(Thanks to tw3k for this photoshop of the On The Take Express)
The press poodles for McCain over at the Arizona Daily Star continue to censor any critical reporting about the senator being on the take to his campaign contributors.
You may recall that the Star recently did not publish any mention of the New York Times front page investigative report A Developer, His Deals and His Ties to McCain - New York Times by David Kirkpatrick and Jim Rutenberg. The report involved our legendary local land speculator and developer, Donald Diamond. You would think that this merited a mention in the Star.
The Star asserted in an editor's note, however, that it had previously reported on the relationship between Sen. McCain and Donald Diamond.
Umm, apparently not. The Star's Reader Advocate had to admit in a column on May 4, 2008 that a search of Star articles did not reveal any such reporting. Star political editor Joe Burchell explained that he dismissed the reporting as "flawed" because he is the local fountain of knowledge of all things political in Pima County and he knew the reporters got their facts wrong on the details of the land swaps. But Mr. Burchell did not address the central point of the story, i.e., that Donald Diamond views the senator as being on his personal retainer for special favors:
"I think that is what Congress people are supposed to do for constituents. When you have a big, significant businessman like myself, why wouldn't you want to help move things along? What else would they do? They waste so much time with legislation."
Professional disagreement over details in a story is one thing. Censorship of a story is quite another.
Now the Washington Post has published it's own front-page investigative report McCain Pushed Land Swap That Benefits Backer - washingtonpost.com by Matthew Mosk. Does anyone see a pattern emerging here?
According to the Post, "the Arizona Republican became a key figure in pushing the deal through Congress after the rancher and his partners hired lobbyists that included McCain's 1992 Senate campaign manager, two of his former Senate staff members (one of whom has returned as his chief of staff), and an Arizona insider who was a major McCain donor and is now bundling campaign checks." Once the legislation was passed, Fred Ruskin turned over the development of the land to Steven Betts of SunCor Developments, a McCain Trailblazer.
Once again, not even a mention in the Star. Just another coincidence in a long line of coincidences establishing a pattern of conduct by McCain to benefit the campaign contributors who finance his campaigns. McCain's assertion that "I have carefully avoided situations that might even tangentially be construed as a less than proper use of my office," is laughable and not supported by the record (going back to Charles Keating).
The Arizona Daily Star gives the appearance that it is censoring investigative reporting by the nation's leading newspapers that is critical of John McCain. The Star's editorial judgment is seriously flawed, or worse, biased.
Shortly after McCain announced his candidacy last year, Star Opinion Editor Ann Brown was invited to join McCain on his bus in Iowa. She dedicated the March 18, 2007 edition of the Star to a candidate profile of McCain. About his roots | www.azstarnet.com ® ; Immigration, growth on McCain agenda | www.azstarnet.com ® Nothing wrong with this. But Ms. Brown contributed her own "love notes from the bus" styled campaign report. Iowa field work | www.azstarnet.com ® It was enough to make Elisabeth Bummiller blush.
Censorship of news is unacceptable in a democracy. Bias in news coverage is to be avoided.
This is my suggestion to the editors of the Arizona Daily Star. Publish these major investigative reports by the nation's leading newspapers and publish your own "Local Angle" companion piece, for which you have carved out a niche, stating your own analysis. Then invite the reporters who wrote the original investigative report to respond to your Local Angle analysis to give the reporting a full and fair airing. This would give the voters of Arizona the information they need to make an informed decision in November.
In fairness to the Arizona Daily Star, its competitor newspapers in this state have been only slightly more objective in their coverage of John McCain. There is substantial room for improvement by all.