January 20, 2013

Name That Party: See How AP Converted Nev. Story on Democratic Lawmaker’s Arrest For Threatening Colleague

It should surprise no one that the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, often first learns of stories when other outlets break them. When this occurs with a story about a Democratic Party politician in trouble, we get to see how the self-described “essential global news network” revises (i.e., cleans up) the outlet’s original content to make it render as little damage as possible.

Today out of Nevada, there’s the story of Steven Brooks, a State Assembly member from North Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Sun’s coverage (HT Instapundit) opens with the following sentence: “A Democratic assemblyman is in jail, arrested for threatening Democratic Speaker-elect Marilyn Kirkpatrick, according to North Las Vegas Police and Democratic sources familiar with the situation.” Since it concerns an intra-party squabble, tagging those involved as Democrats three times is not at all out of line — in fact, it’s necessary if one wishes to accurately communicate the situation. But the AP report from Martin Griffith waited nine paragraphs to use the word “Democratic.” Incredibly, almost as if he’s a member of Brooks’s legal defense team, he also informed readers of Brooks’s family situation and made a list of the wonderful organizations he has allegedly served (saved here in full for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes; bolds are mine):

Nev. lawmaker accused of threatening colleague

A Nevada lawmaker has been arrested on suspicion of threatening to harm a fellow legislator in a case that has prompted security protection to be provided for two top legislative leaders.

North Las Vegas police said Sunday that they began a search for Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, on Saturday after receiving corroborating witness statements supporting the victim’s report of a threat. Police didn’t identify the lawmaker who reported the threat.

Brooks was taken into custody without incident during a traffic stop late Saturday afternoon in his hometown, police said, and he was booked into the Las Vegas jail on a felony count of intimidating a public officer by threat of physical violence. He remained in jail Sunday afternoon, and it wasn’t immediately known whether he had a lawyer.

Assembly Majority Leader William Horne, D-Las Vegas, declined to comment on the target of the threat but said he and Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick have been provided security protection because of it.

… Horne declined to comment on published reports that Brooks was upset because of the committee assignments Kirkpatrick had given him.

“We’re going to let the police investigation take place, and we wish Mr. Brooks well,” he said.

(Paragraph 9 — Ed.) … Brendan Summers, executive director of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, declined to comment on the arrest.

Brooks, 40, a management analyst for the city of Las Vegas, was elected to a second term in November. A father of four, he has served on the boards of several organizations, including the Las Vegas Urban League, Hispanic Museum of Nevada and Community Land Trust.

The Las Vegas Sun report made no mention of Brooks’s family situation or public service resume, meaning, unless there’s another report out of another source that I couldn’t find, that Griffith went out and found it on his own.

Griffith also helpfully relayed a quote from Democrat Horne as to why this whole thing is so awful: “It’s a distraction going into the session, but we’re confident that authorities are looking into it and taking appropriate steps.” Those darned distractions are just awful, aren’t they?

Oh, and one more thing: The Sun reported that “A source said he was arrested with a loaded gun after threatening to shoot Kirkpatrick.” Griffith “somehow” forgot to include that. It’s almost impossible to imagine that an AP reporter would have overlooked that fact in a report on a conservative or Republican in a similar situation.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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