Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

Keeping a close eye on developments in the 2008 U.S. Senate races

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Republican Senator Caught in Illicit Scandal? Blame the Media!

Cruisin' Larry Craig made a public statement today following the revelation of his arrest and subsequent guilty plea for lewd conduct in the men's bathroom of an airport. Compare Cruisin' Craig's statement with that of Republican David Vitter just over six weeks ago following the revelation of his cheating on his wife with prostitutes:

You may have noticed a glaring similarity in their crisis responses: they both claimed to be victimized by the evil, vicious, harrassing media.


For eight months leading up to June 11, my family and I have been relentlessly and viciously harassed by the Idaho Statesman. If you saw the article today, you know why. Let me be clear: I am not gay; I never have been gay. Still, without a shred of truth or evidence to the contrary, the Statesman has engaged in this witch hunt. In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis, because of the stress of the Idaho Statesman investigation and the rumors it has fueled around Idaho.
I see. It's the newspaper's fault that Craig, a United States Senator, didn't have the wherewithal to retain counsel or enter a "not guilty" plea if, in fact, he thought he had done nothing wrong. It's the newspaper's fault that Craig was hoping, it seems, to sweep the incident under the rug and hide it from his constituents by paying a fine and forgetting about it. (He says he has now retained counsel to advise him on how to proceed. Bad news, Larry. You pled guilty. It's over. If you thought that you had really done nothing wrong, you should have pled "not guilty" and had your Constitutionally-protected day in court. That was your chance to argue your case. But you wanted expediency and secrecy. You dug your hole. You have no recourse.)


Now, having said all this, I'm not going to answer endless questions about it all over again and again and again and again. That might sell newspapers, but it wouldn't serve my family or my constituents well at all.
Mrs. Vitter:

It's been terribly hard to have the media parked on our front lawn and following us every day. And yesterday the media was camped at our church. At our home and at our church every day.
You betcha! It was the media that made "Mr. Family Values" David Vitter cheat on his wife with prostitutes. And it was the media that made him lie to his constituents for several years about his indiscretions and his hypocrisy.

But you don't have to be involved in an illicit sex scandal to blame the media. Here, Ted "Tubes" Stevens blames the Anchorage Daily News for sullying his reputation by reporting on the numerous investigations by the FBI, IRS, and U.S. Department of the Interior into Stevens' dealings:

Q. I wanted to touch just briefly on your own situation and legal controversies.

A. You're not going to touch it at all or I'm going to leave. We had the understanding it was not going to come up.

Q. I understood the investigation wouldn't come up.

A. It's not going to come up at all.

Q. OK. What about your ability to be effective in Congress?

A. What about it? You're destroying it. More people are repeating what you're writing in your paper than anything else in the country. This paper has caused me more difficulty, and I've told you that before, than anything else. You've created me as the senator-for-life. You've been hanging me weekly.

You read any paper, the information -- most of it is not true -- started right here. And your guys just yesterday, they taunt me. They taunt me with statements that really no respectable reporter would ask a senator. It was already said I'm not going to answer your questions. They say, don't you have any concerns for your own integrity? Don't you have any conscience? That's what your reporters do to me. ...

I've spent hours here with you here in the past, and I've never seen any result of it at all. ... This paper has done nothing but try to assassinate me.
Damn the media for reporting on the allegations of impropriety by powerful elected officials. How dare the media inform the electorate that these Senators have or appear to have committed immoral or illegal acts. It's all the media's fault that Larry Craig pled guilty to attempting to pick up a sexual partner in the men's room of an airport; and it's all the media's fault that David Vitter cheated on his wife with prostitutes and lied to his constituents about it while portraying himself as a champion of "family values;" and it's all the media's fault that Ted Stevens had a shady arrangement with powerful business interests to renovate his house (among numerous other dealings) leading to pervasive appearances of impropriety. Damned media!


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