July 9, 2014

As He Gets 10-Year Sentence, Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s Party Affiliation Disappears or Is Downplayed

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison today on fraud, bribery and related charges. In a January 2006 appearance on PBS’s Tavis Smiley Show, Nagin, who in many several previous news reports had been described as a Republican who became a Democrat once he sought political office, told Smiley that he “never was a Republican” and he has been a “life-long Democrat.”

As would be expected, several media outlets are failing to report Nagin’s declared status as a “life-long Democrat.” A particularly egregious example is at USA Today (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes, and in case USAT makes revisions; HT longtime NB commenter Gary Hall; bolds are mine):

Ex-New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin sentenced to 10 years

RayNagin2012Wide

Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, the businessman-turned-politician who became the worldwide face of the city after Hurricane Katrina, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday.

Nagin, 58, was ordered to report to federal prison Sept. 8. Nagin, also ordered to pay restitution of $82,000, was found guilty Feb. 12 of fraud, bribery and related charges involving crimes that took place before and after Katrina devastated the city in August 2005.

Nagin, based on sentencing guidelines, had faced a possible sentence of 12 to 30 years.

A jury convicted Nagin of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes — money, free vacation trips and truckloads of free granite for his family business — from businessmen who wanted work from the city or Nagin’s support for various hurricane recovery projects.

Prosecutors asked the court to send Nagin to prison for a long time. They argued that he was found guilty of 20 of 21 counts in the indictment, and that he participated in and orchestrated a years-long conspiracy to enrich himself and his family.

The government also argued that Nagin spent years covering up his crimes and that his testimony during the two-week trial showed an “astounding unwillingness to accept any responsibility for his actions.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Coman compared Nagin’s crimes with those of other public officials who drew stiff sentences, including former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (28 years), former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (14 years) and former Birmingham, Alabama, Mayor Larry Langford (15 years).

“Nagin’s widespread and corrosive breach of the public trust – lasting through much of his tenure in office – equals even the worst of these state and local corruption cases,” Coman wrote.

Besides being a convicted felon, what else does Ray Nagin have in common with Kilpatrick, Blago, and Langford? That’s right: They’re all Democrats. Imagine that. Of course, Paul Murphy and Mike Perlstein at WWL-TV in New Orleans, who filed the USAT report, didn’t deign to tell us that.

While we’re at it, we should add the following Democrats to the recently convicted felons’ list in just the mayoral category (via Michelle Malkin’s March 28, 2014 column): former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon, former Trenton Mayor Tony Mack, and former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. There is insufficient space in this post to chronicle all of the Democrats who, before becoming convicted felons, held statewide positions or federal office.

Both an 11:49 a.m. ET (8:49 PT) story at the Los Angeles Times and a New Orleans Times Picayune story last updated at 11:00 a.m. Central Time fail to tag Nagin as a Democrat.

A New York Times story, likely still subject to revision, got around to mentioning that Nagin is a Democrat in its seventh paragraph. (Update: A revision occurred sometime after 1 p.m., and Nagin’s party affiliation is now in Paragraph 8.)

Kevin McGill’s Associated Press story on Nagin, time-stamped 11:44 a.m. and subject to likely revision, mentions that Nagin is a Democrat in its fourth paragraph — late enough in the story that most subscribing broadcast outlets won’t read it aloud to their audiences. The AP’s “Big Story” site currently does not link to any story about Nagin’s sentencing (proof here for future reference). But it does make room for two listings of a single story about an American author being gored by a bull at Spain’s Pamplona festival.

More broadly, a 1:20 p.m. Google News search on Nagin’s full name (not in quotes, sorted by date, hiding duplicates) returned 169 results. A search on “Ray Nagin Democrat” (again not in quotes) returned only 51.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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2 Comments

  1. It’s 8 paragraphs down in the NYT
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/10/us/ray-nagin-former-new-orleans-mayor.html?contentCollection=us&action=click&module=NextInCollection&region=Footer&pgtype=article

    What is truly amazing is the discussion of the border crisis being Obama’s “Katrina.” Katrina was a natural disaster, not of George Bush’s doing. The disaster was aggravated by the pre-storm incompetence of Nagin. The border problem is directly Obama’s doing, and he is directly involved in the botched (lack of) response.

    Comment by Jim — July 9, 2014 @ 1:49 pm

  2. The Katrina thing is a great for (hopefully) another post.

    I counted seven paragraphs using the Bill Phillips method. :—>

    Then I refreshed and counted 8 paragraphs using the same method. So they’re still actively revising without telling anyone.

    Comment by Tom — July 9, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

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