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Tuesday, October 17, 2006
CNS' Mismatched Scandals

An Oct. 17 article by Nathan Burchfiel tries to conflate Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's incomplete declaration of a land sale with the Rep. Mark Foley congressional page scandal, complaining that the Reid story "isn't 'sexy' enough for front-page news" and quoting political analyst Larry Sabato as saying that financial scandals are boring when compared with sex scandals, though "financial scandals ought to attract more attention because they're more common."

So, wouldn't it make more sense for Burchfiel to compare the Reid story to a similar financial misdeed on the Republican side? Like, say, one involving a major Republican official? Like -- oh, I don't know -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert? As it happens, Hastert earned a $2 million profit -- much more than Reid's $700,000 -- on the sale of land near a planned highway for which Hastert helped obtain $207 million federal funding through an earmark.

But CNS has never mentioned Hastert's earmark-driven windfall in a news story, let alone make it the subject of one, as it did with the Reid story. The only mention of it on its website has been in two columns by Robert Novak.

Further, Burchfiel never noted the questions that have been raised about the AP's coverage of the story -- something we suspect he would not have overlooked had the target been a Republican. After all, CNS has tried to downplay the Foley story -- again, something it would likely not be doing had Foley been a Democrat.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:44 PM EDT

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