Thursday, October 12, 2006

AP Clintonizing Reid

When I read about Harry Reid's property "scandal" in the Rocky, I didn't quite understand it. It said he transferred the property for a stake in a company, then it said he sold the land for the same amount of the purchase.

But as fuzzy as the facts were, it seemed to me there was a general insinuation that Reid used his power in Congress to increase the value of the property, and the $1.1 million was a payoff for helping out his friends. The article itself quoted people as saying everything Reid and the zoning commissions did was normal and aboveboard, except for the fact that Reid didn't declare his stake in an LLC to Congress, which he should have, and that he and his buddies paid each others' property taxes on occasion, leading to some potential and unknown but very small tax liability. It just doesn't sound like either an abuse of power or a big scandal, unless the insinuation is correct.

TPM Muckraker explains why the insinuation is incorrect, though they agree that Reid should have been more astute in his declaration to Congress.

And TPM makes its own well-made insinuation about the author of the article. When I read the article, I thought, "How many times are people going to drag out these overblown 'scandals' about Reid?" Well, it's not "people" doing it, it's one man, John Solomon of the AP, and he seems to have a specific vendetta about Reid that makes Solomon fudge facts to yellow up the story.
It’s not the first time that Solomon has published a misleading story about Reid. This is the third such story by Solomon over the past six months. Each time, Solomon has hit Reid for taking actions which might create the appearance of ethical impropriety.
On two earlier occasions, Solomon has over-inflated his stories on Reid. TPM readers might remember his expose on Reid's involvement with Jack Abramoff (which, after exhaustively detailing an Abramoff’s associate’s contacts with Reid’s office, failed to mention that Reid didn't vote the way Abramoff wanted him to) and his stories on Reid's acceptance of passes to a boxing match from the Nevada Gaming Commission (which managed to expunge a host of mitigating details too plentiful to name here).

This is how it started with Clinton. The numerous scandals about Clinton were mostly questionable at best and outright lies at worst, but added up to create an air of absolute corruption around him and his Administration that too many people still believe.

The New York Times created the White Water scandal involving Clinton, and now it appears the AP's Solomon is looking to do the same to Reid. Did Reid touch Solomon inappropriately or something?

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