Name That Party
On April 14, The Toledo Blade, apparently having temporarily misplaced the comma key, reported that "Longtime Lucas County Sheriff James Telb and a top commander and two former deputies were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on charges related to the 2004 death of an inmate at the jail" (HT to Maggie Thurber in an e-mail).
The Blade, which likes to brag about the over 1,000 articles (I'm not kidding) it carried about Republican Tom Noe's coin-dealing losses and related matters several years ago, nearly all of which reminded readers of Noe's GOP affiliation, "somehow" forgot to tell readers that Sheriff Telb is a Democrat (scroll down to list of "Uncontested Races" at link").
The Blade's blind spot on Sheriff Telb's party has been on display frequently since then. Telb's party affiliation is nowhere to be found in these other Blade reports:
The Associated Press's determination to keep the identity of Democrats in trouble or under investigation hidden is indeed strong and persistent.
Its report (as of 11:03 p.m.; a copy is saved here at my web host for future reference) on the launch of an ethics probe into Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr.'s relationship with ousted former Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich, particularly relating to Jackson’s bid to be appointed to the Senate seat left vacant by President Barack Obama, does not refer to Jackson or Blago as a Democrat. Any more, that's relatively unremarkable.
What is a bit more remarkable is that the underlying Chicago Sun-Times story on the impending probe refers to Jackson twice as a "D-Ill," once in the report's very first sentence and once in the picture caption copied at the top right (which, of all things, is apparently an AP file photo).
This means that AP had to proactively scrub the Democratic Party references already present in its underlying source.
Here's how the Sun-Times's story began:
MSNBC's Web site reports "Former Judge Herman Thomas Indicted on Sex, Ethics Charges." The piece begins:
Former Mobile County Circuit Judge Herman Thomas has bonded out of the Mobile County Metro Jail after he was arrested Friday afternoon. Before his arrest, Thomas was indicted by a grand jury on 57 felony counts, accusing him of, among other things, sexually abusing Mobile County inmates in exchange for favors in his courtroom. Thomas is charged with ethics violations, kidnapping, extortion, sexual abuse and sodomy. The indictment against him includes graphic details of alleged paddling and other sexual favors. Eight victims are named in the indictment. All of the alleged victims are men.Other news outlets covering the story included the Montgomery Advertiser, the Press-Register, SunHerald.com, and WKRG TV 5 in Mobile.
None identified the judge as a Democrat. The January 4, 2000 Mobile Register did. In a story titled "Too late? Clinton may not get to fill judgeship," the newspaper reported in a subtitle:
Senate may not allow Clinton pick: Herman Thomas has been a leading candidate for federal berth, but his chances may be dimmed by a GOP freeze
The rivals from Louisiana were former Governors Huey Long and Edwin Edwards, former Congressman William "Refrigerator" Jefferson, and former New Orleans City Council president Oliver Thomas (identified as Thomas Oliver by the newspaper.). Weighing in from Illinois were former Governors George Ryan and Milorad "Call Me Rod" Blagojevich, former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, and former Chicago alderman Arenda Troutman.
The Trib gave the nod to Edwin Edwards, although I think the competition was marred by not having an Illinois Daley in the competition. Setting that aside, what was interesting is the Tribune didn't mention party affiliation in its bracketeering. Seven of the eight contenders, or 87.5 percent, were Democrats. Gee, what a surprise.
I think it is finally getting to the point that when an Old Media story goes out over the wires without mentioning the party affiliation of troubled politicians, people naturally assume that all the criminal actions in said story are being perpetrated by Democrats. But, that assumption aside, we are still seeing reports nearly every day that omit the "Democrat" in any story involving criminal Democrats. Here is yet another one.
The Associated Press posted a story on the FBI's probe of questionable campaign donations to Senator Patty Murray and Representative Norm Dicks of Washington state. The possibly worrisome donations were from PMA Group, a lobbying firm founded by an aide of Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania. With all these politician's names being thrown around in the AP report, though, it is curious that not a one of them were ever identified as Democrats. Not once.
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):