09 January 2009


The AP is up with two stories about political scandals this evening: one about the impeachment of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, and another about the indictment of the mayor of Baltimore.

Here's what's amusing: the Blagojevich story has 816 words. You have to get to word #202 before the word "Democratic" appears in connection with his name. Apart from five references to lawmakers with "D-" after their names, that's the only time we see the D-word in 816 words.

The Baltimore story has 1006 words. We have to read all the way to word #335 before we learn that Mayor Sheila Dixon is a "Democrat." That word appears exactly one more time, in reference to her predecessor.

If the scandal involved an official from the other party, does anyone want to take a guess as to where in the story, and how frequently, we'd see the word "Republican"? Click here in case you're curious.


Julie said...

Perhaps because the Republican example seems a bit more severe (not that fraud, extortion and bribery aren't) would explain the frequency and immediacy of the party name? Somehow I think an example of Clinton's antics in office might have similarities...

TYF said...

Julie -
I grant that what Larry Craig did was shocking, and quite unlike anything the public had seen before. For that reason alone, it was guaranteed to get lots of press. But Craig's scandal was ultimately a personal failing --- and yet the very first word of the Reuters story pointed out that he's a GOPer. And then used the word "Republican" six more times in a 738 word story.

Blago and Dixon are accused of abusing the powers of their office for personal gain; that's a whole different kettle of fish --- and one that's ultimately more "political" than what Craig did.

Ted Stevens or Duke Cunningham would be the GOP versions of Blago/Dixon. You've inspired me to do a little research on the press coverage of those two scandals.

It would indeed be interesting to see how often "Democrat" was attached to Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal, but for Presidents in general it's seldom necessary to give partisan identifers.

Julie said...

Glad to help the cause for research! And thanks for "listening" to the rants of someone from the "other" side... it's nice to know we can still get along!

Keep me posted on that research, please. I'm curious to see what you uncover.

And yes, you're right on track with with my identity! ;)