Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Jennifer Hunter of the DNC

We've said it here many times before: It is much easier being a Democratic public relations person than a Republican one. That's because the news media does their work for them, free of charge.

"Columnist" Jennifer Hunter of the Chicago Sun-Times is proving that point in dramatic fashion the last two days.

On Monday, she wrote about a "staunch Republican" lawyer who had decided to suddenly support Democrats for president because of his dissatisfaction with the Republican Party. The Power Line blog's John Hinderaker uncovered that the lawyer, Jim Ronca, is not really a Republican at all—he is a top ranking trial lawyer in Pennsylvania. That affiliation alone would have told a journalist with a warm pulse that the lawyer was probably not a Republican. But not Hunter, who of course was too lazy to do a five-minute check of his prior campaign contributions, which showed most of his past donations went to Democrats, including Ted Kennedy.

It's worse than that, too. The reporter, Jennifer Hunter, didn't just take Ronca's word for his political affiliation without researching his political contributions. The event she was covering was the annual convention of the "American Association for Justice," which is the new name for the American Trial Lawyers' Association (ATLA). ATLA, an association of plaintiffs' lawyers, has long been one of the principal supporters of the Democratic Party. This is why the newly-named AAJ invited the Democratic Presidential candidates, not the Republicans, to speak at a lunch forum, and also invited Howard Dean to address another event at the convention. As for Jim Ronca himself, he is a well-known plaintiffs' lawyer and a former President of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers' Association.

Now, it is possible for an ATLA bigwig to be a Republican. But the odds against it are long, just as it's highly unlikely that an officer of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will turn out to be a member of the GOP. For a reporter to cover this event and not understand that she was swimming in a sea of Democrats, so that Ronca's claim to be a "staunch Republican" needed verification, was singularly obtuse.

I've written to Ms. Hunter for an explanation of how this deception occurred, and will publish any response I receive.
Hunter followed that intrepid journalism up with a gem today titled "Could Obama end centuries of corruption?" It started on this note:

Even in colonial days, chicanery and corruption were endemic among American politicians. It's become part of the American electoral tradition.

Can it ever be fixed? Barack Obama has been a champion of improving government ethics at both the state and federal level, but he faces a long history of improbity among our elected officials.
Apparently Hunter does not read the paper her husband publishes. In news stories, it has strongly questioned Obama's ethics in his dealings with indicted businessman Tony Rezko. And it's a matter of public record that Obama has cozied up to and failed to speak out against ethically challenged city and state Democrats, including the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

Obama talks about ethics, but his record shows that he doesn't always walk the talk. Even a "staunch" liberal like Steve Rhodes found the column absurd.

What's coming tomorrow, Jennifer? A column on how Dennis Kucinich would be tougher against al Qaeda than Rudy Giuliani?

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