The PJ Tatler

Hey Look! CNN Is Covering the Leland Yee Scandal!

The incredible scandal of CA state Sen. Leland Yee, Democrat, broke on March 27. The story had just about everything from a hypocritical politician to a Russian arms dealer to Islamic terrorists, a guy named “Shrimp Boy” and even a massage parlor scene. It’s basically Sleeping Dogs II: Sacramento Boogaloo. Yet CNN declined to cover it (as did most of the national media).

Some bloggers tried to get CNN to explain itself, and CNN replied that Yee is a mere state senator. Beneath the network’s gaze.

Problem with that argument: CNN has produced many stories about another state senator, Democrat Wendy Davis. That was back on April 1.

Here we are at April 9, and CNN has finally decided that Yee is worth a story. But get a look at how CNN packs its story with excuses for his alleged crimes. This is CNN’s lead.

First, the ambitious California state senator had to fund his 2011 race for mayor of San Francisco. When he came in fifth, he was stuck with $70,000 in campaign debt that he had to retire before he could mount his next run, for secretary of state — a costly statewide venture.

And that’s how prosecutors say Yee ended up sitting across from an undercover federal agent in a coffee shop in early March, brokering what he was told was a $2 million arms deal that would include the purchase of shoulder-fired missiles from Islamic rebels in the Philippines.

“Do I think we can make some money? I think we can make some money,” Yee told the agent in a conversation recounted in a 137-page arrest affidavit. “Do I think we can get the goods? I think we can get the goods.”

Shorter CNN: Campaign finance laws turned Yee to the Chinese mob and gun-running.

CNN doesn’t get around to identifying Yee’s party affiliation until the fourth paragraph, and even then, they modify it with “veteran” to give him a bit more gravitas.

You can’t make this stuff up.

You can’t make up Willie Brown’s defense of Yee, either.

“That’s why it’s such a shock to me,” said Brown, who once endorsed and later fired the aspiring politico. From a “practical, intellectual standpoint,” he said, “You don’t bribe or you don’t launder money or you don’t do things with people who can’t deliver on public policy.”

He sounds like he’s speaking from direct experience.