People Unclear

I’m posting enough of these I need to recognize a series. This is number 12.

I get a bunch of my story ideas from Facebook. Let me restate that. I get almost all my story ideas from Facebook. This one came through my feed yesterday, courtesy of a Facebook friend. See the image. It’s a screen shot from Facebook, and I’ve turned down the brightness so  you can read the name of the originating publication at the bottom. It’s TheFederalist.com. And here’s what’s interesting.

The lined story was posted by Bre Payton, who is a staff writer covering culture and millennial politics, and she has some interesting things to say about the just started trial of Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey:

Media Won’t Talk About Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’s Corruption Trial

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’s upcoming corruption trial has gotten very little attention from members of the media. When they do talk about it, they like to leave out the fact he’s a Democrat.

And that is strange on two levels. First, the media—meaning mean stream news outlets—pay little attention to (do not report much on) the Senator Menendez trial. Second, when they do talk about it, they neglect to mention that Menendez is a Democrat. Double strange, because double false.

Mainstream media have been reporting on the Menendez trial. CNN:

Newark, New Jersey (CNN)As he walked into the federal courthouse in New Jersey, Sen. Bob Menendez became emotional.

Speaking to reporters gathered in the rain Wednesday, he appeared to choke back tears as his son and daughter stood by his side.
“Never, not once, not once have I dishonored my public office,” said Menendez, a Democrat.

ABC:

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez “sold his office for a lifestyle he couldn’t afford” by accepting luxury trips and other favors from a wealthy doctor seeking political influence, a government prosecutor told jurors Wednesday during opening statements of the Democrat’s corruption trial.

CBS:

A federal prosecutor said Wednesday the case against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez is about a corrupt politician who, “sold his office for a lifestyle he couldn’t afford, and a greedy eye doctor,” CBS News’ Pat Milton and Erica Brown report.

Prosecutor Peter Koski methodically and meticulously laid out the U.S. government’s corruption case against 63-year-old Menendez, a Democrat, who is charged with accepting bribes including lavish vacations and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from Salomon Melgen, a wealthy Florida eye doctor, in exchange for political influence and favors to advance his business interests.

NBC:

WASHINGTON — The first U.S. senator to face bribery charges in nearly four decades goes on trial Wednesday in a case that could affect the Senate’s partisan makeup and the fate of President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda.

Robert Menendez, a Democrat in his 12th year as a senator from New Jersey, is charged with using his influence to do favors for a Florida eye doctor accused of overbilling Medicare. In return, prosecutors say, the doctor treated Menendez to “a lavish lifestyle that included private jet rides and vacations in Paris and the Caribbean.”

The New York Times:

Since his indictment more than two years ago, Mr. Menendez, a Democrat, has steadfastly proclaimed his innocence, and last week he reiterated that. “I am going to be exonerated,” he said in a brief interview on Wednesday with reporters following a rally protesting President Trump’s immigration policies.

I am not too sure how many of these mainstream media sources I am supposed to name in order to reveal that mainstream media are covering the Menendez trial. And they are calling him a Democrat. And they have been calling him a democrat for years. From The New York Times, 7 March 2015:

For decades, Senator Robert Menendez has been one of the immovable objects of New Jersey politics. Even now, staring down expected criminal charges, the Democratic lawmaker has vowed not to give way.

So, what am I missing here? I suspect what I am missing is that Bre Payton, who reports on culture and millennial politics, has now taken a turn at writing about the news—without first reading the news.

I am guessing some of the people who commented on the Facebook post are in the same situation. Here are some comments on Facebook, without naming names:

It wouldn’t surprise me if the piece is right about it being under-reported, especially the fact that he is a Democrat. Like the author says, the NY Times piece neglected to say he was a Democrat until it was edited a few hours later, and even then it was placed in the fourth paragraph. I would lay odds that if Menendez had been a Republican, the Times would have featured that fact much more prominently, maybe even in the title.

Imagine if he were a hated Republican. It would be a top story and the only story in many cases. As things are everyone expects that Democrats lie cheat and steal so it’s not news.

Imagine if you were actually adding something to the conversation rather than spouting off emotionally charged nonsense…

Hmmmm…. So you don’t think that pointing out the contrast between the way that “the media” treats republicans and democrats is adding anything. It’s not nonsense because it’s true. It’s also not emotionally charged, just a simple observation. Just trying to understand. You must be one of those that thinks that there is no real difference in the way that the media treats public figures. Either that or you think that all republicans are bad and so deserved to be treated differently. Which is it?

Apparently a bit of persecution complex is showing. To paraphrase, “The mainstream heads won’t hype the dirt unless it’s about a Republican.” For “Republican” you can substitute “conservative” or “Christian” or “white person.”

For the record, I’ve been on the story for several years:

This is another one of those posts. Sometimes (often times) people just don’t seem to get the point. In this case it’s Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey:

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors charged Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez and wealthy donor Salomon Melgen on Wednesday with participating in a long-running bribery scheme.

New Jersey’s senior senator used his office to benefit the Florida eye doctor in exchange for nearly $1 million in gifts and campaign contributions, prosecutors say.

68-page indictment outlines 14 criminal counts against Menendez, 61, including eight counts of bribery. Melgen, a 61-year-old West Palm Beach, Fla., ophthalmologist, faces 13 counts, also including eight bribery counts.

That’s from 2 April 2015. Maybe Bre Payton needs to follow my blog.

To be sure, Bre Payton’s story posted to The Federalist pointed out that The New York Times was slow coming around to the fact that Menendez is a Democrat:

On Sunday, The New York Times published a 1,288-word article about the trial, which begins Wednesday, without once mentioning Menendez’s political party affiliation. The newspaper of record then stealth-edited the piece hours later. The updated version identifies the New Jersey senator once in the fourth paragraph as a Democrat.

I like the phrase “stealth-edited.” Stealthy. In the middle of the night. When nobody was looking. So nobody would notice the Times was trying to play favorites. Good try, Payton, and welcome to the world of real news. If you worked for a real news outlet you would know it works something like this:

Editor: Nick [Corasaniti], did you write this? (Of course he did.)

Nick: Yes (gulp), sir.

Editor: I just read it. It’s already on the streets. You failed to mention Menendez is a Democrat.

Nick: Oops!

Editor: Fix it right now. Fix the on-line edition and print a correction in today’s edition.

I would like to contrast that with how things are done in the not-so-mainstream media:

The conspiracy-choked story of Seth Rich’s killing has made a sudden comeback thanks to Fox News, but the latest reporting seems to have generated more controversy than credibility.

Rich’s family is demanding a retraction from Fox for airing unsubstantiated claims about the Democratic National Committee staffer, whose death last year generated a wild river of theories and innuendo about who was behind it.

Fox’s latest reporting on the unsolved crime has an odd twist: Much of its work relies on a private investigator who is also a Fox News contributor. The investigator, in turn, is being funded by a frequent Fox News guest.

I would not bother to bring up this item, except that with Fox News this has been the modus operandi for much of its existence. Please do not ask me to cite additional examples, and I will not ask you to read them when I post them.

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