The Media Double Standard on Corruption

The mainstream news media continued its decline in 2008, both in credibility and profitability.   Here is one reason why. 

In late September, 2006, the Mark Foley scandal came to light, and Foley resigned almost immediately under threat of expulsion from Republican leadership. The media responded with a 5 week, in-depth frenzy into all things immoral and hypocritical about Foley and the Republicans. The "Culture of Corruption", a Democrat talking point, had many champions in the mainstream media, and they hammered home their point in countless articles and TV newscasts as the mid-term elections approached.  Newsbusters reports a count of 152 stories among ABC, NBC, and CBS in 12 days.

The media moralized, called for investigations, and demanded that Speaker of the House Denny Hastert step down because he knew of the emails and instant messages, and didn't stop Foley from continuing. It became a non-stop, full-throated assault on Republicans. Add in the "macaca" comment by Virginia Senator George Allen and that ensuing media storm and the impression was that Republicans were nothing but child molesting, racist, uncaring hacks. And so it went. Just in time for the elections.

In mid October, 2008, the Democrat who took Mark Foley's seat in 2006, Tim Mahoney, admitted having "affairs" after it was disclosed that he paid one of his mistresses $121,000 in hush money and offered her a job paying $50,000 per year for two years. Audio surfaced of Mahoney firing his mistress over the phone in a decidedly unrefined manner. This scandal unleashed a one day, no-depth media pass on all things immoral and deceitful about Democrats. The new "Culture of Corruption"? For the media, not so much. No hge impact on the upcoming election, unlike 2006.

On MSNBC, Mika Brzezinski, Chuck Todd and Willie Geist said, laughing, "We are not going to get into the ugly details", and just like that they were done with Tim Mahoney.  A search of the New York Times for the first 8 days after each story broke finds 67 stories about Foley, not including their blog pages, and just four for the Mahoney story. The Times' stories on Mahoney were buried on pages A12 and deeper.  In other words, the New York Times can't find any similarities between the two stories and apparently doesn't have a problem with going full-bore after one guy and virtually ignoring the other.  Newsbusters also managed to count all the television stories about Mahoney on ABC, NBC, and CBS the day after the story broke: zero

Mahoney won the same seat that Foley held in the house. While running for election, Mahoney claimed to want "a world that is safer, more moral." So the same hypocrisy that all the mainstream media railed against for weeks in 2006 was available for this story too. Rahm Emanuel, at the time the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House and chair of the House Democratic Caucus knew something was going on in 2007.

"Upon hearing a rumor, Congressman Emanuel confronted Congressman Mahoney, told him he was in public life and had a responsibility to act accordingly and appropriately, and urged him to do so," a spokeswoman said. "They had no further conversations on this topic."

Nancy Pelosi said "I just learned today..."  To my knowledge, no one even asked Steny Hoyer if he knew about what was going on.  Apparently, no one in the media had any doubts that these people were telling the truth.  If Denny Hastert was placed on the hook for not keeping the flock in line, shouldn't the same standard apply to Emanuel or Pelosi?  Shouldn't Emanuel have informed Pelosi?  Both Pelosi and Emanuel called for an ethics investigation, which will no doubt be thorough and candid.  But of course the investigation and any potentially damaging effects were put off until after the election.  After all, no one in the media was pressing them for answers or explanations.

Then there is the 20 minutes of tape in which Mahoney, in a very callous fashion, fired his mistress over the phone.  Did you hear it on the evening news?  NBC, ABC, and CBS didn't play even a clip, much less let their commentators have a go at the deeper meaning of it, how it would effect the election, what it might mean to the voters now that the Democrats were exposed as having their own Culture of Corruption.  No, it's on the internet, but the MSM had almost no interest whatsoever. Odd, isn't it?

The media covered Democratic problems differently than Republican ones.  There wasn't the same interest or effort to link the ethical problems of William Jefferson, Charlie Rangel, Christopher Dodd, Barney Frank, John Edwards, Diane Feinstein, and Harry Reid to the Democratic Party as a whole, to make the same allegations against the Democrats as they did the Republicans.

The media went to great lengths in 2006 to tie Foley to the larger corruption of the Republican Party. Fair enough. They had, and have, as they say, "issues".  The point is that they did not do the same thing in the Mahoney case, and it wasn't even remotely close. And this is certainly one reason why the mainstream media's reputation is so poor.

The issue here is not that the media took Mark Foley and the Republicans to the woodshed.  It's that they left Tim Mahoney and the Democrats behind.

Brad Scott Wilson founded AmericanPlatform.org to give everyday conservatives a place to converse, contribute and be heard.
The mainstream news media continued its decline in 2008, both in credibility and profitability.   Here is one reason why. 

In late September, 2006, the Mark Foley scandal came to light, and Foley resigned almost immediately under threat of expulsion from Republican leadership. The media responded with a 5 week, in-depth frenzy into all things immoral and hypocritical about Foley and the Republicans. The "Culture of Corruption", a Democrat talking point, had many champions in the mainstream media, and they hammered home their point in countless articles and TV newscasts as the mid-term elections approached.  Newsbusters reports a count of 152 stories among ABC, NBC, and CBS in 12 days.

The media moralized, called for investigations, and demanded that Speaker of the House Denny Hastert step down because he knew of the emails and instant messages, and didn't stop Foley from continuing. It became a non-stop, full-throated assault on Republicans. Add in the "macaca" comment by Virginia Senator George Allen and that ensuing media storm and the impression was that Republicans were nothing but child molesting, racist, uncaring hacks. And so it went. Just in time for the elections.

In mid October, 2008, the Democrat who took Mark Foley's seat in 2006, Tim Mahoney, admitted having "affairs" after it was disclosed that he paid one of his mistresses $121,000 in hush money and offered her a job paying $50,000 per year for two years. Audio surfaced of Mahoney firing his mistress over the phone in a decidedly unrefined manner. This scandal unleashed a one day, no-depth media pass on all things immoral and deceitful about Democrats. The new "Culture of Corruption"? For the media, not so much. No hge impact on the upcoming election, unlike 2006.

On MSNBC, Mika Brzezinski, Chuck Todd and Willie Geist said, laughing, "We are not going to get into the ugly details", and just like that they were done with Tim Mahoney.  A search of the New York Times for the first 8 days after each story broke finds 67 stories about Foley, not including their blog pages, and just four for the Mahoney story. The Times' stories on Mahoney were buried on pages A12 and deeper.  In other words, the New York Times can't find any similarities between the two stories and apparently doesn't have a problem with going full-bore after one guy and virtually ignoring the other.  Newsbusters also managed to count all the television stories about Mahoney on ABC, NBC, and CBS the day after the story broke: zero

Mahoney won the same seat that Foley held in the house. While running for election, Mahoney claimed to want "a world that is safer, more moral." So the same hypocrisy that all the mainstream media railed against for weeks in 2006 was available for this story too. Rahm Emanuel, at the time the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House and chair of the House Democratic Caucus knew something was going on in 2007.

"Upon hearing a rumor, Congressman Emanuel confronted Congressman Mahoney, told him he was in public life and had a responsibility to act accordingly and appropriately, and urged him to do so," a spokeswoman said. "They had no further conversations on this topic."

Nancy Pelosi said "I just learned today..."  To my knowledge, no one even asked Steny Hoyer if he knew about what was going on.  Apparently, no one in the media had any doubts that these people were telling the truth.  If Denny Hastert was placed on the hook for not keeping the flock in line, shouldn't the same standard apply to Emanuel or Pelosi?  Shouldn't Emanuel have informed Pelosi?  Both Pelosi and Emanuel called for an ethics investigation, which will no doubt be thorough and candid.  But of course the investigation and any potentially damaging effects were put off until after the election.  After all, no one in the media was pressing them for answers or explanations.

Then there is the 20 minutes of tape in which Mahoney, in a very callous fashion, fired his mistress over the phone.  Did you hear it on the evening news?  NBC, ABC, and CBS didn't play even a clip, much less let their commentators have a go at the deeper meaning of it, how it would effect the election, what it might mean to the voters now that the Democrats were exposed as having their own Culture of Corruption.  No, it's on the internet, but the MSM had almost no interest whatsoever. Odd, isn't it?

The media covered Democratic problems differently than Republican ones.  There wasn't the same interest or effort to link the ethical problems of William Jefferson, Charlie Rangel, Christopher Dodd, Barney Frank, John Edwards, Diane Feinstein, and Harry Reid to the Democratic Party as a whole, to make the same allegations against the Democrats as they did the Republicans.

The media went to great lengths in 2006 to tie Foley to the larger corruption of the Republican Party. Fair enough. They had, and have, as they say, "issues".  The point is that they did not do the same thing in the Mahoney case, and it wasn't even remotely close. And this is certainly one reason why the mainstream media's reputation is so poor.

The issue here is not that the media took Mark Foley and the Republicans to the woodshed.  It's that they left Tim Mahoney and the Democrats behind.

Brad Scott Wilson founded AmericanPlatform.org to give everyday conservatives a place to converse, contribute and be heard.