Saturday, October 04, 2008

AP Falsely Reports on Troopergate

The Associated Press through selective ommissions implies that the Troopergate investigation is a partisan Republican versus Democratic conflict. This is not true.

The following is an item I sent to the readers' representative at the San Francisco Chronicle concerning an AP story today. An appropriate link is included.

====Message follows====

Dear Mr. Rodgers,

I would like to direct your attention to the following AP story on

Alaska Supreme Court takes up 'Troopergate' case
By MATT VOLZ, Associated Press Writer
Saturday, October 4, 2008

linked at

This story is misleading through the selective inclusion and omission of party affiliations and I expect it violates The Chronicle's standards. The relevant material is quoted below.

"The court accepted an emergency appeal late Friday filed by six Alaska lawmakers....
"The independent investigator conducting the probe plans to turn over his conclusions by next Friday to the Legislative Council, the body that authorized it.
"The six Republican lawmakers, who are not on the Legislative Council, filed the emergency appeal after....
"[Defense attorney Peter] Maassen represents Senate Judiciary Chairman Hollis French, the Democratic project manager of the investigation; Sen. Kim Elton, Democratic chairman of the Legislative Council; the investigator, retired prosecutor Steven Branchflower; and the Legislative Council."

In this way the article subtly indicates, as alleged by the plaintiffs, that this is a partisan dispute between Republican plaintiffs and Democratic defendants. This is incorrect. The party affiliations of the Legislative Council membership, other than Chairman Elton whose Democratic affiliation is stated in the article, are 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Accurate reporting would recognize this as an allegation of partisan bias by 6 Republicans against 10 Republicans and 5 Democrats, ideally with Prosecutor Branchflower's affiliation also included.

We now have a much different story. The story no longer implies that there is partisan bias on the part of the defendants who initiated the investigation prior to Governor Palin's nomination. In fact, the allegation itself now appears partisan given the plaintiffs filed suit after Governor Palin's nomination for Vice-President and not before.

It is misleading to omit the party affiliations of only one side in an accusation of partisan bias.

Thank you,

Michael Brent

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