When I picked up my copy of the LA Times this morning, it seemed I was looking at the print version of the Daily Kos. So amusing — and biased — did I find its headlines that I thought of setting up a new category on this blog devoted to coverage of bias in my hometown daily and calling it L.A.D.T.D.K. (Los Angeles Dead Tree Daily Kos). I could comment on the paper’s latest on the Vice President’s hunting mishap “Hunter Suffers Setback as Criticism of Cheney Grows,” but given that I’ve already blogged on that here and here and have had a busy day, I’ll focus on the other amusing article.
What really got me going this morning was that a Log Angeles paper would find it newsworthy that disgraced lobbyist Jack “Abramoff Bragged of Ties to Rove.” Let’s see we live in a town where people trying to make it in the entertainment industry routinely brag of ties the business’s movers and shakers. Would it be news that a shady agent, who had plead guilty to siphoning money from his clients, bragged of ties to Stephen Spielberg? Only if the Times were out to “get” Spielberg since such bragging is what agents do every day.
Just as an agent needs high level contacts in order to help his clients, so do lobbyists need similar contacts so that can help their clients influence legalization and government policy. By bragging of ties to Karl Rove, Jack Abramoff was just being a salesman, trying to make himself appear more powerful, in part so he could better attract clients. It might be newsworthy if he had met with Rove in the White House, but the article doesn’t indicate that such a meeting ever took place.
Indeed, while the paper notes thatf Abramoff bragged on numerous occaions about his access to the president’s top political advisor, it does not reference records of a single phone call between the lobbyist and the president’s top political advisor The closest the paper comes is to note that a former Abramoff associate “was the only person to observe Abramoff’s direct contacts with Rove, and he heard only Abramoff’s end of the conversation.” (Emphasis added.) Abramoff has pleaded guilty to crimes involving hiding funds so as to deceive the federal government. A man who deceives the government is a man likely to deceive his associates and potential clients.
No, there’s no new story, just a little more information about the “vaulting ambition” of man I once admired. Just like sleazy agents try to burnish their credentials by exaggerating their access to Hollywood big shots, so do greedy lobbyists exaggerate their access to the powers that be in our nation’s capital. A paper which serves the town where America’s entertainment industry is headquartered should realize that an influence-peddler’s braggadocio isn’t news; it’s the way business (or politics) is done. But, if it could be used to slime the media’s second favorite nemesis (after President Bush), then they’ll try to dress up a shady lobbyist’s boasting up as Karl Rove’s scandal.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
UPDATE: Calling our hometown daily “the Left Angeles Times,” Hugh Hewitt notes how in an article in this morning’s paper, writers Ronald Brownstein and Peter Wallsten “dip into their bag of mystery sources” to slam the Administration’s handling of the Vice President’s hunting mishap. Seems I’m not the only one who finds that in “articles critical of the president — and indeed the Governor for that matter, this paper routinely relies on unnamed officials.” Anyway, Hugh’s got a great piece, so read the whol e thing, indeed, he’s got a number of other posts on his blog with good coverage of the media handling of this mishap.