The last couple days we’ve been going back and forth with AP writer John Solomon’s reporting about Harry Reid and these boxing tickets. He’s back tonight with another piece which is written in such a way that it’s hard to come to any other conclusion but that the composition of the piece is meant mislead readers. I know that’s a tough claim. But I think it’s merited. Paul Kiel is going to have a run-down on it shortly over at TPMmuckraker.
As long as we’re on the subject, let me share a few thoughts with you.
What’s this story all about and why won’t we let go of it?
At the end of the day, Sen. Reid got to sit ringside to watch a big prize fight because he’s a US senator. I didn’t get to go and neither did you. I think those facts speak for themselves. If that’s Solomon’s point, put us down as a big thumbs-up.
But in writing about it, Solomon buried or omitted key facts about what happened with the unmistakable intention of pumping the incident up into something it just clearly wasn’t. Did Reid vote in favor of the agency that gave him the credentials? Did taking them actually violate any ethics rules? And in his follow-up reporting, Paul Kiel has found additional factual errors in Solomon’s original report. There’s a pattern of selective use of information and misleading omissions that, candidly, I find surprising, maddening and offensive.
Why the effort to pump up this one story? Because Harry Reid’s a Democrat and you really want to get the Senate minority leader on an ethics rap. Bill Jefferson and Alan Mollohan aren’t good enough. Not high enough on the totem pole. There’s just no other way to understand the reporting on this story. And in this case, the method of distortion is very similar to the one Solomon used in his last piece about Reid. It’s becoming an identifiable MO.
If you’re going to take a berm on the mountain range of congressional ethics and cut corners, omit key facts and get other facts wrong to manufacture a false appearance of balance, we think it’s right to call you on every single distortion and error. And we’re going to keep on doing just that.