or crime.
At the time, I noted that:
Of the 14 politicians identified, seven are Democrats and seven are Republicans. Five of the seven GOP members are identified as such, while only two of the seven Democrats were flagged. The montage also has a couple of surprising factual errors.
Well, glory be, sometime in the past couple of months, ABC has made changes to the montage. Now each profile except for Bill Clinton's (which is excusable) identifies the politician's party. Additionally, two factual errors at the original profiles have been corrected. The year of Clinton's Lewinsky scandal which ultimately led to his acts of perjury and impeachment has been changed from 1995 to 1998, and an incorrect statement that sex-scandalized Florida Democratic Congressman Tim Mahoney had conceded to GOP opponent Tom Rooney before Election Day last year has been removed.
Here's the lineup of the "Faces of Political Scandal," and how their status changed:
Former Chicago Democratic Alderman Arenda Troutman was sentenced today to four years in prison for mail and tax fraud. In covering her sentencing, both the Chicago Sun-Times article (picture at right is cropped from that article) and Jeff Coen's Breaking News piece at the Chicago Tribune failed to mention that Troutman is a Democrat.
Now it would be easy to say, "But of course she's a Democrat; she's from Chicago." Okay, but the Sun-Times, in five other reports spread over almost two years, mentioned her party only once. What's more, the Tribune's coverage quoted Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph Alesia saying that Troutman had been on "a five-year crime spree. .... Even by Chicago standards, it's (what she did is) no small crime." Logically, this would mean that even by Chicago Democratic Party standards, what Troutman did stood out.
Troutman's "obvious" Democratic Party affiliation also doesn't exonerate the Associated Press, whose stories go national and worldwide, And yes, there are plenty of people around the country and in the rest of the world who do not know that Democrats own Windy City politics (a little reminder every once in a while to those who do know wouldn't hurt either).
Here's most of the short unbylined AP item:
This "Name That Party" situation has many of the usual elements. There are several stories about two Democratic judges involved in criminal behavior in Pennsylvania, and, with one exception, they "somehow" don't get around to identifying their party.
But this saga is different for two reasons:
- The crimes to which the judges have pleaded guilty involve "thousands" of juveniles.
- In one lonely exception, the Associated Press's coverage prominently identified the judges' party. But in what was apparently a subsequent longer revision, their party identification disappeared.
What follows is a side-by-side picture of the first four paragraphs of a February 11 AP story carried at topix.com (also saved at my host for future reference), and of the five paragraphs of the story as it now appears at MSNBC (also saved at host; red and green boxes are mine; portions of the Topix link were moved from their original locations on the page for demonstration purposes; MSNBC graphic is of the printer-friendly version):