Big Journalism, local edition

Don Surber has noted the mainstream media’s inconsistent ascription of party labels to disgraced politicians in a continuing series he titles “name that party.” The theme of the series is that the mainstream media feature the party identification of Republican politicians caught in scandals while withholding the party identification of similarly compromised Democratic politicians.
Many others have taken the baton from Surber, such as Warner Todd Huston in “Dem scandal, no party mention/GOP scandal, party mentioned at top.” We have contributed numerous entries to the series as well.
I am not aware of the same phenomenon with respect to private citizens caught in the act. Tuesday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune featured a page-one story by reporter Ciao Xiong on prominent local businessman William Wanner. Wanner has been caught on surveillance tape and charged with molesting a 10-year old girl at the elite Minneapolis Club in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.
It’s a shocking story deserving of intense scrutiny. Near the top of the story Xiong reported: “Records show that Wanner is affiliated with Wanner Engineering Inc., a maker of industrial pumps, and has been a significant contributor to local and national Republican candidates.”
I don’t recall the Star Tribune having identified the party affiliation of other prominent local perpetrators, and I can’t see the relevance of Wanner’s political contributions to the story, though I may be wrong on either or both counts. Late Tuesday afternoon I called Xiong and asked him what relevance Wanner’s party support had to the story.
Xiong told me that he was working to a pending deadline and would call me back. I said I’d email him my questions with contact information. I emailed him the following message from our Power Line gmail account on Tuesday afternoon and from my home email account yesterday morning (neither message has been returned):

Mr Xiong: Following up on our brief conversation a moment ago when you told me you were working on deadilne, would you please explain to me why you find it relevant in your story on William Wanner’s alleged child molestation that he is a significant contributor to local and national Republican candidates?
Can you point out a comparable story where the Star Tribune has done likewise regarding an alleged perpetrator who was a significant Democratic contributor?
I write for the Web site Power Line (powerlineblog.com). If I write about your story, I will quote your response verbatim. My home telephone number is xxx.xxx.xxxx; my home email is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Thanks for your consideration.

There may be good answers to my questions, but I’m still awaiting Xiong’s response.

Responses

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