May 9, 2018

AP Avoids Tagging Schneiderman As a Dem; LA Times Kept Story Out of Tuesday’s Print Edition

The establishment press appears determined to downplay the visibility of the bombshell news of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s resignation, and to avoid referring to him as a Democrat. The Associated Press avoided tagging him as a Dem in one story, and saved the tag for a very late paragraph in another. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times found a unique solution to the problem in its Tuesday print edition: Despite being on the West Coast, it didn’t cover the Schneiderman story at all.

Tuesday evening at NewsBusters, Nicholas Fondacaro noted how ABC’s World News Tonight failed to identify Schneiderman’s party, while CNN reassured viewers that his anti-Trump, anti-GOP lawsuits will still be vigorously pursued.

An eight-paragraph Monday evening AP report found at WBAL-TV in Baltimore did not identify Schneiderman or Empire State Governor Andrew Cuomo as Democrats when it mattered most, i.e., minutes after the AG’s Monday evening resignation.

As has been explained in previous NewsBusters posts relating to other Democratic Party politicians (here and here), this failure directly violates the AP’s Stylebook guidance, which allows no excuses for failing to identify a politician’s party affiliation, especially an “elected officeholder”:

“A political figure’s party affiliation should be routinely included in stories” (Page 213 of 2017 edition).

“Include the political affiliation of any elected officeholder” (Page 219).

Reporter Deepti Hajela’s far longer Tuesday AP report noted that Cuomo is a Democrat in Paragraph 5, but waited 12 paragraphs to apply the Democrat tag to Schneiderman, missing at least ten earlier opportunities to inform readers of that quite pertinent fact, including eight in just the first five paragraphs:

APonSchneiderman050818

The Los Angeles Times dealt with the Schneiderman problem by keeping the story out of its Tuesday print edition entirely. Longtime NB commenter Gary Hall informed me that the print copy he received had no Scheiderman story. Additionally, I spoke with a person in the Times newsroom early Tuesday afternoon Eastern Time who confirmed that no Schneiderman story appeared in any print version.

This treatment is very hard to justify, given that the West Coast-based Times, which still fancies itself as a national newspaper, had three more hours than its East Coast competitors to come up with a story, and didn’t. Failing that, it could at the very least have included Hajela’s AP story, which it posted online Monday evening, but didn’t.

Other current online Times coverage includes a Wednesday morning AP story chronicling Schneiderman’s fall “From women’s defender to alleged abuser,” and two Tuesday morning blog posts:

  • Jon Healey bemoaned “The hypocrisy lesson N.Y. Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman didn’t learn from former Gov. Eliot Spitzer.” Spitzer resigned in 2006 after getting “caught on a wiretap arranging a liaison with a high-end prostitute.”
  • Maria Garza took a few hundred words to reach the drop-dead obvious conclusion that Schneiderman’s saga is a “#MeToo moment.”

The paper’s relative disinterest in Schneiderman, especially in print, is hard to square with the nine stories on Schneiderman the paper posted from 2012 to 2014 concerning mostly less important matters.

Cross-posted, with possible revisions, at NewsBusters.org.

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