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Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Reality-Checking the 'Reality Check'
Topic: Media Research Center

In yet another attempt to tamp down the Mark Foley scandal, the Media Research Center issued an Oct. 11 "Media Reality Check" by Tim Graham comparing news coverage of the Foley scandal with Democratic congressman Mel Reynolds' sex scandal more than a decade earlier. (Hint: Graham would not have done this if there was more coverage about Reynolds.) Graham tried to put a misleading, objective patina on the otherwise partisan claims:

There are obviously some differences in the two sex scandals. Foley’s Web interactions were with a congressional page, while Mel Reynolds was dealing with a minor in private. But Foley’s scandal is based on sex talk, while Reynolds not only had an active sex life with one teen, he was trying to add more teen sex partners.

But Foley's "Web interactions" weren't with "a congressional page"; they were with numerous pages. Some other differences Graham failed to note:

  • Unlike Reynolds, Foley preyed on congressional pages under the supervision of Congress.
  • Unlike Reynolds' Democratic superiors in the House, Foley's Republican superiors were warned of his predatory behavior years before and apparently did nothing about it.

Graham also does not break down his story list into stories only about Foley's actions and stories about Repubican inaction on Foley, arguably separate stories.

Graham's version of reality appears to be what is in need of a "reality check."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:01 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 11, 2006 6:02 PM EDT

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