When the New Jersey bridge closure scandal broke in January, the big three news networks led the way in turning what was a local story into a national one. In the bridge scandal’s first 24 hours, the networks devoted 34 minutes and 28 seconds to covering it.
That was 17 times the amount of coverage that the networks had given to the IRS abuse scandal, across six months.
The IRS scandal involved a Democratic administration and Democrat political appointees, who targeted conservative groups.
The bridge scandal involved a Republican governor and his appointees, and the Republican governor was a front-runner for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
So far, the big three networks have yet to cover the major bribery scandal unfolding in Pennsylvania.
In that scandal, state investigators targeted Republicans and Democrats in the legislature and offered them bribes. But only a few of the Democrats accepted bribes. The investigation began under a Republican attorney general, but when Democrat Kathleen Kane won the state attorney general’s office in 2012, she quickly scuttled that investigation. She has since played the race card, accusing the investigators of targeting black officeholders. And through her attorney she has played the gender card too, painting the whole investigation as a manifestation of the “good ol’ boys club.”
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams is publicly criticizing Kane’s decision to kill the investigation. Williams is both a Democrat, and black. He says that neither of the lead investigators in the case were motivated by race. Williams notes that Claude Thomas, one of the lead investigators in this case, is also black. Williams’ criticism ought to complicate Kane’s effort to paint the investigation as racist.
Kane has also lawyered up and threatened to investigate the Philadelphia Inquirer for publishing reports about Kane’s scuttling the bribery investigation.
So far, the Inquirer is leading the way and getting some support from other regional papers, while the big national newspapers follow the national nets and avoid the story of an attorney general scuttling an investigation into politicians caught on tape breaking ethics laws.
The Philadelphia Four — the officeholders allegedly caught on tape accepting bribes — are all running for re-election. Kane is a Democrat. The Philadelphia Four are all Democrats. None of their actions have merited national coverage. It’s all but certain that US Attorney General Eric Holder, the Democrat who is always keen to sue states that pass voter ID laws, will not open a federal investigation into the Philadelphia Four or Kane’s actions.
Some stories are complicated, but this one really isn’t. Can anyone rationally argue that the media would ignore the story if the political parties in this scandal were reversed?