The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, January 20, 2006

Press still getting the Abramoff story all wrong

I was reading an article in the latest Nation by David Sirota, which points out the rash of interviews by Newt Gingrich in which he decries the corruption of Congressmen. And various outlets have in return mentioned what a reformer he is, a uniter (as opposed to a divider), and of course a gutsy guy. Which is all very strange, because he has always been dogged by questions of unethical conduct on the Hill and in his own home. Not to mention a ruthless partisan and one of the architects of the K Street Project. It's Gingrich who opened the curtains on this era of GOP corruption and abuse of power.

Yet the press still insists on being 'objective' about the corruption stories, still suggesting that Jack Abramoff was an equal opportunity fixer. No one bothers to point out that a Democrat accepting campaign contributions from an Indian tribe that was bilked out of millions by Abramoff and Co. isn't unethical. It's more like being attacked for receiving money from the Widow & Orphan's Society when they've been evicted by Snidely Whiplash. This is a Republican scandal, and the reporting on it has just plain sucked.

Here's how an AP story puts it:

The Abramoff investigation threatens to ensnare at least a half dozen members of Congress of both parties and Bush administration officials. Abramoff, who has admitted to conspiring to defraud his Indian tribe clients, has pleaded guilty to corruption-related charges and is cooperating with prosecutors.

With the midterm elections 10 months away, Democrats have tried to link Abramoff to Republicans, the main recipients of his largesse.

Josh Marshall points out everything wrong with these statements-- and there's plenty wrong here.

But to the best of my knowledge no credible claim has been made that any Democrat is even under investigation in the Abramoff scandal, let alone facing potential indictment. At least half a dozen Republicans have been so named in press reports, with varying degrees of specificity. The sentence is a plain statement of misinformation posing as news reportage.

Then comes the next line -- (. . .) Link [Abramoff] to Republicans? He's been a professional Republican and major GOP power-player for a quarter-century.