Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Achieving 'balance' when the situation just isn't balanced.

If you haven't seen Eric Alterman's column, Think Again, Everybody Doesn't Do It, he writes the following:

The New York Times on Wednesday came a little too close for comfort in this arena in a story about Republicans’ attempts to distance themselves from recently resigned California Rep. Randy Cunningham...

But in the Times' account, reporters John M. Broder and Carl Hulse appear to want to add some "balance" to this story of graft. In order to do this, they channel (and paraphrase) the spirit of "some Republican officials" as saying that "Democrats in Congress were equally guilty of questionable behavior, including lobbyist-paid trips and underreporting of campaign contributions, they acknowledged that Republicans, because they control the White House and Congress, are being held to a higher standard by many voters."

It would be naive to think that one political party has a monopoly on bad actors, but it's obvious that this contention is little more than simple obfuscation, in several respects...

Aside from the lack of attribution, or even the number of "officials" who have said this, the Times repeats the claim that Democrats in Congress are "equally as guilty" as Republicans of "questionable behavior." But as Broder and Hulse well know, even if this were so, the number of investigations and indictments handed down against Republicans recently far outweighs those against Democrats.

Now, I have no problem with saying that any Democrat who claims to represent me in local, state or national office who is indicted by any state or Federal court, should step aside from his or her post. I will even contact them and tell them so, speaking as a Democratic activist, when they are indicted. I have zero tolerance for anyone who looks at public office as a way to benefit themselves through bribery or any other form of graft or corruption.

However, to go to some unnamed Republicans and let them take a swipe and Democrats just to make sure that their story on Cunningham was 'balanced' is in fact unbalanced. Cunningham's attorney would have done more to insure balance (note that the Republicans they went to didn't even try to defend Randy, they just said that Democrats are 'just as guilty.') Well, maybe in the era of Rostenkowski, they might have been right (and Rostenkowski went right where he deserved to go-- to prison). But today, that just isn't true. It is Democrats who have instead been pushing for campaign finance and other ethical reforms. It is Democrats who refused to take their seats on the House Ethics committee until Tom DeLay jettisoned his 'reforms' that were designed to de-tooth the committee. That alone should tell you something, since the House Ethics committee is the only non-partisan committee in the House-- with equal numbers from each party, and charged with investigating all ethics violations by house members.

Maybe it means that Republicans under DeLay are in fact just where Rostenkowski and several other Democrats were a dozen years ago. They've been running the show long enough that they think they are lords and rulers over the people who elected them in the first place.

Alterman finishes his column this way:

I know, I know. Imagine how bad it would be if the MSM were not dominated by a liberal conspiracy. But you know guys, to quote the great Steven Colbert, sometimes the facts are just liberally biased.

This is one of those cases.


shrimplate said...

One would hope that Reid, Pelosi, and Dean would be scrutinizing every cent that passes into Democratic coffers in these times.

Basically it goes like this: A Republican gets convicted for stealing millions, but a Democrat gets anonymously accused of cheating on a spelling test in 4th grade, and the MSM finds people to say "See? They're all the same."

The Dems have to be extra-squeaky clean right now. They will still get smeared by lies, though.

EAPrez said...

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dorsano said...

Good analysis, Eli.