Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A tale of two congressmen

Our new book, Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party, hits bookstores today (Don't believe Amazon which, last time I checked, was claiming the book hasn't yet been released. Lies, lies, all lies!)

As fate would have it, Donkey Cons' launch day coincides with a major news development that underscores a major theses in the book: That there is a glaring double-standard that governs the way mainstream media treat Democratic and Republican scandal.

To wit: Following Friday's news that his former aide, Tony Rudy, had pleaded guilty for conspiring with casino lobbyist Jack Abramoff, scandal-battered Texas Republican Tom DeLay today announced he will resign from Congress, yielding at daybreak 86 stories (and counting) on Lexis-Nexis.

Meanwhile, on March 30, the day before Rudy pleaded guilty, a federal grand jury subpoenaed six aides to Rep. William Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana. Jefferson is under investigation for allegedly demanding bribes in the form of part-ownership -- and also a job for a family member (hey, may as well spread the wealth) --- in two foreign telecommunication companies. In return, Jefferson allegedly promised to lobby the governments of Ghana and Nigeria on the companies' behalf. Jefferson's aide Brett Pfeffer in January pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and aiding and abetting the solicitation of the bribes.

You may remember Jefferson as the diva-congressman who famously demanded that Guard troops aiding Katrina victims provide him with limo service to his upscale New Orleans home in order for him to retrieve his personal belongings while his constituents drowned in their attics.

The MSM evidently thinks that's bigger news than Jefferson's alleged quid pro quo strong-arming of foreign firms: While the congressman's National Guard limo ride got lots of coverage, the news that investigators were zeroeing in Jefferson with a raft of subpoenas yielded a combined total of eight stories -- in nearly an entire week.

Three of those stories were in D.C.-based publications. Two appeared in Lousiana and Tennessee newspapers. The remaining three were wire service stories. So the depressing truth is that the vast majority of Americans have no idea that there is a Democratic congressman under investigation for a crime that is at least as serious as the crimes of which DeLay is accused.

Certainly, a former House leader's resignation is bigger news than a rank-and-file congressman's subpoenaed aides. But is it more than 10 times bigger and counting (by the end of the week there will hundreds of DeLay stories and still just a handful about Jefferson)? We don't think so, particularly since Jefferson has allegedly been busy lining his own pockets while great swaths of his constituents remain homeless and destitute.

Still, there is no great outrage over the Jefferson investigation, nor over the scandal involving John Conyers (D-Michigan) and his tax-funded tutors and babysitters, nor over Harry Reid's (D-Nevada) apparently unethical ties to Abramoff lobbyists. This is because, as we argue in Donkey Cons, there is a double standard for Republican and Democratic scandal. And these days, there's an extra wrinkle: The Jefferson scandal doesn't fit MSM's storyline which says that Republicans are the party of corruption, the scourge of the country, and must be defeated in November 2006 (this though the statistical facts are that over the past 30 years, Democrats are three times and corrupt as Republicans, though they were in power only twice as long.)

Keep your ear to the ground on Jefferson, Conyers, and Reid ... but be warned: You'll either have to listen awfully hard -- or visit this blog -- to ever find out anything new.


Previous DONKEY CONS blogs

4/1: Judge investigated
3/20: Sanity in New Orleans
3/18: Police looting OK in New Orleans
3/17: Dean screams in New Orleans
2/15: Morial spews a flood of lies
2/4: New vote-fraud opportunities
1/26: Knee-deep in the Big Muddy

DONKEY CONS: Rave review
DONKEY CONS: About the book