The media largely skipped the story last week that the group Judicial Watch found that Speaker Nancy Pelosi's aides fussed about the need to have high-level military aircraft like the Gulfstream G-5 at Pelosi's beck and call: "It is my understanding there are NO G-5s available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable ...The Speaker will want to know where the planes are," Kay King wrote. In another note, when told a certain type of aircraft would not be available, King complained: "This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset speaker."
Do you remember when Pelosi pledged to clean out a Republican culture of corruption and "drain the swamp" of self-interest? That was news then. But now that she is exposed as even more corrupt? ABC, CBS, NBC and NPR all skipped the Air Pelosi story. Fox News had it, and CNN covered it -- on the contrarian Lou Dobbs show.
Every once in a blue moon, a reporter will file a story that breaks from the pack. On Feb. 16, ABC reporter Jonathan Karl found footage of congressmen lecturing auto executives about superfluous jet travel, and then reported that members of Congress regularly travel the globe on the taxpayer's dime. Ten members and their spouses traveled via the Air Force at that time to Brussels, Vienna, Paris and the Bavarian Alps. "We asked how much this cost," Karl insisted. "But the amount taxpayers spend on military travel for Congress is a tightly guarded secret. The cheapest charter flight we could find was $200,000. Military air would cost more. How much more? Neither Congress nor the Pentagon would tell us."
So much for the vaunted transparency of the Obama era. But it was only one story.
Karl even confronted liberal Rep. Gary Ackerman of New York about his $14,000 in transportation costs for a trip to London. "I didn't go to England," Ackerman claimed. Karl said the record had his name on a three-day trip to Britain. Ackerman revised his remarks: "Oh, I represented the United States Congress." When asked how he spent 14 grand in taxpayer money, Ackerman blamed staff: "Whatever the airline costs, I don't book the flights."
How does this dismissive answer make Ackerman or his Congressional colleagues look any different than insensitive AIG executives?
Good for Jonathan Karl. Where is everyone else?