August 4, 2011

Name That Party: Comparing NYDN’s and AP’s Coverage of ‘Louis the Lewd’ Magazzu’s N.J. Resignation

Louis Magazzu, whom I shall nickname “Louis the Lewd,” was a Democratic County Freeholder in Cumberland County, New Jersey. A “freeholder” is the Garden State equivalent of a county commissioner.

His position is in the past tense because Louis the Lewd resigned on Tuesday after nude pictures of himself sent to a woman with whom he had online correspondence for several years were published.

Let’s compare how the Aliyah Shahid at the New York Daily News and Beth DeFalco at the Associated Press covered Magazzu’s resignation. First, from the Daily News, which isn’t exactly considered strongly conservative or particularly anti-Democrat:

Louis Magazzu, Democrat New Jersey freeholder, resigns after nude photos, sexts surface

It’s Anthony Weiner, Jersey edition.

Garden State Democrat Louis Magazzu announced his resignation Tuesday after nude pictures he sent to a woman he had been corresponding with were posted on a Republican activist’s website.

At least two of the photos showed the Cumberland County freeholder’s crotch, two showed him dressed to the nines in a suit, and a fifth showed him waist up without a shirt.

The tawdry photos – taken in front of a mirror with a smartphone – are similar to those that led to Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens-Brooklyn) to call it quits in June.

Magazzu, a 53-year-old lawyer who had been an elected county official for more than a decade, apologized to his friends, family and constituents in a statement, but indicated he had been set up.

“I did not know that she was working with an avowed political enemy to distribute these pictures,” Magazzu said of the Chicago woman he corresponded with online with for several years but claims he never met. “I have retained counsel to determine what laws may have been broken by the unauthorized distribution of those pictures.”

… Unlike Weiner, who waited weeks before resigning, Magazzu stepped down just a day after the photo scandal hit local papers.

Carl Johnson, of Milville, who posted the photos on Magazzuwatch.com, said he would consider taking down the photos.

Shahid’s writeup is a good example of fair and balanced coverage. It appropriately tags Louis the Lewd as a Dem in the headline and first paragraph, but also identified the nature of Magazzu’s antagonist right off the bat.

Now let’s look at how the AP’s DeFalco and the wire service’s headline writers proactively worked to defer tagging Magazzu as a Dem, while making sure that readers knew right off the bat that this was a GOP activist’s doing:

NJ pol resigns after nude photos appear online [1]

A politician who emailed a woman nude photos of himself [4] that were later posted on a GOP activist’s website [2] announced his resignation Tuesday and said he’ll consider all legal options to have the pictures taken down.

In an emailed statement, Cumberland County freeholder Louis Magazzu apologized to his friends, family and constituents but indicated that he thought he was being set up.

The 53-year-old Democratic lawyer, [3] who’d been an elected county official since 1997, said he sent the photos to a woman with whom he corresponded online for several years and that she requested the photos. At least two of the photos revealed his crotch, two photos showed him fully dressed in a suit and a fifth showed him from the waist up, shirtless.

“I did not know that she was working with an avowed political enemy to distribute these pictures,” he said. “I have retained counsel to determine what laws may have been broken by the unauthorized distribution of those pictures.”

The pictures appear [4] to show Magazzu standing naked in front of a mirror photographing himself with a Blackberry – photos similar to those that led U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York to resign in June. The seven-term Democratic congressman acknowledged sending sexually explicit messages and photos to several women online.

Johnson said on his website that the woman “contacted me out of the blue this year.” He said he told her to contact the media, and when none seemed interested, he “reluctantly revealed them.”

So, let’s see, AP:

  • [1] — Party affiliation of Democratic politician tarred by scandal not in headline, check.
  • [2] — Party affiliation of said Democrat’s enemy identified in first sentence, check.
  • [3] — Waiting as long as possible to avoid identifying Democrat politician’s political party in hopes that most print readers, online readers, and new outlets will stop after the first two paragraphs, check.
  • [4] — Adding an element of doubt where none is warranted by including the word “appear,” check.

Item [4] is particularly risible, as Louis the Lewd has admitted that the photos are indeed of him:

He told The Daily Journal he forwarded the photos, along with others in which he is fully clothed, to an unidentified woman. The explicit shots were sent at her request after he sent other pictures in which he is fully dressed, Magazzu said.

Readers should additionally note that the Daily News identified the Magaazuwatch.com web site, and AP’s DeFalco, apparently in the interest of ensuring that readers don’t learn anything beyond what the wire service is willing to tell them, did not.

Separate from AP’s awful handling of the story (unless it happens to have been among those contacted), I’d like to know which media outlets decided that Magazzu’s conduct wasn’t news. If not, why not? Obviously it was news, because, guess what? You’re covering it now.

The contrast between a media outlet doing its job of informing the public and one which seems to see part of its mission as covering for Democratic corruption and misconduct at every turn could hardly be clearer.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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19 Comments

  1. Why do you care about this, Tom? Are you really concerned that a nobody in NJ wasn’t named DEMOCRAT is his little sex scandal story? Are you keeping track of which party is guiltier than the other when it comes to sex scandals? Does it make you happy when a married democrat gets busted, so you can use it as more fodder for a meaningless game that seemingly you’re the only one playing?

    People cheat. Politics has nothing to do with it.

    Comment by Tom — August 4, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  2. Wow, what a crybaby comment.

    I’m comparing how two entities reported a story; one fair, balanced, and professional, the other clearly not. That’s all.

    But since you’re interested in a list, you can go here and find over 140 examples in the past 2-1/2 years.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 4, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

  3. Crybaby? After 140 stories beating the same dead horse, who’s really crying? And, ahem, you don’t think right wing media does the same? Nah, you know better than that, though I wouldn’t count on you admitting that. Should I post the links from Fox?

    Thanks, by the way, for the Newsbusters link. I had never heard of that site but it looks like a fun place to hang out. I look forward to reading about the next time ABC fails to label Nancy Pelosi a democrat. As if.

    Comment by Tom — August 4, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

  4. Do I think the right wing media does the same?

    First, there’s very little “right-wing” representation in the establishment press.

    Second, the answer is “No.”

    Third, the 140 in 2-1/2 years is barely a drop in the bucket. I would know, because I’ve seen plenty NB has decided aren’t blatant enough to merit posting.

    Please do hang out at NB. You might learn something.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 4, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

  5. Democrats cheat more

    Example one
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/take-a-guess-are-americas-tax-cheating-politicians-mostly-dems-or-republicans/

    Comment by Greg — August 4, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

  6. Democrats are cheating my children….
    They are robbing them blind!
    Stealing their future and birth right.
    and they are lying too!
    See Video:
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/07/doorbell.php

    Comment by Greg — August 4, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

  7. Still don’t believe it?

    http://intershame.com/on/Fox_News

    Yeah I know. Fox is fair and balanced, and these are simply errors rather than omissions.

    Comment by Tom — August 4, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  8. You’re kidding, right? You find about 10 — I’m sorry, make that six — accidental mislabelings in run of the mill stories and compare that to FAILURE to label miscreant politicians who are Democrats?

    Even if I accepted your bullcrap comparison, which I don’t, you’re still 134 short.

    What a maroon.

    Update, 9:10 p.m.: Oh, and it’s six in about 5 years instead of 2.5.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 4, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

  9. Right on target Tom. You call them accidental mislabels, I call them distorting the truth. And I took 1 minute to google it while you merely linked me to your other blog (do you get paid 2x for posting the same story on 2 different sites?), where I presume you have a gaggle of interns scouring the left wing media for such omissions that really do change our lives. But seriously, do you find this goose hunt to be worth your time?

    By the way, nice mature response. And you call liberals “children.”

    Comment by Tom — August 4, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

  10. Awwwww. Did I hurt your feeewings by calling you a “maroon” and your comment as “crybaby”? Zheesh.

    MMA has unlimited Soros money and interns, if you’re going to start doing comparisons — and notice they don’t have anything resembling a big “Republican party affiliation left out” list (if they have one at all).

    Fortunately, NB and others are sparse on resources but have a commodity MMA lacks — the truth.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 4, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

  11. Liberals also say a bunch of shit. Very little is true. If they cared about the children, abortion on demand would be illegal. If they cared about the children, they would have cut the debt rather than raised the debt ceiling. If they cared about the children, they would GTF out of the way and let business get back to business so those children might have good jobs some day. Want me to go on?

    Comment by Greg — August 5, 2011 @ 12:06 am

  12. #11, Greg you remind me of Sir Lancelot in Monty Python. Please review the short videos as I really don’t care for people who in their emotional exhuberance wound their allies.

    Part 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIqlcaazN_0&feature=fvwrel

    Part 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc6HQIrEk7g&NR=1

    Comment by dscott — August 5, 2011 @ 12:35 am

  13. Hey dscott, it’s okay. Greg could have pointed out that libs whine about Republicans and Tea Partiers taking hostages and being terrorists while all they’re doing is trying to restore the nation to its constitutional roots. But he didn’t. So I will.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 5, 2011 @ 12:42 am

  14. 13, it’s just annoying that’s all. I disagree with you at times as well but I don’t go all emotional. I get the feeling that Greg came to his conservatism as a former liberal, i.e. a neocon. Not that there is anything wrong with being a neocon as I say, better late than never to the party. However, it’s the rash emotionalism I find counterproductive, thus the analogy to Sir Lancelot’s rampage.

    I came to my conservatism before I was old enough to vote, and was a Goldwater supporter. Ancient history I know, but that grounding serves me well in rationally connecting the dots without the distraction of emotional appeals. Call me cold, cynical and calculating, however you won’t find me easily misled by liberal emotional appeals or the emergency appeal do it now and think later. Yes, I can spin a conspiracy theory with the best of them, nothing like a clever black helocopter theory, but mine make you really, really think about the plausibility of it all.

    Comment by dscott — August 5, 2011 @ 1:58 am

  15. HA!!! You’re killing me!!!!!!! You want people to believe Newsbusters is some tiny little independently run startup blog? It’s owned by L Brent Bozell, who coincidentally owns the MRC. No, Newsbusters has plenty of money, but Bozell would rather have the website members pay for their playground than actually selling advertising (yes, the way a majority of sites are funded).

    What were we talking about again? Oh yes, grown men running out of sensible arguments who resort to immature name calling.

    Comment by Tom — August 5, 2011 @ 10:12 am

  16. Awwwww, I see your feeeeewings are still hurt. Given that the lib side — the politicians and the leading media people, not “mere” commenters or bloggers — routinely calls Tea Party patriots terrorists and hostage-takers, you have no argument.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 5, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

  17. Ahem. Tea Party Patriots???? You don’t really believe that, do you? The Teaheads are a bunch of hypocritical, whiney little babies who simply don’t like liberals, and after the huge disappointment that was 8 years of the Bush administration, they’ve had it. Are you a tea partier? Or do you just play one online?

    Comment by Tom — August 5, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

  18. Well, I see the civility pose has gone out the window.

    Your crap isn’t worthy of a response.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 5, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

  19. Civility went out the window with your first response. I’ll see you around, Blumer.

    Comment by Tom — August 5, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

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