From Big Journalism:
Media Plays Up GOP Association, Hides Dem Connection In Two Similar Stories
January 22, 2012
Last week two political operatives were arrested in separate incidents, one Democrat and one Republican. It certainly isn’t news that political operatives sometimes break the law, but how the different incidents were reported is typical of how the Old Media establishment uses guilt by association to tar Republicans but rarely does the same thing to take swipes at Democrats.
The similarity in the two stories is that both of the accused are former staffers of high profile politicians. The Democrat was an Obama campaign staffer while the Republican was a staffer of the Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker. Neither currently works for those high profile pols, but only the Republican was linked to his former boss. The Democrat’s link to Obama was mostly ignored by the media. [Emphasis added]
Story One: Some Guy Arrested
We’ll begin with the tale of Iowa Democrat operative Zachary Edwards who tried to steal the identity of a rival Republican in order to use that identity to get the Republican in trouble.
Edwards tried to use the identity of Iowa Secretary of State, Republican Matt Schultz (and/or Schultz’s brother) to illegally obtain some sort of state benefits so that he could then claim that the Republicans were illegally obtaining state benefits. This Edwards fellow hoped he could smear the GOP Sec. of State as engaging in some sort of unethical behavior. (The Iowa Republican blog has more on the fight between Schultz and Iowa Democrats)
Now, as it happens Edwards is not only a member of a politically connected Democrat consulting firm, Link Strategies — a company with long-standing ties to powerful Iowa Democrat Senator Tom Harkin — but Edwards was also a member of Obama’s Iowa team in 2007/08. Edwards’ bio has since been scrubbed from the Link Strategies page but read in part, “In September 2007, Zach joined the Obama New Media department as co-director of the Nevada New Media team and then moved on to direct New Media operations in five other primary states (New Mexico, Texas, North Carolina, and South Dakota).”
For a screen shot of Edwards memory-holed bio from the Link Strategy site, see the Iowa Grounds blog.
So, how was Edwards’ arrest reported? For one thing, it was hard to find Edwards’ Democrat affiliation and his past role as a top Obama campaign staffer in stories of this incident.
- KCCI TV Channel 8 (Des Moines) does not bother to note the perp’s Democrat ties at all.
- The Dubuque Telegraph Herald and the Des Moines Register both published an AP report that simply calls Edwards a “Des Moines man accused of ID theft.” Also no mention of his Democrat Party ties.
- Finally, Eastern Iowa News blog reports Edwards Democrat ties only at the very end of its story.
It is interesting to note that the story of the criminal action by this former Obama staffer is not easy to find. Few Old Media outlets bothered to cover it.
Story Two: Those Darn Criminal Republicans
Our second story is that of the arrest of Mr. Tim Russell of Wisconsin. Russell was a former aide to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and is accused of stealing funds intended for wounded veterans and families of U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan — an odious crime, indeed.
Russell had been a Walker campaign staffer and county aide up until the Governor took the top seat in the state but has since not been working for him. Along with two others, Russell was arrested for a scheme to defraud the state of $42,000 that was earmarked for veterans.
So, how did the Old Media handle this tale of criminality? Unsurprisingly, Russell’s ties to Walker and his party affiliation were either in the headline or the very first paragraph, if not both. And there were dozens of stories posted on this incident, too.
- The New York Times slammed Walker with guilt by association in its headline and first paragraph.
- Reuters did the same thing as the NYT.
- The Associated Press follows suit by mentioning Walker in the headline and the first paragraph.
- Green Bay’s NBC affiliate also features Walker in the headline, etc.
- In a companion story, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also prominently features the perp’s party affiliation.
- Politico pulls the same stunt as the others.
There are more stories than these few, of course. In fact, there are far more stories about this former Walker aide than there are about the Obama operative. Politico, for instance, never reported on the Democrat criminal. Apparently the news of the criminal actions of a former staffer for a mere governor is far bigger news than that of a former staffer of the President of the United States. [Emphasis added]
In any case, this is a perfect illustration of how the Old Media goes for the jugular when reporting on criminal Republicans compared to how they (don’t) go after Democrats in similar instances.