CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Bizzyblog proprietor Tom Blumer is worked up because news stories about Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann fail to routinely mention that Dann is a Democrat. Blumer doesn't seem to notice that news stories about President George W. Bush do not always mention that Bush is a Republican. In fact, here's a story about Bush from The Fort Leavenworth Lamp, and it doesn't mention that Bush is a Republican. The Lamp, by the way, is the official post newspaper published at the Kansas military reservation and prison. Its story about the president points out he was reducing the length of service tours in Iraq from 15 t0 12 months. Certainly, good news for the troops. Under Blumer's theory, it must have been a Pentagon/news media conspiracy to conceal Bush's political party affiliation from the very forces he leads as commander-in-chief.
Here's a Bloomberg news service story about Bush and a visit with South Korea's chief executive. Again, no mention of Bush's Republicanism. And the Voice of America carried a report about Bush's April 19 radio address attacking "opposition Democrats in Congress" without mentioning that Bush is a Republican. Then there is this April 18 report about Bush and the importance of his tax rebate/economic stimulus plan that also was aired on the government-owned VOA, and it also fails to mention President Bush is a Republican.
Is this really some kind of conspiracy? Is the government in on it, too? Or is it just the media not applying a party identifier where it is probably unnecessary? Undoubtedly the latter. Bizzyblog's Blumer seems to be contending that the media is intentionally omitting Marc Dann's Democratic tag in order to protect Ohio's attorney general in a sexual harassment scandal. The GOP-leaning conservative blogger -- a frequent media critic who contributes to Newsbusters -- writes that Ohio's reporters have collective amnesia about Dann's political affiliation:
"Strangely, this disease only appears to effect the left side of the brain, as Ohio's reporters usually have little trouble identifying the party of scandal plagued Republicans."
But it's clear that the media doesn't cling to party identifiers. It uses them most (as a Google or Yahoo search quickly will indicate, or a newsroom style book will reveal) in stories about legislative officeholders -- as in Rep. So-and-So, D-Lake Erie; or Sen. So-and-So, R-Ohio. And it uses them when candidates are contesting elections -- when Dann, a Democrat, ran against Betty Montgomery, a Republican. That is the common formula, or style. Governors and presidents and judges and cabinet members are not typically identified by their party when it's not around election time. Perhaps that style rule, or tradition, needs to be changed. No argument there. But it is hardly a conspiracy or "collective amnesia." And Tom Blumer's shot at the journalists covering the Dann scandal could be cheap. Many of them have dug, and dug deep for their stories. The Columbus Dispatch broke the story two weeks ago today. And if the Columbus Dispatch journalists had been inclined to protect Marc Dann out of party fealty, well, there wouldn't be any knowledge of the Dann scandal in the public domain. And if nobody knew about the scandal, Tom Blumer wouldn't have anything to fuss about.