The AP hypes Janet Napolitano drama

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

This is some pretty weak tea, courtesy of the AP.

First the unfortunate headline: "Napolitano is no stranger to Washington scandals."

And here's the lead:

President-elect Barack Obama's likely pick for Homeland Security secretary, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, is no stranger to headline-making Washington scandals and controversies.

Napolitano was a U.S. attorney in Phoenix, appointed by former President Bill Clinton, when the Justice Department decided against prosecuting Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain's wife, Cindy, for the theft of prescription drugs from her medical charity.

First, what does being the U.S. attorney in Phoenix have to do with "Washington scandals"? Shouldn't Napolitano, like, be in Washington to play a part in "Washington scandals"?

Second, we'd suggest that to most casual news consumers the AP headlines certainly indicates Napolitano was the subject of the controversies, not that she, in the everyday duties of her job, simply oversaw prosecutions that were deemed controversial. Meaning, the press should probably resist throwing around terms like "Washington scandals" in reference to public officials who are making their introduction on the national stage if the officials themselves did nothing controversial.

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