August 8, 2008

NYT’s Poor ‘Name That Party’ Performance with Kilpatrick Covers Extended Time Period

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:58 pm

KwameHatWhatParty0808.jpgPrevious NewsBusters posts by Brent Baker and Rusty Weiss have noted the “strange” and nearly complete memory loss exhibited by the TV networks (with the expected exception of fair and balanced Fox News) and the Associated Press concerning the political party affiliation of just-jailed Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

The New York Times’s record during the past seven months has been almost equally disgraceful.

Here’s the detailed rundown of 14 relevant stories I found in the Times since the troubles that ultimately led to the Mayor’s indictment and recent incarceration began:

  1. January 26 (“Mayor’s Amorous Texts Lead to Perjury Inquiry”) — Kilpatrick was not ID’d as a Dem, but in the ninth paragraph, his mother was (“Mr. Kilpatrick’s mother, Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Democrat of Michigan, is chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus …..”).
  2. January 29 (“Aide Linked to Detroit Mayor Will Step Down”) — No one’s party affiliation was mentioned anywhere.
  3. February 9 (“Document’s Disclosure Adds to Scandal Over Detroit Mayor”) — No one’s party affiliation was mentioned anywhere.
  4. February 28 (“Detroit Mayor Loses Fight Over Secret Papers”) — No one’s party affiliation was mentioned anywhere.
  5. February 29 (“Latest Troubles Put Detroit Mayor’s Job at Risk”) — The story’s fifth paragraph noted Kilpatrick’s speaking roles at the 2000 and 2004 Democratic National Conventions, which is a de facto, if not toally direct, party identification.
  6. March 5 (“Detroit City Council Delays Vote on Resolution Urging the Mayor to Step Down”) — Kilpatrick wasn’t ID’d as a Dem, but Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm was, in a way that almost made it appear as if she’s not affiliated with the same party as Kilpatrick.
  7. March 14 (“Pressure Rises in Detroit For Mayor to Quit Quickly”) — No one’s party affiliation was mentioned anywhere.
  8. March 19 (“Stalemate in Detroit: City Council Asks Mayor to Resign, but He Refuses to Go”) — Kilpatrick wasn’t ID’d as a Dem, but City Council member Monica Conyers, the only Council member who voted against a resolution calling on the Mayor to resign, was.
  9. March 25 (“Mayor of Detroit Faces 8 Counts in Perjury Case”) — The story’s fifth paragraph recounted that Kilpatrick “once drew note from Democratic Party leaders as a young politician to watch.” No form of the word “indict” appears anywhere in the report.
  10. March 28 (“Backers [One Fewer Than Thought] Act to Aid Detroit Mayor”) — No one’s party affiliation was mentioned anywhere.
  11. April 15 (“Detroit City Council Snubs Mayor as Impasse Persists”) — No one’s party affiliation was mentioned anywhere.
  12. April 30 (“Detroit Mayor’s Messages To Ex-Aide Are Released”) — No one’s party affiliation was mentioned anywhere.
  13. May 14 (“Detroit City Council Votes to Request Removal of Mayor by Governor”) — Reporter Nick Bunkley said in the story’s fourh paragraph that “Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm — a Democrat, like Mr. Kilpatrick — has the authority to remove public officials, though that power has rarely been used.” Geez, I should hope so.
  14. August 8 (“Judge Orders Detroit Mayor Jailed”) — No one’s party affiliation is mentioned anywhere, including that of Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.

The final tally of the 14 stories is as follows:

  • No one’s party affiliation was mentioned anywhere in eight of them.
  • Other people are identified as Democrats, but not Kilpatrick, in three of them.
  • There are only three clear references to Mr. Kilpatrick’s Democratic Party affiliation. In each case, readers needed four or more paragraphs to get to the party reference.

That’s a pretty poor performance, especially considering the fact that the Times has more international reach than the US TV networks.

Cross-posted at


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