Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested today. The Associated Press’s Mike Robinson actually identified Blago’s party in the third paragraph of his 10:27 a.m. report (link is dynamic; cited report is also here for future reference; underlying news HTs to an e-mailer):
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiring to get financial benefits through his authority to appoint a U.S. senator to fill the vacancy left by Barack Obama’s election as president.
According to a federal criminal complaint, Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field. In return for state assistance, Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper’s editorial board who had been critical of him fired.
A 76-page FBI affidavit said the 51-year-old Democratic governor was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps over the last month conspiring to sell or trade the vacant Senate seat for personal benefits for himself and his wife, Patti.
Pass the smelling salts — USA Today’s Judy Keen began her story by identifying Blago as a Dem in the first word of the first sentence. And Reuters’s 10:38 a.m. report (probably dynamic) identifies him as a Dem at the beginning of its second paragraph.
Other news services’ initial reports have been more circumspect about Blago’s party membership:
- This MSNBC First Read report doesn’t have Blago’s status as a Democrat in its story, but did “tag” it.
- The UPI’s 10:12 a.m. story has no party ID.
- Finally, in what would seem to be a very odd twist, a pretty long story at Fox News does not identify Blago’s party anywhere in the story.
All in all, the overall performance of the press thus far would have to be given a “C” or “C+,” which compares pretty favorably to the typical D-/F+ performance usually seen when Democratic politicians get into trouble. (Update: Commenters at NewsBusters are finding other examples where Blago’s party ID is not present.)
A more typical example can be found in the arrest and resignation of Cleveland, Ohio councilman Robert J. White III over a bribery charge. The Cleveland Plain Dealer and other area news outlets totally failed to identify White as a Democrat.
The scope of the alleged crimes Illinois Governor Blagojevich stands accused of is, as U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald stated, “truly staggering.” Go to the links for more.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.