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Monday, October 2, 2006
CNS Pushes Republican Spin Points on Foley

An Oct. 2 article by Susan Jones uncritically forwards the spin from Republican Speaker of the House Denny Hastert that he knew of only one set of communications between Rep. Mark Foley and a teenage congressional page that were "not sexually explicit in nature" and not about another set that was. In fact, the first part of Jones' article is essentially a rewrite of a Hastert press release. Jones also frames any questioning of Hastert's claims as a political argument, stating that "Democrats are questioning the way Republicans handled -- or did not handle -- Foley's improper communications with a House page."

In fact, there are questions about how responsive Hastert was to investigating claims about Foley. A writer to Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo blog sums up with Jones doesn't:

There's a weak excuse emerging from Republicans for Foleygate - they might have known about the e-mails to Rep. Alexander's page, but they never knew about the explicit IMs. Too much of the media coverage right now is centering on that question, as if knowledge of the IMs is the only way to show the leadership was remiss.

But that's irrelevant, and here's why: Once ABC got hold of the e-mails, it took them one day to flush out the IMs. That's what an actual investigation looks like. The Republican leadership simply didn't want to know how bad the Foley situation was. That's just as morally negligent as if they had started digging and found the IMs.

While Jones, toward the end of her article, notes that "The Democratic National Committee noted that Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York -- the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, a group that works to elect Republicans to Congress -- knew 'months ago' that a teenage page had complained about Foley's '"inappropriate communications,' " she frames it as a political argument advanced by Democrats and fails to note that Reynolds allegedly warned Hastert about the Foley e-mails months ago.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 PM EDT

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