December 11, 2008

Name That Party Parade: ABC’s ‘Faces of Political Scandal’ Labels Most GOP Faces, Few Dems

A collection of “The Faces of Political Scandal,” assembled by ABC News yesterday (HT to an e-mailer), once again demonstrates the media’s relative reluctance to identify the membership of Democrats involved in scandal.

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.

Here’s the detail, slide by slide:

  1. Current Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich — Party not ID’d, while containing a quote with a Republican frame of reference (“Gov. Blagojevich has taken us to a new low,” U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said. “This conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.”).
  2. Soon to be former GOP Alaska Senator Ted Stevens — Party immediately ID’d.
  3. New York Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel — Party immediately ID’d.
  4. Former Detroit Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick — Party not ID’d.
  5. Former Florida Democratic Congressman Tim Mahoney — Party not ID’d. The entry contains an odd statement (“He conceded his congressional race to Mark Rooney Nov. 4, 2008, in light of the scandal”) that seems untrue, given that Rooney won by a 60-40 margin. This brief AP story on Election Night has no indication of an advance concession.
  6. Former New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer — Party not ID’d.
  7. Former New York GOP Congressman Vito Fossella — Party ID’d in third sentence (“‘My personal failings and imperfections have caused enormous pain to the people I love and I am truly sorry,’ said the conservative Republican.”).
  8. Former Ohio GOP Congressman Bob Ney — Party ID’d immediately.
  9. Former Florida GOP Congressman Mark Foley — Party ID’d immediately.
  10. Former California GOP Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham — No Party ID’d.
  11. Soon to be former Louisiana Democratic Congressman William Jefferson — Party ID’d immediately.
  12. Soon to be former Idaho GOP Senator Larry Craig — Party ID’d in first sentence.
  13. Former Illinois Governor George Ryan — No party ID’d.
  14. Former Democratic President Bill Clinton — No party ID’d. Incredibly, the network gets the start date of the Lewinsky scandal wrong (“Monica Lewinsky’s “relations” with President Clinton famously produced a scandal that shook the White House and Clinton’s presidency in 1995″). The story didn’t break until January 1998, with Matt Drudge’s famous “Newsweek Kills Story on White House Intern” post.

Overall, this is yet another shoddy and inconsistent party identification performance by a major media outlet.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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