Democrats across America are measuring the drapes for the majority in the House and the Senate, preparing to swear in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. One of their major talking points this year has been the Republican majority's "culture of corruption."
In January on PBS, Jim Lehrer asked Sen. Reid why lobbying reform was moving so slowly. Reid replied, "Jim, it's taken a while for this culture of corruption the Republicans have developed to come into the fore." Aspiring "Speaker Pelosi" just gave a speech at Georgetown University pledging to "drain the swamp" of GOP corruption on Capitol Hill. The Democratic National Committee even had a page on their Website devoted to the "Republican Culture of Corruption."
But that "Culture of Corruption" page on the DNC home page has disappeared. Something funny happened on the way to the polls this year. The Democrats have shown they have their own contemporary ethical problems. Luckily for them, it probably won't matter much on Nov. 7. The national news media have decided to ignore them.
Look no further than Reid himself. Associated Press reporters John Solomon and Kathleen Hennessy reported that Reid scored a windfall of $700,000, turning a $400,000 real-estate investment in Las Vegas in 1998 to a $1.1 million land deal in 2004 -- even though he apparently had sold the property to a casino lobbyist buddy in 2001. He did not report the facts on his Senate financial disclosure forms -- while he served on the Senate Ethics Committee.
When the AP called Reid for comment, he hung up on them. You would think that an aggressive, fair and balanced media would have been incensed and activated. But we don't have a fair and balanced national media.
It should be said that major newspaper editorial pages were not impressed with Reid's defense. The Washington Post suggested that "Mr. Reid's professions of transparency and full disclosure are transparently wrong."
But the network distaste for saying anything critical of the Democratic leader was obvious. ABC aired nothing. CBS aired nothing. NBC's Chip Reid offered a few words on "Nightly News" -- after the latest full story on "Foley fallout." There was no "Harry fallout."