Guess which party? – Bell CA

You all know the long running joke about how the media won’t name a corrupt official’s political affiliation if they’re a Democrat, but how the media finds it relevant enough to put it in the headline if they’re a Republican.  Here they go again:

There have been hundreds of news stories about Bell city officials’ jaw-dropping salaries. In this poor city on the outskirts of Los Angeles, where the per capita annual income is $24,800 a year, the city manager, Robert Rizzo, had a salary of $787,637… With benefits, his total annual compensation, according to the Los Angeles Times, came to $1.5 million a year… Not only that, but Rizzo was entitled to 28 weeks off a year for vacation and sick leave.

According to Nexis, there have been more than 300 news stories reporting on the Bell scandal. Guess how many mentioned the party affiliation of the corrupt government bureaucrats?

One. Yes, just one. Now guess if the government officials were Democrats or Republicans? Yes, that is correct…

The one newspaper to cough up party affiliations, The Orange County Register, admitted that the corrupt officials were all Democrats only in response to reader complaints about the peculiar omission.

Lots of news stories on the scandal in Bell used the word “Democrat” or “Democratic.” But that was only to say that the DEMOCRATIC attorney general of California, Jerry Brown, who is running on the DEMOCRATIC ticket for governor, is investigating the Bell officials’ salaries.

So we know the media are aware of party affiliations. They just chose not to mention it when it would require them to identify shockingly corrupt government officials as Democrats.

I found this at Ace of Spades, who adds:

…this is the clearest, most inarguable example of media bias there is. There should be a simple rule — a stylebook rule — dictating that a politician caught in corruption should have his party affiliation noted in the first paragraph…

But the MFM refuses to impose such a stringent rule. They want to keep the freedom to only note the party affiliation of corrupt Republicans while not mentioning it at all with regard to corrupt Democrats.

They want, as they call it, the freedom to apply their judgment and examine context. In their judgment and in context, they always find that the party affiliation of corrupt Republicans is relevant, but the party affiliation of corrupt Democrats never is.

‘Guess which party’ is a game you can play at home, too!

As one of many examples,  here is a story from The Huntsville Times on convicted Democrat Sue Schmitz.  BTW, I didn’t have to search hard for an example – I went through our archives and picked a random news-based Schmitz post  – it linked to The Times.   No mention of Schmitz’ Democratic Party affiliation.  To double-check, I found a post from Brian on Schmitz’ conviction for stealing from children.  Again, no mention in The Times about  Schmitz’ being a Democrat legislator.

19 thoughts on “Guess which party? – Bell CA

    • On the articles I read about Langford I don’t remember them ever noting that he was a democrat. But there were many complaints that he was targeted because he was a black man. I don’t care who you are, if you break the law you should bear that responsibility period.

  1. I agree that there is sometimes a failure of the media to note parties, but in this case that’s not the issue. In stories about municipal politics, party affiliations simply aren’t mentioned. That’s the fact, and that’s what’s happening here.

    You might see one or two stories during the campaign/election season that note a party affiliation, but after that party politics are not enough of an issue to deserve mention.

  2. Some people are not obsessive about labels. You can have”Tea Party Conservative” put on your tombstone

  3. Thomas Jefferson noted his accomplishments – kinda like the origianl tea partier

  4. Madison,
    Although Langford was a non-partisian mayor at the time of his conviction, he was a Democratic County Commissioner at the time he committed the offenses. Rest assured, if do something wrong while in office (or after I leave office, for that matter), I’ll be identified as Republican and for former State Trooper Mike Ball. I’m not complaining, because I think it’s a compliment that the media holds some of us to a higher standard than others.

  5. Does it really matter? Corruption is corruption. Reactionary seems like the type that would want to know the party affiliation of Santa Claus if he ran for president.

    Is it just that he is angry because he was not a city official in Bell, California?

  6. RC – I think it is that the media tends to ignore labels – but only when it serves them – as in Democrat labels. Langford is an abomination, in the same way Marion Barry was, and just like Barry, I could see him (Langford) getting reelected. My thought is look at DC today and you can say they brought it on themselves. But we all pay for the cesspool that is DC, Birmingham and Bell, CA. The press just wont hold them (liberal city officials) to the same standard that they would a conservative official. The best example is Obama – nice track record – and he got a free pass on his record as a “community organizer.” The man was a shakedown artist and they really never brought that out. His community contiues to be one of the worst int he country. Instead of being ashamed of doing nothing about it he campaigned on that position – he knew the press would give him the free ride.

  7. conservatives have won election after election complaining about media bias so why give it up if it works? like “liberal, liberal liberal” and now “socialist.” hey, in politics what works works. the truth of the matter is a different story. but will someone please explain how sue got convicted of stealing from children? just the rationale — i know she didn’t steal from children — she didn’t steal from anyone. obama is blamed for the bank bailout which was passed under bush, but don’t try to explain that to the average uninformed person. and — there is a rationale — he was in the senate and voted for it so now it’s his bailout, not bush’s. ok, like i said, what works works in politics. incidentally, the giant calumny against jefferson in his first campaign was that he was an atheist — he didn’t believe in god. jefferson was a deist — he believed but not in the bible as we read it today and as it was read in his day. Jefferson once sat down and with clippers created his own bible — he cut out all the miracles, all the parts he didn’t believe in and focused it on how people should act if they were followers of christ. Former senator frank church had some printed up and handed them out to people he thought should have one. i got one. can’t think of his name offhand, but the head of yale university, a minister, was among the loudest screamers that jefferson was an atheist who wanted to destroy marriage as it was known then, and he wanted to take family names away. oh, before i forget, church was a Democrat. got to put the label on the “culprits: — right?

    • “Whatever you want to call it, mainstream media, presents itself as unbiased, when in fact, there are built into it many biases, and they are overwhelmingly to the left.”

      - Thomas Edsall, former senior Washington Post political reporter

      “The unremitting liberal orientation finally became too much for me.”

      - Former CBS News president Van Gordon Sauter on why he no longer watches his old network

      “Like every other institution, the Washington and political press corps operate with a good number of biases and predilections. They include, but are not limited to, a near-universal shared sense that liberal political positions on social issues like gun control, homosexuality, abortion, and religion are the default, while more conservative positions are ‘conservative positions.’ They include a belief that government is a mechanism to solve the nation’s problems; that more taxes on corporations and the wealthy are good ways to cut the deficit and raise money for social spending and don’t have a negative effect on economic growth; and that emotional examples of suffering (provided by unions or consumer groups) are good ways to illustrate economic statistic stories…. [The press] does not understand how educated, sensible people could possibly be wary of multilateral institutions or friendly, sophisticated European allies…. The worldview of the dominant media can be seen in every frame of video and every print word choice that is currently being produced about the presidential race.”

      - Mark Halperin of ABC News during the 2004 presidential race

  8. Ivan, Sue stole from the children – plain and simple. She was probably good when she started but apparently got corrupted when she was in long enough. I watched the trial and heard the testimony. The trial was lost when she testified. She was arrogant in her own trial and she convinced the jury of her guilt. Bush started the bailouts (for that I blame him) but Obama and his minions are mismanaging it now. Republicans screwed up lots of things and then the Dems got control and have continued to screw things – but somehow it is all Bush’s fault – very weak reasoning. I note Obama is now naming W. specifically in his speeches to cast blame – at what point can we expect him to start naming his own party specifically for the blame? I can tell you the answer to that – never. He is like a child – it is always the other kid’s fault – never his.

  9. The Huntsville Times’ official policy is to identify politicians by party. Any time it doesn’t, a reporter has screwed up and editors have fallen down on the job. Conspiracy to protect Democrats? Lousy journalism? Look at the miserable job the major papers did with the so called whitewater deal in Arkansas — especially when Starr’s right wing prosecution team tried to make it into something more than a dumb investment deal.

  10. One of my prized possessions is my thank you card from Kenneth Starr – sort of interesting story how I got it. During the Clinton era I stumbled upon a website that gave Ken Starr’s home address and his wife’s work address. The site was urging folks to send hate mail to him and her for his part in the investigation (part of the goal was to get her fired – classy). They had pictures of them outside of the family home etc. I took the opportunity to send him a note of encouragement saying I appreciated a man standing up for what he thought was right and honoring his oath. He took the time to send me a thank you card. What a great man. Imagine how quickly the investigation would have ended if the Clinton’s hadn’t fought them every step of the way.

  11. This is kind of off topic, but Mike speaking of corruption and law enforcement. Have you ever noticed how vicious these Sheriffs races are? I think their even worse than the ones for the state legislature. Look at Tennessee for example. Two weeks ago you could start in Lincoln County and make your way along the stateline over to Shelby/Memphis and have serious minded people at the courthouses tell you the FBI was on the verge of arresting the sheriff’s in those counties. Even the wives of two sheriffs were accused of corruption in two of those counties. I also remember in the 90′s hearing rumors of sheriff’s trafficking cocaine and such. I just think those races are much more vicious than the races for the legislature.

    • Dan t,
      You’re right, those sheriff’s races have traditionally been among the hottest races, usually far more contentious than legislative races. I think it’s because of the broad discretion a sheriff possesses. In Alabama, sheriff is a powerful position with many opportunities for corruption. Although, I can quickly recall being involved in at least four investigations of corrupt sheriffs during my Trooper/ABI career that led to convictions and/or removal from office of the sheriffs, what really sticks in my mind is that most of the sheriffs that I have observed seem to resist the temptations before them and appear to be genuine public servants doing the best they can with the resources available to them.

      You mentioned trafficking drugs in the ’90′s, I recall getting several leads about a certain Alabama Sheriff involved in drug trafficking during that time frame. When we started checking it out, we wound up busting him for other stuff. Often, when a public official goes bad, they don’t limit it to one offense.

      I don’t know why, but it seems to me that the sheriff’s races in rural dry counties were the most contentious. Although, this trip down memory lane is making me feel like an old dog, thanks for the question.

  12. We got it here in Huntsville PD – apparently County Commissioner Harrison’s son got a dui – before they could get him processed – calls were made and he was released. They looked into complaint that the Chief made the call (according to Huntsville Times). That was the end of that. Now one of the Huntsville investigators, who is on several major cases, is not allowed to testify in court. They have some lame reason for it – lets see when the PD comes clean with the explanation or if they just cover it up.

  13. mike mentioned rural dry counties — before beer could be obtained legally out in the county, but while huntsville had state stores and beer joints, there were plenty of bootleggers all around rural areas. just about everyone knew who was selling “white whiskey” — the “bottled in the barn” stuff. folks figured if any drunk in the area could find out where to get a pint of moonshine, why couldn’t the sheriff? didn’t build a lot of confidence in the honesty of the sheriff department, and by reflection, the rest of local govt. now, in rural areas, many people know who is having a dope problem. in my area the main focus is on three young guys in their early 20′s — cousins, all from hard working families, who got hooked. they’ve broken into relatives’ homes to steal, been in and out and in rehab, been arrested and bonded out, but are hooked. they don;t have a bit of a problem finding dealers. and dealers’ neighbors see a young guy rent or buy a house, park a truck and then another truck in the driveway — nice new trucks — and see vehicles come up at all hours and spend a few minutes, and they figure out what is going on pretty fast.