Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison today on fraud, bribery and related charges. In a January 2006 appearance on PBS's Tavis Smiley Show, Nagin, who in many several previous news reports had been described as a Republican who became a Democrat once he sought political office, told Smiley that he "never was a Republican" and he has been a "life-long Democrat."

As would be expected, several media outlets are failing to report Nagin's declared status as a "life-long Democrat." A particularly egregious example is at USA Today (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes, and in case USAT makes revisions; HT longtime NB commenter Gary Hall; bolds are mine):



Former Louisiana Governor and convicted felon Edwin Edwards now wants to be the Bayou State's Sixth District congressman — as a Democrat.

In his coverage of Edwards' improbable but obviously not impossible candidacy, Associated Press reporter Kevin McGill simply took it for granted that Edwards can appear on the November ballot as a Democrat. That shouldn't be automatic, as a recent example from next door neighbor Alablama demonstrates. Excerpts and discussion follow the jump:



Though there were some exceptions (e.g., this one caught by Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters a few days ago), most press reports as the beginning of the trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin tagged him as a Democrat.

Apparently, there's a quota on "D" references at the Associated Press. A lengthy AP story by Kevin McGaill carried at Time.com and AP's national site has no reference to Nagin's party affiliation. Nagin was part of the odd couple of Democrats (former Governor Kathleen Blance is the other) who failed to do what they needed to do to prepare New Orleans and the Bayou State for Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Excerpts from the longer Time story follow the jump (bolds identifying opportunites to identify Nagin's party affiliation are mine):



Maybe there's some unwritten guideline in the press relating to when a politician who is no longer holding office doesn't have to have his party label applied if he gets into some kind of trouble -- even if that trouble is related to when he was in office.

The suspicion here is that the rule only applies to past Democratic Party officeholders, and that the guideline period is unduly short. A recent example is former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, a Democrat who is under investigation for bribery and kickbacks. Both the Associated Press and Reuters failed to tag Nagin or any other Democrat in their related reports; the AP report called him a "moderate."