Name That Party
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):
I knew he was a prolific text-messager, but I had no idea former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) was a whiz with computer software.
Disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was released shortly after midnight this morning, having served a 99-day jail term. Reporting the story, the Associated Press noted the pol's Democratic Party affiliation in the fourth paragraph of its story, after noting that he "looked thinner and his beard was fuller" than when he was admitted to jail.
Yet in a 43-second AP video narrated by Brian Thomas, the Democratic affiliation went unmentioned but his weight loss figure was more precisely pinned down.
Seven weeks after his arrest for allegedly attempting to peddle Barack Obama’s Senate seat, Rod Blagojevich was removed as governor of Illinois on Thursday. ABC, CBS and NBC all offered full reports last night and this morning, but none of the anchors or reporters provided any hint that Blagojevich was a Democrat.
Back on December 9, reporting on the then-governor’s arrest, NewsBusters noted how all three of the evening newscasts had properly referred to Blagojevich as a Democrat. NBC reporter Lee Cowan described the charge as “that the two-term Democratic Governor tried to sell a seat in the US Senate to the highest bidder,” while ABC’s Brian Ross stated that “the boyish-looking Democrat branded a greedy, foul mouth politician who tried to sell a US Senate seat to the highest bidder.”
But now that the scandal was ending Blagojevich’s political career (he’s now banned from ever serving in public office in Illinois), the networks have dropped the (D) from the story. A round-up of some of the coverage, starting with Thursday’s evening newscasts:
On Tuesday’s CBS ‘Early Show,’ embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was interviewed over the course of two segments, totaling 10 minutes, and was never described as a Democrat. Co-hosts Maggie Rodriguez, Harry Smith and Julie Chen all spoke with the governor at some point and none mentioned his political party. The only acknowledgment of the governor’s party affiliation was in an on-screen graphic that featured a ‘(D) Illinois’ label. A mention of Blagojevich’s political party was similarly lacking on Thursday’s Good Morning America on ABC.
In addition to Early Show hosts failing to note that Blagojevich was a Democrat, none of them asked the governor about any discussions he had with President Obama or other administration officials about filling Obama’s vacant Senate seat. In the second segment in the 7:30AM half hour, Blagojevich declared: "I want to bring Congressman Rahm -- president's chief of staff, my congressman, Rahm Emanuel...I want to bring Valerie Jarrett, who's a high-ranking official in the Obama administration." However, there was no follow-up question to clarify the connection those Obama administration officials had with Blagojevich. Despite such a lack of journalist curiosity, Julie Chen exclaimed at the top of the show: "Blago live. He's faced Larry and Barbara, but his toughest interview is ahead this morning."
Today we have the corresponding opposite to prove the point of our favorite game, “Name That Party.” You see, today we have the case in point of the former Senate leader of New York's legislature Joseph Bruno. Mr. Bruno has been indicted on those ever lovin' federal corruption charges for "defrauding the people of New York from 1993 through at least 2006."
He's a rotten so-and-so, of course. Apparently the FBI has been after him for months and since before he retired from the state legislature. Now he faces an eight-count indictment issued by the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of New York.
So, from what party does this ner-do-well hail...
One convicted on bribery, the other attacks cops at crime scene saying she wasn't driving drunk
Now that the media has had it's near orgasmic reaction to Obama's inaugural, it's apparently time for some more "name that party" fun for everyone. Today we have incidents widely separated by distance, but not separated at all in at least one way. We have in Alabama a pair of convictions on bribery and conspiracy of a state wide politician and a Jefferson County Minister and in Chicago we have a City Alderman arrested for drunken driving who decided to get all up in the faces of the arresting officers as they attempted to do their job. The coincidence between the two stories is that, you guessed it, none of the stories detailing these incidents could find room in them to identify these politicians as Democrats. I know, I know. You're shocked, eh?
Our first case is that of Alabama Sen. E.B. McClain and his pal the very in-trouble Reverend Samuel Pettagrue, both convicted after only a scant 8 hours of deliberation by a jury of their peers. It was guilty on all 48 counts for the pair in a Birmingham court because "Pettagrue accepted nearly $760,000 in state grant money obtained by McClain to run a nonprofit foundation and then gave McClain more than $300,000 in kickbacks."
Mayor Gary Becker of Racine, Wisconsin, received some unwanted attention from the Old Media and the local police today because of his arrest for using a computer to solicit sex from a child. According to the Associated Press, Becker is "tentatively charged with attempted second-degree sexual assault of a child, child enticement, possession of child pornography, exposing a child to harmful materials, using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime and misconduct in public office."
The AP spends several paragraphs detailing the world of Mayor Becker. It describes his election, his marriage and kids. It describes his accused crime and where and how he was snapped up by the police. But there is one little thing the AP can't seem to find any information on... his party.
That's right, once again the Old Media gives us an alleged criminal sexual pervert politician and somehow forgets to mention the accused is a Democrat.