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Friday, June 2, 2006
Two, Two, Two Distortions In One
Topic: NewsBusters
A June 2 NewsBusters post by John Armor not only offers a false comparison, but it serves up a little guilt by association on the side.

Armor claims that "the press are trying to protect both Democrats and blacks from the consequences of their own misdeeds," serving up as an example the disparate coverage given to the corruption of former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham and that of former Rep. Frank Ballance. Armor wrote:

What explains the difference in coverage? Well, Cunningham is a white Republican, therefore a target of opportunity for much of the press. Ballance, on the other hand, is a black Democrat. And we cannot have strongly negative coverage of blacks and Democrats in the press, now can we?


There are three possible reasons why this crooked Republican got big ink, but this crooked Democrat gets little ink. One is that Republicans are held to a higher standard. Corruption is considered par for the course, especially among big city Democrats. The other two are that the press are trying to protect both Democrats and blacks from the consequences of their own misdeeds.

In fact, there are significant differences in the types and severity of the offenses committed, which Armor fails to note. Cunningham, who was first elected to Congress in 1990, resigned after pleading guilty to taking $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for using in order to help a defense contractor get government contracts, a scandal that is likely to touch other members of Congress.

Meanwhile, Ballance -- who was in his first term as a congressman -- was not charged with crimes committed while a congressman, or of a bribery charge. He was accused of channeling $2.3 million in state money over 10 years, while serving as a state legislator, to a nonprofit foundation he operated to help poor people fight drug and alcohol abuse, then giving some of that money to family and friends. He was sentenced to four years in prison and agreed to repay $61,917.25 and to forfeit $203,000 in a bank escrow account.

Then, for no apparent reason but to smear House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Armor -- without accusing her specifically of any legal or ethical violations -- noted that Pelosi is "the daughter of one Baltimore Mayor, Tommy D'Alesandro Sr, and the sister of another, Tommy III. Both Tommys were crooked as a dog's hind leg, but only one ever was charged with anything. Tommy III was charged with rape as a young man, and charged with bribery as Mayor." But Armor fails to note that all of this took place more than 30 years ago -- Tommy D'Alesandro III left office in 1971 -- nor does he explain its relevance to today's political situation. (Armor likes this bit of trivia so much he has posted it at least twice at Free Republic, where he's known as Congressman Billybob.)

Posted by Terry K. at 5:36 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 2, 2006 5:38 PM EDT

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