April 16, 2014

No Press Story IDs Sentenced Former Bell, Calif. City Manager as a Democrat

In September 2010, Lachlan Markay at NewsBusters put up a post entitled “Eight Dems Arrested in Bell, CA ‘Corruption on Steroids’ – Not a Single Mention of Party Affiliation From Media.”

Almost four years later (!), reviews of search engine results and specific news stories on the sentencing of Robert Rizzo, the community’s former city manager, are again returning no mentions of the fact that Rizzo is a Democrat.

Specifically, here is a screen grab of the Google News results from a search on “Bell California Rizzo” (not in quotes):


Now here is the same search, but with the addition of the word “democrat”:


Any questions?

The Associated Press is not treating it as a national story. The New York Times has a one-paragraph blurb from AP, which of course does not mention that Rizzo is a Democrat. Here it is (bolds and paragraph breaks added by me):

California: Ex-City Manager Sentenced to 33 Months in First of Two Cases

The man the authorities say masterminded a scheme that fleeced the small Los Angeles suburb of Bell out of millions of dollars was sentenced in federal court on Monday to 33 months in prison for income tax evasion.

Judge George H. King of Federal District Court in Los Angeles sentenced Robert Rizzo, the former city manager of Bell, two days before he is to be sentenced in state court on 69 counts of fraud, misappropriation of public funds, falsification of public records and other charges in the corruption case. He pleaded no contest to those charges in October and faces as long as 12 years in prison.

Mr. Rizzo, 60, was ordered to pay $255,984 in back taxes and to serve his federal sentence consecutively with whatever state term he is given.

In September 2010, the Los Angeles Times ran a story on the arrests of several Bell officials. The only way one would know that Rizzo or anyone else is a Democrat was to go to readers’ comments.

Nothing has changed.

In 2010, Markay at NewsBusters found that “that of the 351 stories on the then-brewing controversy, 350 had omitted party affiliations, and one had mentioned they were Democrats only in apologizing for not doing so sooner.”

Again, nothing has changed.

There isn’t a chance in Hades a Republican in similar circumstances would not have his or her party affiliation reported in most press dispatches.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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