Kathy Petersen’s Blog

Case in Point

Posted in politics by Kathy on December 10, 2008

Recently, I blogged about something and mentioned that when Democrats are involved in political scandals, their party affiliation is barely mentioned — sometimes, at most it is Politician’s Name (D-NY). Having lived in the Chicago area for a couple of years, I knew that Rod Blagojevich was of course a Democrat. Yesterday, I saw a bit of TV while getting my tire fixed about him being arrested. I saw such little of it that I wasn’t 100% certain what the corruption was about, but I sure didn’t remember them saying his political party. In reading more about it, I discovered what the corruption was about, but still didn’t remember them saying that he was a Democrat. Maybe I skipped over it. So, today, I decided to look specifically at it.

Here’s one story about it — no “D” or “Democrat” in it at all! But it was so short, maybe there wasn’t room for his political affiliation. (snicker, giggle, snort — yeah right!). So I did a Yahoo! news search of “blagojevich” to see what came up.

Washington Post — it says one time, halfway down the third paragraph, that he is “…the Democratic governor…”, and that’s it.

Another from the Washington Post — it says it twice — once at the start of the fourth paragraph that Blagojevich was “The Democratic governor”; and then towards the end of the article, in a bit of “history”, it says that Blagojevich was elected to Congress after Democrat Dan Rostenkowski was convicted of embezzlement.

The 3rd story, again from the Washington Post, has it part-way down the article that Blagojevich and Obama are “fellow Democrat[s]”. That’s it.

The next story, surprisingly from CNN, was a little refreshing. Not only does it identify him as a Democrat right underneath the headshot of him at the top of the article, but it also said he’s a Democrat in the second sentence. Later references to “Democrat” include other politicians who are trying to figure out this mess.

Fifth, this time a commentary, again from CNN, fails to indentify Blagojevich as a Democrat until almost the end of the article.

Next, again from CNN, it mentions that he’s a Democrat in the first line, but never uses the term in the remainder of the article — and the title of the story is, “Blagojevich made name as a friend of the common man.” Aw, don’t that make you just feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Seventh seems to be almost a rehash of #4, except it doesn’t identify him as a Democrat under the picture.

Eighth, this time from Yahoo! News, with an AP byline, the term is used one time, at the end of the 4th paragraph.

Ninth, again from Yahoo! News, his political party affiliation is not mentioned, except in passing, at the end of the story, in which they distance Obama and Blagojevich as being merely “fellow Democrats.” Although many politicians are quoted, and are identified as being Democrats, the man at the center of the corruption scandal was not identified as a Democrat.

Finally, #10, again from CNN, the first word is “Democratic”, and it’s never mentioned again.

It’s not in a single headline. Not one. Contrast this to when any Republican gets caught in any sort of scandal — his party affiliation is shouted from the rooftops! I remember when the Larry Craig sex scandal broke, his being a Republican was in just about every headline I saw (and I didn’t read much beyond the headlines). I even remember thinking, because a Democrat was in a scandal not too long before or after that, and I wondered about the political affiliation of that person, because it wasn’t in the headline — but Craig’s was. It was then that I realized that most newspapers go out of their way to announce when Republicans get caught with their pants down (literally or figuratively), and go out of their way to keep from announcing it when Democrats get caught up in scandal.


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