MEDIA LOVES GOP SEX SCANDAL
The media had a field day with Illinois Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan withdrawing from that race because of an alleged sex scandal. It was big news on all the national evening news programs. The media acted as if they had uncovered the Republican version of Bill Clinton. But there were big differences between the two, and if the media are going to be consistent—and that's a big "if"—this mess spells big trouble for John Kerry.
Liberal media bias was at work in the Ryan story. But it's much more than that. In this case, the Chicago Tribune filed suit to get access to his divorce records. The Tribune argued that his privacy was less important than the "public interest"—as defined of course by the Tribune, which wants to sell newspapers and elect a Democrat this fall in Illinois for the Senate. The name of that Democrat is state Senator Barack Obama, described by the New York Times as "widely regarded as a rising Democratic star." The phrase, "widely regarded," means that liberals in the media like him, too. Liberal columnist E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post describes him as a "media darling" who could become America's first black president.
When a judge released the Ryan divorce records, the Tribune and other media had their story—that Ryan was accused years ago by his ex-wife of taking her to sex clubs. There was no adultery on Ryan's part, but the old allegations of a sexual nature had made the media's day. Like sharks in the water, they smelled the blood that would sink a Republican candidate. In contrast to Bill Clinton, the Ryan case involved no official misconduct and no official lies and cover-ups. Nevertheless, under heavy media fire, Ryan withdrew from the race.
A conservative Illinois on-line newspaper, the Illinois Leader, had the proper response. Leader Media President Dan Proft announced that IllinoisLeader.com plans to file suit to obtain Senator John Kerry's sealed divorce records from his first marriage to Julia Thorne which was later annulled. "The Chicago Tribune and a Los Angeles Family Court judge have established a new standard for the release of marital and custodial documents," said Proft, referring to the recent Jack Ryan decision. "Okay, then everyone in the public arena needs to be held to that standard. John Kerry is the start…"
Here's what we already know: the Boston Globe had reported that Kerry "separated from his first wife, Julia Thorne, in 1982, and the divorce became final in 1988. For much of their marriage, Julia, who came from a wealthy Long Island family, had provided significant financial contributions. The divorce left Kerry strapped for cash…"
The Washington Blade said that, "After Thorne requested an increase in alimony in 1995, Kerry sought an annulment of their marriage from the Catholic Church, a move observers saw as retaliatory. Kerry eventually received the annulment from the Boston diocese despite Thorne's vehement objections. Past media reports did not indicate the grounds on which Kerry sought to annul his marriage of 18 years…" But don't look for the liberals in the media to investigate that. They're too busy trying to dig up dirt on Republicans.
© 2004 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights
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Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues.
Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly
Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington
Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.
When a judge released the Ryan divorce records, the Tribune and other media had their story—that Ryan was accused years ago by his ex-wife of taking her to sex clubs.