Last week we mentioned that in a ‘scandal scorecard’ on his new Washington Post blog The Fix, Chris Cillizza included a reference to a former Democratic congressman who resigned from Congress for crimes committed before he was even elected, in an apparent effort to make the scorecard look less overwhelmingly weighted toward Republicans.
This morning a TPM Reader asked Cillizza about it in a reader chat.
Here’s the exchange with emphasis added …
New York, N.Y.: In your recent corruption roundup, you set up some ground rules that you’ll only deal with current members of Congress or governors. Yet, you broke your own rules by including Rep Frank Ballance (D) who resigned in June, 2004. You omitted Connecticut Governor John Rowland (R) who also resigned in June, 2004. Why break your own rules for one but not the other?
The only thing I can think of is that you made a list and found that there are a lot more Republicans than Democrats on the list. So in an effort to appeared unbiased, you had to find another Democrat.
Cillizza: This was an editorial mixup. In my original post, Ballance was not included since, as you rightly point out, he is not a sitting member of Congress. After an edit, Ballance was unnecessarily included for, frankly, balance. I did not read the final edit and therefore was unaware that Ballance had been added to the list. I apologize for my editor’s error (he’s been flogged). And let no man (or woman) say The Fix opposes full disclosure.
Kudos to Chris for being candid and transparent about what happened. But this does give some insight into what’s going on behind the scenes in the reporting on many of these scandals. In this case, reality apparently wasn’t balanced enough. So an editor at the Post tipped the scales.