Leland Yee, a San Francisco Democrat and staunch proponent of stiffer gun-control laws was sentenced today in federal court on corruption charges tied to, among other things, a conspiracy to traffic weapons. Although this is off-the-charts hypocritical of Mr. Yee, a wonderfully sensational corrupt politician story ripe for national news, none of the Big Three broadcast evening news programs last night so much as devoted a news brief to the story.
The political career of California State Senator Leland Yee, a Democrat who had been running for Secretary of State, came to an abrupt end in March 2014 when the strident gun-control advocate was arrested and charged with "six counts of depriving the public of honest services and one count of conspiracy to traffic in guns without a license."
Last week, Yee, who pled guilty last year to "one count of conspiracy to engage in racketeering," begged for a relatively lenient sentence of five years and three months. Yesterday, he got sentenced to five years. Separate Associated Press stories in these two instances each failed to identify Yee as a Democrat.
In his “Happy Warrior” column in the April 21 National Review, Jonah Goldberg reports on how “Press Shows Bias.” In this case, it’s the case of California state Sen. Leland Yee, whose remarkable attempts to smuggle guns and even missile-launchers went mostly ignored in the national media.
The most notable omitter was CNN, which tweeted it covers state officials “just about never.” (On April 11, CNN anchor Jake Tapper proved the exception to the rule: “This week, Yee pleaded not guilty to charges that are stunning in their reach and, if true, hypocrisy.” A full report by Jason Carroll followed.) Goldberg’s column mocked the old cliche of covering “man bites dog” stories:
Wow, what a great year to work as a political cartoonist in California, especially if you're also a columnist.
Back in January, a California state senator name Rod Wright was convicted on all eight counts in his trial for voter fraud and perjury. Just a few weeks later, another state senator from California, Ron Calderon, was indicted on two dozen (!) counts of bribery, fraud, money laundering and other charges.
Let it be noted that at 7:17 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, CNN.com finally broke down and posted a story on the alleged criminal behavior of California State Senator Leland Yee. The headline at the story by Matt Smith and Jason Carroll ("Feds: Calif. pol Leland Yee schemed to trade arms for campaign cash") gets to the heart of the matter — unlike the headline ("LAWMAKER YEE PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO FEDERAL CHARGES") at the Associated Press's most recent story on Yee. But Smith and Carroll waited until the fourth paragraph to tag Yee as a Democrat (the AP story at least got there at Paragraph 3).
CNN's story arrives 13 days after Yee's initial arrest, and 11 days, 9 hours and 58 minutes after a snippy person at the "CNN.com Writers" Twitter account — apparently one Eliott McLaughlin, according to the account's home page — claimed that its non-coverage of the Yee story was "in line with us covering state senators & state secretary of state races just about never." Yours truly disproved that assertion in about three minutes on March 29.
Thoroughly leeward cable network MSNBC touts its slogan as "Lean Forward." There are times when "Look the Other Way" would be more accurate in describing its coverage.
On her March 26 show, Rachel Maddow reported that more than two dozen people were arrested by police and FBI agents across California and charged in a "huge corruption, gun-running, racketeering, drug-trafficking sting, and at least one accusation of murder for hire." (Video after the jump)
No wonder so many people, especially young Americans, get their news from Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show." They've learned from long experience that they can't get it from places such as "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC that proudly and repeatedly tout themselves as "news" shows.
While attempting to show how balanced she is, Maddow on March 27 responded on a flurry of Democrat scandals so numerous that even MSNBC could not ignore them. But predictably for Maddow, she soft-pedaled what was arguably the most serious of the bunch -- the alleged attempt by California state senator Leland Yee to obtain shoulder-fired missiles and other heavy weaponry from Filipino jihadists in exchange for campaign cash. (Video after the jump)
When an unmistakable embarrassment to liberalism occurs, a standard establishment press fallback tactic is to accuse conservatives of some form of incivility — and if there really isn't one, to make up a story about it anyway.
That's exactly what Bloomberg Businsessweek's Paul M. Barrett did on Tuesday in covering the NRA's reaction to the arrest of California State Senator and ardent gun control advocate Leland Yee on gun trafficking charges. The story's headline claimed that the group did "a victory dance." Barrett's content claimed that it was "gloating" and "strained to veil its pleasure." In truth, the group was doing nothing of the sort — unless the speech police now believe that making any kind of obvious observation about a liberal's failure is inherently unfair:
Although its report has its shortcomings, particularly the fact that it didn't identify him as a Democrat for 24 paragraphs (as noted this morning), the Associated Press has at least treated California State Senator Leland Yee's arrest on corruption and gun trafficking charges as a national story, with two bylined reporters and seven others assisting.
The same cannot be said of CNN.com. Web searchers, including several center-right bloggers, have noted the absence of any story about Yee there since 2011 (still true as of 6:30 p.m.). A tweet from "CNN.com Writers" snippily snapped back with a howler disproved faster than you can say "covering Democrats' keisters":
It's no secret that the folks who run the New York Times are big fans of gun control. It turns out that they also favor controlling the use of the word "gun" in headlines about Democrats.
Over at National Review's Campaign Spot yesterday, regarding the news of Democratic California Senator Leland Yee's arrest, Jim Geraghty noted: "The New York Times greeted that news with a one paragraph summary on page A21 Wednesday with the headline: 'California: State Senator Accused of Corruption.'" That A21 one-paragrapher is an AP item. According to a long AP report on Yee's arrest, Yee, a longtime gun control advocate himself, is charged with "six counts of depriving the public of honest services and one count of conspiracy to traffic in guns without a license." In addition to burying the story in its back pages, let's look at what the Times did to the AP's original headline:
Remember last month when MSNBC's Rachel Maddow could not bring herself to even whisper that corrupt convicted mayors in Trenton and New Orleans were (place finger to lips) Democrats ...?
Last night, the pendulum swung all the way to the other side. There are so many Dems answering awkward questions from police and FBI agents that Maddow threw ideological caution to the wind and repeatedly -- almost obsessively -- cited their party affiliation. Curiouser still, to borrow from Lewis Carroll, Maddow downplayed what were arguably the most serious accusations of all, those leveled at California state senator Leland Yee. (Video after the jump)
In a 72-word Cheat Sheet item on their website today, Daily Beast editors failed to note California Democratic State Senator Leland Yee's party affiliation nor the fact that the alleged gun-running politician was an outspoken advocate of more gun-control laws.
To be fair, the Associated Press article that the Cheat Sheet item linked to mentioned both facts, but casual readers of the Daily Beast's news digest who failed to follow the link would have remained ignored to them: