Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Responding to "Confused in VA"

From today’s WaPo Metro section:

“A burly man known for his bravado and rhetorical punch, he ascended in Annapolis, first as a delegate and then as a senator, becoming one of Maryland's most powerful public officials. But the swagger that drove Thomas L. Bromwell's remarkable rise in politics is gone now as he plans to plead guilty this morning to federal racketeering and tax crimes.” Bromwell Says He Accepts His Fate - washingtonpost.com

I was alerted to this bit of news by the posting of reader “Confused in VA” who notes:

"Here's my confusion, for some reason, the WP never actually identifies TB's political party. Is this because TB is a Republican and the WP seeks to limit that party's embarrassment, or am I missing something?” Comment July 24, 2007

Well, Confused, it’s understandable that living in Virginia you may not be familiar with politics here in Maryland but the phrase “powerful public officials” is rarely ever uttered in connection with Republicans. Oh sure, they’re occasionally sighted in Annapolis and there was that whole Ehrlich mess of a few years ago but basically, this as a Blue a state as you’ll find.

I offer all this as a primer before telling you that yes, as you astutely noticed, the Post does not mention Mr. Bromwell’s political affiliation but not for the reason you suggest. No, it turns out that Mr. Bromwell is actually a Democrat from Baltimore County. That the Post didn’t reveal that factoid can only mean that they didn’t consider his party membership at all relevant to his accession to power in an overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature. You know, the power that made him so attractive to outside interests. Apparently, the Post believes he would have similarly disgraced himself had he been a Republican. It would be cynical of us to suggest a more partisan reasoning so I won't. ..but thanks for reading.

I didn't notice this omission, because in the earlier article the Post ran the party affiliation was front and center.

As in: "Former state senator Thomas L. Bromwell has agreed to plead guilty to federal racketeering and tax crimes, his attorney said last night, bringing a close to one of Maryland's largest corruption investigations in recent years.

"The Baltimore County Democrat, once one of the most powerful figures in Annapolis, signed an agreement with prosecutors yesterday and is expected to enter the plea Tuesday at U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Bromwell attorney Barry J. Pollack said. Mary Pat Bromwell, the senator's wife, also charged in the 2005 racketeering indictment, will plead guilty to one count of mail fraud, her attorney said."

So the Post gets a C-, not an F, in my book.
point taken
Or, as is more likely, the WP assumed that its readers would know that corrupt politicians are, by default, Democrats, and need not be reminded of the fact.
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