Wednesday, May 24, 2006

CNN: Concealing That William Jefferson is a Democrat

A colleague of ours — one who doesn’t usually like the phrase “liberal media bias” — couldn’t resist bringing this to our attention.

On the front page at the CNN web site right now: a story about Democratic Congressman William Jefferson, who was caught by the FBI in a sting operation taking a $100,000 bribe.

The story linked from the front page details how House Speaker Dennis Hastert is objecting to the FBI seizing documents from a House member’s office.

But what does neither the CNN front page nor linked story reveal?

That Jefferson is a Democrat.

Admittedly, the front page shows that Jefferson is black, and somebody might assume that black members of Congress are Democrats. But why not say it?

Indeed, the thrust of the story, with Hastert criticizing the FBI and Nancy Pelosi demanding Jefferson’s resignation, might suggest that the Democrats are the ethics warriors and the Republicans are siding with an unethical member of Congress.

Admittedly, a story CNN ran on Monday identified Jefferson as a Democrat. And a story that ran on the site on May 17 followed the usual practice of adding “D” or “R” after the names of member of Congress. But that story, which mentioned that Jefferson was under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, focused on the Abramoff scandal and explicitly identified as Republicans two members under investigation.

But today, for Jefferson at least, the practice of labeling members as Democrats or Republicans seems to have been suspended.

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