The new revelations about the email habits of Republican Congressman Foley are certainly sick and disturbing. Hopefully, we all get that. I don't think this needs a detailed look at what we all know, he seems to be a child predator.
Moving past that, it is an interesting study to see how differently CNN handles his case from that of Democrat Congressman Jefferson from Louisiana, caught with cash in the fridge during an FBI sting operation.
Most of us don't have time to read beyond the first few paragraphs of every story. Thus we only skim the headline and intro on many stories. So to get the maximum attention, a fact needs to presented in the introductory paragraph.
Now look at this recent article from CNN: WH: Bush 'as shocked as everyone else' at Foley charges
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A White House official said Sunday that administration officials were unaware until Friday of allegations that Republican Rep. Mark Foley exchanged sexually explicit e-mails with a 16-year-old former congressional page.
Note that the disgraced politician is described as a republican in the first sentence.
Now compare with this article on Congressman Jefferson: Judge ruled that raid of congressman's office was constitutional
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Louisiana congressman implicated in a federal bribery probe filed papers Tuesday to keep records seized from his Capitol Hill office under seal while he appeals a federal judge's order allowing investigators to review them.
Federal agents in May searched the office of Rep. William Jefferson in May. The action spurred protests from both parties in the House of Representatives. On Monday, Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan ruled that the Constitution's "speech and debate" clause, which gives members of Congress immunity while conducting their official duties, does not shield them from execution of valid search warrants.
Lawyers for Jefferson, a Democrat...
Here the democrat's party affiliation is three paragraphs down. Of course, it may be different writers, or may just be random, so let's look at some more articles.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican Rep. Mark Foley resigned Friday from the House after sexually explicit instant message conversations with teenage congressional pages attributed to him surfaced.
Note the republican label is applied in the first word in the article.
Jefferson: Rep. Jefferson blames Pelosi for plight
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Rep. William Jefferson, who on Friday was stripped of his seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, said the House minority leader singled him out because she wants to be speaker of the House one day.
Jefferson, D-Louisiana, is the subject of an ongoing bribery investigation. No charges have been filed against Jefferson and he maintains his innocence.
Well at least the democrat label made it into the second paragraph.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rep. Mark Foley, R-Florida, resigned from Congress on Friday, effective immediately, in the wake of questions about e-mails he wrote a former male page.
Again, first line.
Jefferson: Justice Department rejects calls to return lawmaker's documents. I read about ten paragraphs in and saw no reference to his party. When I got to other congressional leader's statements, they were identified as D or R. But nothing for Jefferson that far into it.
Of course the Foley case was quick and done. There are relatively few articles on his disgrace. So let's see if this trend continues for Jefferson's articles.
Rumpus over FBI raid leads to talk of resignations. Bottom of 2nd paragraph.
Bush stepped in to quell dispute over documents. Top of second paragraph.
GOP, Dems blast FBI for searching congressional office. Middle of third paragraph.
Hastert: FBI 'took the wrong path' when searching lawmaker's office. Actually made into the first paragraph. Hope nobody got fired over that.
Lawmakers decry search of D.C. office. Top of the second paragraph.
So in all three full length articles that I could find about the Foley scandal on CNN they listed Foley as a republican in the first line, if not the first word of the article.
In eight full length articles on Jefferson, CNN placed the democrat label on him in the first paragraph only once and in one instance left it out entirely of the first ten paragraphs.