Glenn Reynolds highlights another instance of Name That Party in a political scandal report, and this time it’s triply egregious. The AP report on former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann and his conversion of campaign funds for personal use doesn’t just neglect to mention that Dann is a Democrat — it appears that the AP excised that information from the Columbus Dispatch report that the AP credits for the story. Given the history of scandals in Ohio and the wide (and warranted) focus on Republican malfeasance in that state, the omission strongly suggests bias.
The AP reported this last night:
Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann used his campaign account to bankroll home repairs and family vacations, according to a newspaper review of state investigative reports.
The reports are part of a complaint filed last week with the Ohio Elections Commission by state Inspector General Tom Charles. Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner also filed an elections commission complaint against Dann last week alleging misuse of campaign funds.
The Ohio Elections Commission will address both complaints Jan. 22. And state Auditor Mary Taylor plans Monday to release her own investigation into Dann’s spending.
Dann resigned in May amid a sexual harassment scandal in his office that included his admission that he had an affair with an employee.
Nowhere in this report does the AP use the word “Democrat”. However, they credit and link back to the Dispatch, which had several reports on this investigation. In each, the Dispatch mentions Dann’s party affiliation, although usually deep in the articles.
What makes this even more egregious than usual is the history of scandal reporting in Ohio. Dann got elected in 2006, when Ohioans got fed up with ethically-challenged Republicans and their own scandals, which got reported with party affiliation prominently mentioned. Dann only served a little over a year after his own ethics got called into question, and just this month another prominent Democrat resigned over a political scandal, Helen Jones-Kelley, who abused her power to try to find dirt on “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher. Where’s the party affiliation now?
Either report party affiliation on all scandals or don’t report them at all. The Name That Party game seems very one-sided at the AP.