Where's the Party? Selectively Identifying Troubled Democrats

Where's the party?

On Thursday, Chicago-based reporter Monica Davey reported on more controversy over Rod Blagojevich, thecorrupt former Democratic governor of Illinois who tried to sell off the state's U.S. Senate seat that was left empty after Sen. Barack Obama assumed the presidency. In "Top Blagojevich Aide Pleads Guilty to Fraud," Davey managed to totally ignore Blagojevich's Democratic affiliation - the word "Democrat" was nowhere to be found.

Turn the page, and one could read John Schwartz's story about the latest wrinkle in the corruption case of Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. But in this case, Schwartz made the partisan lines clear, quickly identifying convicted governor Siegelman as a Democrat and his prosecutor as a Republican, heightening the contrast and reinforcing the paper's long-standing, unfounded suspicions of a high-level anti-Siegelman conspiracy on the part of the GOP.

A Department of Justice whistle-blower who accused prosecutors of misconduct in the closely watched federal corruption trial of former Gov. Donald E. Siegelman of Alabama has been fired, and claims retaliation is the reason. The government denies that it was retaliating.

The whistle-blower, Tamarah T. Grimes, worked as a legal aide with the team prosecuting Mr. Siegelman andRichard M. Scrushy, the former chairman of HealthSouth, on bribery and corruption charges.

Both men were convicted in 2006 in a case that Mr. Siegelman, a Democrat, and supporters say was politically motivated.

Ms. Grimes filed her complaints in 2007 under whistle-blower protection laws, accusing prosecutors of several misdeeds. Included were improper communications with jurors and the continuing involvement of the United States attorney for Alabama, Leura G. Canary, long after Ms. Canary, a Republican, said she had removed herself from the case because of partisan ties.

The Times just can't let go of the idea that Republicans engaged in a conspiracy to get rid of the Democratic governor of Alabama. The Times has devoted at least two editorials buying into the left-wing conspiracy theory that Bush senior advisor Karl Rove framed Siegelman.

The paper has a habit of emphasizing party affiliation when covering Republican scandals, and either burying it or omitting it completely when covering Democrats in trouble, like Sen. Chris Dodd.