Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison yesterday. As has been the case for nearly six years as his scandals and prosecution have unfolded (seen here in dozens of NewsBusters posts), press coverage has usually avoided the inconvenient fact that Kilpatrick is a Democrat, and almost completely ignored Barack Obama's hearty endorsement of him during the early stages of his 2008 presidential campaign. A YouTube video from a May 2007 speech at the Detroit Economic Club shows Obama thanking Kilpatrick for "doing an outstanding job of gathering together the leadership at every level of Detroit, to bring about the kind of renaissance that all of us anticipate for this great city."
News outlets failing to note Kilpatrick's Democratic Party affiliation yesterday included the New York Times, CBS in Detroit, the Detroit Free Press in an item carried at USA Today, and Mike Tobin at Fox News. The Associated Press outdid itself in this regard, as will be explained after the jump.
Detroit's former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted Monday on multiple serious charges, including racketeering, fraud, and extortion. But Times reporter Mary Chapman buried Kilpatrick's Democratic party affiliation in paragraph 19 of her 21-paragraph report.
Even then, the Times never even directly labeled Kilpatrick a Democrat:
Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) was convicted yesterday on 24 separate federal corruption charges, which could cost him up to 20 years in prison. However, ABC, CBS, and NBC could not be bothered to even mention the conviction of this disgraced ex-mayor of a major, blighted American city on their nightly news programs.
Perhaps they were busy with what are clearly weightier matters. Monday’s NBC Nightly News, for example, found time to mention Justin Timberlake’s recent appearance on Saturday Night Live, the ten worst places to retire in America, and the plight of penguins in Antarctica.
Disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) is back in the news today with fresh federal convictions on corruption charges.
Reporting the story on its website, CNN failed to note the corrupt politician's party affiliation. The same is true of a "breaking news" email alert that it sent to subscribers (see screen grab below page break).
Ah, Kwame Kilpatrick, where've you been? The corrupt, perjurious ex-Democratic mayor of Detroit -- infamous for sending steamy text messages on a government-issued device to his chief of staff -- is in legal trouble once again, this time with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
According to the Washington Post's David Hilzenrath, the SEC has "filed civil charges accusing Kilpatrick and others of committing fraud against the [city's] pension funds by failing to disclose a conflict of interest." But, what do you know, Hilzenrath couldn't find any space in his 15-paragraph page A15 story to disclose Kilpatrick's Democratic Party affiliation.
It seems to be almost required by now that any indictment of Kwame Kilpatrick must be accompanied by two or more establishment media outlets reports that fail to inform readers that the former Detroit Mayor is a Democrat -- in fact, a Democrat who was singled out for copious praise during the early stages of Barack Obama's campaign for president.
I know, same-old, same-old. And Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead. But there's more to this particular chapter in this ongoing "Name That Party" narrative.
The wire service kept its near-perfect Kilpatrick non-labeling track record intact in two shorter items and a lengthier treatment of the latest development in Kwame's calamaties, all published in roughly the past 24 hours. The closest Kwame got to being tagged as a Dem occurred in an otherwise detailed report turned in by Ed White, where he described Kilpatrick's mother, Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, as "D-Mich." The link to White's report doesn't contain his byline; I'll explain why later in the post, where I will also suggest that there is reason to believe the AP has attempted to bottle up White's full report.
In an indictment filed Wednesday, he’s accused of failing to report at least $640,000 in taxable income between 2003 and 2008, which includes money, private jet flights and personal expenses paid by the (Kilpatrick) Civic Fund.
Here's the opening of the coverage at the New York Times's Caucus Blog (also subject to possible updates):
Just call it "journalism as usual."
One thing you can say about the Associated Press's and most of the rest of the establishment media's treatment of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick during the past two-plus years is that they've been almost totally consistent. They pretend not to know or care what political party Kilpatrick represented throughout his political career, and fail to acknowledge Barack Obama's fondness for him before his legal and criminal troubles began.
The latest episode in this bizarre soap opera/insult to the taxpaying public has Kilpatrick, who now lives with his wife in Dallas, accused of violating his probation by not remitting monies received that he had agreed to pay to the City of Detroit to help take care of an acknowledged $1 million debt to the city. The cliffhanger is: Will he or won't he be sent to jail again?
Today, the AP continued following its two-year pattern (see related March 2008 post at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), this time as written by reporters Ed White and Corey Williams, of avoiding any mention of Kilpatrick's status as a Democratic politician when he was mayor of Detroit. Here are several paragraphs from the pair's prose:
On a day in which the AP found newsworthiness in scandals involving both Democrats and Republicans, only one party was expressly identified within the articles. Can you guess which one?
It is the grand AP tradition known as 'Name That Party' - a tradition which includes the following:
- Fraudster Hassan Nemazee, finance chair for Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.
- Money laundering mayors Peter Cammarano III and Dennis Elwell.
- John Conyers wife.
- Jesse Jackson Jr. and Rod Blagojevich.
- and of course, Kwame Kilpatrick.
That's just a brief summary of the more recent transgressions committed by the AP.
Wolf pointed out the difference between this story and the AP’s coverage of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick:
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: