Thursday, March 09, 2006


Rick Santorum's inning-suspending out

This is the online grabber for Jeffrey Birnbaum and Charles Babbington’s March 9th piece in the Washington Post:

Sen. Resumes Lobbyist Huddles
Santorum is still seeing lobbyists each week despite saying he would end the regular meetings.
Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Charles Babington

Here’s their opening line:
“After saying in January that he would end his regular meetings with lobbyists, Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), the third-ranking GOP leader in the Senate, has continued to meet with many of the same lobbyists at the same time and on the same day of the week.” Senator Resumes Lobbyist Huddles

Damn – they got him….well, all except for the fact that he never said he was ending the meetings. I know this because I read Jeffrey Birnbaum (from January 30th):

“A Republican conference aide said that after a review of its programs the conference would no longer hold its biweekly, Tuesday morning meetings led by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), chairman of the Republican conference -- at least for now.” (emphasis added) Contacts With Lobbyists Curbed

And, indeed, the reporting makes fairly clear that the meetings were “suspended”…and when I write “the reporting”, I’m referring to their March 9th piece where they write:

“Santorum, whose ties to Washington lobbyists have been criticized by his Democratic challenger, suspended his biweekly encounters on Jan. 30.”

That is the second sentence in the article….you know, the one right after the sentence where they wrote “[a]fter saying in January that he would end his regular meetings with lobbyists”.

Don’t mean to be showing off my liberal arts education but “ended” and “suspended” are not synonyms.

And why were the meetings suspended?

“Democrats had lambasted Santorum's Capitol meetings in large part because, at the end of most of them, a representative of the Republican National Committee distributed lists of Washington-based lobbying job openings, and participants often discussed which GOP congressional aides and former lawmakers might be best suited for those jobs.”

But now?

“Now, his aides said, he has resumed the meetings with lobbyists. Their purpose is to help Santorum's reelection effort, but many of the same topics other than jobs are discussed, aides and participants said” (emphasis added).

So, through the able efforts of two Washington Post reporters, we now know that Senator Santorum has resumed meetings that he had SUSPENDED in January and at which job lists are no longer being handed out or discussed. Can we just give them the Pulitzer now?

I had not been following this, but WTOP ( or more correctly WTWP) this morning repeated the WaPo article without any of your (healthy) skepticism.
When the media claim that all they're doing is reporting the news not making it they're lying. And this is a perfect example.
The WaPo publishes something of questionable value and the leading news station picks it up, unadulterated.
Unless someone's reading you they've gotten the wrong impression from 2 supposedly authoratative (unbiased) sources.
Good work!
PS I see you were picked up by a PA blogger.
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