Saturday, October 27, 2007

AP throws a curveball in 'Name that Party'

Don Surber has a game he likes to call "Name that Party." It's simple to play.

Pick out an AP article that references some disgraced political figure and count how many paragraphs it takes for the crack AP pro journalist author to name the political affiliation of the culprit.

Today's entry is submitted by the AP's Mike Robinson. Entitled, Ex-Gov. Ryan Ordered to Prison by Nov. 7, it begins:

Former Gov. George Ryan was ordered Friday to start serving a 6 1/2-year prison sentence in less than two weeks, but his lawyers held out hope they could keep him out of prison pending a U.S. Supreme Court appeal.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer set a Nov. 7 surrender date for Ryan and co-defendant Larry Warner to report to prison.

Within hours, his attorneys asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for an extension of his bond that would keep him free while they take the case to the nation's highest court....

Sixteen paragraphs. No mention of political affiliation, despite the fact that Ryan "was convicted in April 2006 of steering state contracts to friends, using tax dollars to run his campaigns and covering up drivers license bribery... [his] conviction capped one of Illinois' biggest political scandals ever, bringing with it nine years of investigations and trials that wrecked Ryan's career and sent dozens of others to jail."

What's interesting is that Ryan was a Republican and not a Democrat. Well, in truth, he was a RINO, because most of his positions were to the left of his Democratic opponents. He made national headlines in 2000 for his moratorium on executions. He subsequently commuted the sentences of all convicts on the Illinois death row to life in prison. In addition, his position on gun control was the exact opposite of most Republicans -- he believed in limiting the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.

In short, I'm not sure what to make of the AP's curveball in the "Name that Party" game. Are they trying to level the playing field? Or do they just consider Ryan a kindred spirit? Either way, it's a trend we should monitor.

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